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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 hollow and smeared a cool blue, the color of a baboon's butt. I felt a desire to spit upon her as my eyes brushed slowly over her body. Her breasts were firm and round as the domes of East Indian temples, and I stood so close as to see the fine skin texture and beads of pearly perspiration glistening like dew around the pink and erected buds of her nipples (Ellison 354).
Another very relevant symbol of "Battle Royal" is the speech of the narrator; during the entire story he is always thinking about this speech that he is going to present in the main ballroom of the hotel. His desire speech suggests that this is the major goal that the narrator has, it indicates the innocence of this black young man who is very naÃ¯ve and believes that many things were going to change after he read his words to the white society.
A hypnotic voice said FIVE emphatically. And I lay there, hazily watching a dark red spot of my own blood shaping itself into a butterfly, glistening and soaking into the soiled gray world of the canvas. When the voice drawled TEN I was lifted up and dragged to a chair. I sat dazed. My eye pained and swelled with each throb of my pounding heart and I wondered if now I would be allowed to speak. (Ellison 358)
This butterfly describes the big changes that he is going through at the ending of the fight, a metamorphosis, this insect represents the big changes that he is feeling at that moment. He feels there are plenty new and good things coming to his life.
The fake coins that M.C. offers to the warriors at the end of the fight is another symbol of this short story; "'Get the money," the M.C. called. "That's good hard American cash!'" (Ellison 359). This forged money represents the fraud that black people were living during those days.
The dream that the narrator has with his grandfather at the end of the story "Battle Royal, is a very emblematic symbol, it demonstrates how important the grandfather is for the narrator and how much he values the hard work he has done. It was very important for the narrator to get the scholarship and share this price with his grandfather. The
scholarship symbolizes not only an accomplishment of the narrator but also that there was finally some type of equality between different races and just like the white kids the narrator won and was offered the opportunity of an education.
Ellison, Ralph, "Battle Royal". 1952. Approaching Literature: Writing + Reading + Thinking. 2nd Ed. Peter Schakel and Jack Ridl. Boston Bedford, 2008. Print.