Battle Royal By Ellison

After I read the story "Battle Royal" by Ralph Ellison, I could not
restrain my thoughts about issues of morality and what it has to do with
reality, from clashing in to one another in my mind. As these two completely
different ideas were pushing me to the brink of madness, my mind began to click.

At this point I came to the realization that a personís reality, that is that
personís mental reflection of the society and/or time in which he or she
lives, is consistent with that personís morality or standards of right and
wrong. I realize that my concept of a person\'s reality being consistent with
morality is quite confusing. I also accept the fact that there are always
exceptions to rules. The story "Battle Royal" is the key in
understanding and seeing the relationship between morality and reality. The
characters in this story, namely the grandfather and his grandson, reveal to us
their individuality, principles, morals, and ethics. Doing so they unfold a map
that reveals their mental reality. Because their principals, morals and ethics
reveal to us their mental reality, then their mental reality discloses the
reality of the society in which they live. "Battle Royal" is a story
about a black boy that is psychologically wakened when he overhears what his
grandfather says on his deathbed to his father. Our hero\'s journey toward the
light (truth) is started a long time ago. However in the beginning he is unable
to get on the right course, due to the wrong advice he is given by different
people; he says it as "All my life I had been looking for something, and
everywhere that I turned someone tried to tell me what it was. I accepted their
answers too, though they were often in contradiction" (223). Because each
time that he accepts their advice he is little by little pushed off the right
track. It is not until he realizes that he is searching for himself, and instead
of asking others questions, he needs to ask the questions to himself. Once he
discovers whom to turn to, he begins a long and difficult journey in which he
realizes that he is a unique person. He puts it as, "I am nobody but
myself" (223). This means that he is unique and he is who he is, black.

However before he comes to this enlightenment he discovers that he is an
"invisible man" (223). He marks himself invisible because in the
society in which a person is unheard and unseen by others he is invisible. At
that point our young friend\'s problem is clear. He is a black boy in a White
men\'s world, in which he is not seen or heard. Yet he still does not know what
to do about it until he hears his grandfatherís words to his father: Son,
after I\'m gone I want you to keep up a good fight. I never told you, but your
life is a war and I have been a traitor all my born days, a spy in the enemy\'s
country ever since I give up my gun back in the Reconstruction. Live with your
head in the lion\'s mouth. I want you to overcome\'em with yeses, undermine\'em
with grins, agree\'em to death and destruction, let\'em swoller you till they
vomit or bust wide open. Learn it to the younguns. (223) These last words that
his grandfather speaks are the chain-breakers that set the young boy\'s mind
free. These are the words that guide him on the right path to the realization of
who he is, and how he needs to start thinking and acting. However, this path
that his grandfather sets him on, is one that presents many mind-tormenting
problems. This boy and all like him live in a white dominated society, and the
white men in the society can be seen as the puppeteers. In his society the black
people are chained down in a reality in which the white dominating society
imposes certain morals or principles by which the black community needs to act.

However unlike the people around him, he is able to break the chains that
imprison his mind and see how things really work. He first gets a true sense in
what kind of society he lives when he is invited to give his graduation speech
at the battle royal. A battle royal is a sort of a barbarous boxing match in
which black boys with blindfolds are forced to fight each other for the
entertainment of