By Jennifer Smith
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Additional resources for Short Stories for Students: Presenting Analysis, Context & Criticism on Commonly Studied Short Stories (Volume 11)
Battle Royal" is the name adopted by subsequent anthologies to differentiate the story from the novel of the same name. Ralph Ellison 1947 Ellison's novel won him fast and sustained acclaim as a major writer of the twentieth century. The story was well received upon publication and alerted many to Ellison's talent. "Battle Royal" presents a startling scene of violence, naivete and economic power—a scene that implies the philosophical depth behind the institutions of racism and the pathos of asserting an identity in the shadow of historical tragedy.
Narrator's Grandfather A former slave who was freed about eighty-five years prior to when the story takes place. " The grandfather was an "odd" man, however. On his deathbed, he tells the narrator some advice that haunts the narrator through the rest of story. '' He wishes he had never given up his gun during the first days of Reconstruction. " Later in the story, the narrator has a disturbing dream about attending the circus with his grandfather. " Presumably, the superintendent has been watching the entire battle royal.
One of the most blatant statements of deprivation of Blacks' basic rights of citizenship and the attendant human rights was the Supreme Court's Dred Scott decision of 1857, which stated directly that no black person had rights any white man need respect. Under this ruling, no Black person was allowed claims to citizenship. 2 3 B a t t l e R o y a l o r The I n v i s i b l e Man Compare ft Contrast 1952: Racial segregation is legal, upheld by the Supreme Court decision of 1896, Plessy v. Ferguson.