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Battle Royal
Ralph Ellison
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Battle Royal

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  188 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
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Titanilla This is another Battle Royal. The one you're thinking of is Battle Royale a Japanese novel by Kashoun Takami published in 1999 (made into a film in…moreThis is another Battle Royal. The one you're thinking of is Battle Royale a Japanese novel by Kashoun Takami published in 1999 (made into a film in 2000). It is very much like the first book of the Hunger Games series, but Suzanne Collins claims that she did not know the story of Battle Royale when writing Hunger Games.(less)

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Feb 08, 2012 Wendy rated it liked it
As I was reading Ralph Ellison's, "Battle Royal" I found myself wanting to turn away, flip to the next page, do anything to gloss over the disturbing abuse taking place. This then led me to thinking, that society "glossing over the truth" was exactly what Ralph Ellison was trying to portray throughout his story. The "blindness" of our nation at a time when African Americans were abused, segregated, and mocked will forever be a black stain across our country's shining record. The story begins wi ...more
Mar 26, 2013 Pamela rated it it was amazing
It's too early to state what I think of this story, with any real level of specificity, as I just read it and looked up these reviews.

BUT, I must say I am discouraged reading many of the Goodread's reviews of "Battle Royal" that sound as if they were written by students who have poor if not completely confused senses of historical context.

Students: this story does not take place in the 1950's or 60's. (This is not to say or imply, of course, that many forms of discrimination did not take place
Battle Royal is a very interesting look into the mind of a young African American man living in the south in the 1950s. While the story is filled with descriptions of horrible things that African Americans were forced to do in the Jim Crowe south, I think that the most interesting part of this story is the internal battle that the protagonist is having in his mind. He keeps remembering his grandfathers words “I have been a traitor all my born days”. It is also very important to note that the pr ...more
Feb 10, 2012 Dallas rated it really liked it
“Battle Royal” by Ralph Ellison is a dynamic piece into the insight of racial equality (or lack thereof). His brutal description of the scene that took place speaks to the horrors of pre civil rights for african-americans.
The terrifying plight the main character goes through is one of physical and psychological torture. Who were these white men, seemingly prepared to congratulate this black boy, but there to exploit and destroy who he was as a person. The words of his grandfather that rang in
In the book “Invisible Man” chapter one “Battle Royal”, the narrator’s grandfather’s disgust at the quality of life endured by African-Americans is contrasted by the narrator and his father’s willingness to succumb to the idea of humility and submission to white power as the path to progress within the black community. Obviously, this theme is reflected within the narrator’s description of the town hall event, it shows how power and submission are ironically shown when the narrator is forced to ...more
Sep 11, 2014 Andreea rated it it was amazing
Shelves: iubite
'All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was. I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory. I was naive. I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer. It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: that I am nobody but myself.'
Feb 10, 2012 Alissa added it
The African American writer, Ralph Ellison, screams at the top of his voice in the story “The Battle Royal” about the extreme acts of prejudice that can occur when one allows themselves to be silent, to be invisible. He becomes invisible in order to survive in the white-dominated society. Initially the reader is impressed by the graphic degradation of the young teenage boys by the town’s leading white citizens. The boys are tormented physically and emotionally during the evening festivities as ...more
Feb 06, 2012 Raymondb rated it liked it
In Ellison’s Battle Royal, the reader is introduced to a black male who is faced with some very tough tasks but yet only has one thing that is on his mind. The character whose name we never learn has decided to join a “Battle Royal” with other classmates of his (after their high school graduation) and is expecting to give his high school speech at the end of it. When the story begins they are introduced to a white female who is dancing in front of him and other black classmates of his. The men w ...more
Feb 10, 2012 Emily rated it liked it
Battle Royal centers itself around the theme of having an identity and a voice. This theme is placed into the mind of the narrator by his grandfather on his deathbed. The narrator claims that, “It was as though he had never died at all, his words had caused so much anxiety,” the first textual reference that demonstrates that having a voice can cause an impact on the world and lead to something bigger.

Other symbols are woven throughout the story that represent the larger theme of identity, one o
Nina autajay
Oh his death bed, the grandfather talks about how he was disloyal to his own good. Ellison says, “I never told you, but our 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”. This unnerves Ellison for quite some time. So he thinks that his grandfather cursed him in some way, but his grandfather was talking about civil obedience. Although this was recently after slavery was abolished, the south was and st ...more
Nick Nemetz
Feb 10, 2012 Nick Nemetz rated it liked it
I enjoyed Battle Royal as it is well written and pulls the reader into the story. It is successful at appealing to the reader because the descriptions are intriguing to say the least. For example, Wilson describes the naked woman as “the hair was yellow like that of a circus kewpie doll, the face heavily powdered and rouged, as though to form an abstract mask, the eyes hollowed and smeared a cool blue, the color of a baboon’s butt” (Wilson,225). This description is extremely detailed and allows ...more
Yashira Avendano
Reading Battle Royal definitely captured my mind and took me through everything African Americans went through during the 1960’s. Life for them wasn’t easy since they suffered a lot as shown throughout the story. The protagonist was left as an example to follow what was left from his grandfather. All he kept recalling were his grandfather’s words “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.” Many African Americans w ...more
Tyler Bice
Feb 10, 2012 Tyler Bice rated it really liked it
This was a very fun story to read. The story starts off giving kind of a background of the main character in the story. The main character in the story is a black male who lives in a time where there is racism and but is liked by a lot of white men because he is a known speaker in the town. He explains because of his grandfather he feels guilty whenever he's doing well. The authors writing style is very fun and fast paced. A large part of the story is a giant fight scene where all of the people ...more
Chris Swisher
Feb 07, 2012 Chris Swisher rated it liked it
As the opening chapter to The Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison painted an accurate and disturbing picture with Battle Royal. Americans more often than not look back to the end of the Civil War and think of it as a joyous time, the end to slavery and the beginning of equality. This story, however, shows the prejudice that was still active during this time in the South. Our protagonist feels honored that he is to receive a scholarship, a sure sign that things are going in the right direction across th ...more
Feb 10, 2012 Andrew added it
Even after the civil right movement, the discrimination of the black people was still existed in South. As an educated black man who grew up in the 1950s, the narrator made a successful speech in his graduation which argued the point of the Washington made. He was trying hard to gain the respect by doing the thing that Washington said. Work hard and get educated. However, he believed that black people should gain the same right as right since they were born. He was still fighting the right for t ...more
Henry Adams
Feb 09, 2012 Henry Adams rated it liked it
This story sheds only a small light on what some could say was a dark time for our country. As I have had some time in school learning about the civil rights movement, I haven't seen much material that gives almost a first hand image of what a day in the life of a African American living in the 60's was like. I found this to be insightful, and also a very good read. It kept me interested form start to finish, while it wasn't a very adventurous story, it certainly challenged me intellectually. Tr ...more
Daniel Streit
Feb 10, 2012 Daniel Streit rated it it was amazing
Battle Royal by Ralph Ellison follows the life of a young African-American who looks up to his grandfather although his grandfather describes himself as a "traitor to his people". The narrator contemplates this idea that his grandfather expresses, and when he is called to give a speech to a group of upper-class white folks, he is pursuaded to fight a group of kids of the same age. He is defeated in the fight, yet he goes on to make his speech infront of the crowd. His persistence to give his spe ...more
Marco Maniaci
Feb 10, 2012 Marco Maniaci rated it really liked it
Ralph Ellison's Battle Royal depicts the struggles of our African-American narrator who seeks to know why his grandfather considers himself a backstabber to his own nace. The narrator is brought to an assembly to speak infront of a body of upper-class white citizens. However, he is talked into fighting a group of kids before he is allowed to give his speech, which he goes on to perform after he loses in the fight. Ellison appoints his main character with the trait of fearlessness, which is evide ...more
Rhett Ramirez
This story was a powerful story to read because of the message that it had. The main character had a good reputation as a speaker (as good of a reputation that a black man could have in the times of racism) and was on fairly good terms with the white community. Before one of his upcoming speeches, he gets beaten brutally because of a naked white woman who danced in front of the men. The white men beat him half to death just before his speech. During his speech, he replaces one of the words with ...more
Glenna McCarthy
Oct 05, 2016 Glenna McCarthy rated it it was amazing
It was one of the most disturbing books I read in my early readings of African American History (Fiction and non-fiction) since I was brought up in "the ghetto" I thought I knew about the black struggle ( I am white) but I didn't have a clue, I find that the need to "Minimize" other cultures struggles is evident and I was one of them. I was angry being a minority of the minorities so I could not see outside my own pain and suffering. Now I have learned to look at situations fairly and although s ...more
Oct 26, 2016 Hosanna rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, classics
I'm ashamed to say that I ever had to read Battle Royal at all. Some parts were totally inappropriate. I found the rest of the story to be confusing, though it did show some of the atrocities that black people had to go through during this period of time. However, I would not recommend it. Instead, I would advise readers to read a synopsis and avoid this book altogether. Especially for those who want to read uplifting, God-honoring books, this is not a good selection.
This story was one of the greatest stories on human rights that I have read so far. The ending doesn't happen like you would imagine. Ellison is really a remarkable writer. His word choice is exquisite, and I would love to read more of his works.
Dec 08, 2013 Scribeaddiction rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: yes
I'm still coping with an unsettling feeling after reading this several hours ago. Kudos to Ralph Ellison for evoking such a strong emotion (may he rest in peace).

Disgust.. .

Bigotry, racism and ignorance disgusts me.

Will complete this review after I collect my thoughts...

Sep 02, 2014 Kabrina added it
Shelves: short-stories
Sometimes something is so powerful that to simply rate or star it trivializes the entire thing.
Nathalia rated it really liked it
Apr 08, 2012
Breanna Cochran
Breanna Cochran rated it it was ok
Oct 30, 2012
Dawn Cancellieri
Dawn Cancellieri rated it really liked it
Apr 04, 2015
Erica rated it really liked it
Mar 23, 2014
Naysia Phifer
Naysia Phifer rated it it was amazing
Mar 09, 2014
Sarah Hardin
Sarah Hardin rated it really liked it
Sep 29, 2015
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Ralph Ellison was a scholar and writer. He was born Ralph Waldo Ellison in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, named by his father after Ralph Waldo Emerson. Ellison was best known for his novel Invisible Man, which won the National Book Award in 1953. He also wrote Shadow and Act (1964), a collection of political, social and critical essays, and Going to the Territory (1986). For The New York Times , the b ...more
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