This story is made up of the narrator remembering what his grandfather said to his dad giving him advice while his grandfather is dying. The grandfather tells his dad, “Son, after i’m gone I want you to keep up the good fight. 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. 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.”(Ralph Ellison, 288) The narrators entrance to the hotel. Even being young minded and just graduating high school he ingeniously believes that he had to be in the battle royal but then thinking about the incident he recognizes that he had no choice. This would be the only way he could give his speech by participating in the blindfolded fighting match. The naked blonde’s dance portrays America’s twisted value system. The narrator sees tattoos on the women the flag tattoo which represents the American dream of freedom, liberty and equality was restored by the car advertising tokens representing the pursuit of money, sex and power.
The battle royal is the brutal part of the story that pushes the ingenious narrator into a violent chaotic world where rules do not apply. The battle royal represents the social and political power fight picture in the story. Before the narrator can grant his identity as a black man in white America he must come to terms with the issues of race, class, and gender.
Blacks are denied their human rights by being forced to live in a segregated society, he indicates this message by using two strong figurative elements the white blindfolds and the brass tokens. The white blindfolds represents them being blinded by the white. The brass tokens represent the role of blacks who symbolizes a blend of African and American cultures. The narrator’s speech establish a pattern of sarcasm and deception that permeates the story.
The narrator declares to contradict with Booker T. Washington perspective on race relations, advising blacks to be patient and accept social responsibility without social equality. The narrator initiates a pattern of simply doing what others expect of him, without analyzing his reason, initiating his own value system, or taking into consideration the consequences of his actions. The narrator’s propensity to act without thinking and to accept others discernment without question keeps him from locating his true identity. The narrator’s dream represents the legend of the American Dream, being that the only way Americans can achieve their dream is by only if they are willing to work hard and pursue their goals. The narrator’s experience has taught him that the American Dream is not exactly true for black Americans. In the dream his grandfather tells him to open the briefcase that the white men gave him, and inside the briefcase was an envelope holding another envelope inside it that envelope has an document reading, “To whom it may concern….
.keep this nigger-boy running.”. Then the narrator wakes up out if his dream with his grandfather laughter in his ears. Speaking in the voice of a man recalling about his past as a youth, unfolds the story. He remembers that he did not yet locate his identity or realize that he was an invisible man. The narrator tells how his grandfather on his deathbed disturbed his family by telling them that he is a traitor and a soy to his race.
The narrator also tells how being invited to his graduation speech at a get together of the town’s leading white citizens. When he gets there he finds out that he was to give part of the entertainment for a room full of drunk white men as a competitor with nine of his classmates in a blindfolded boxing match. After getting beat the narrator is finally allowed to give his speech and collects his prize a briefcase that contains a scholarship to the local college for negroes.