The Grandfather’s Dream in Ralph Ellison’s “Battle Royal”
Symbolism is used throughout Ralph Ellison’s “Battle Royal”. Symbols have more than one meaning than what appears to be the central idea. Symbols in this story are very contradictory. The main character is also the narrator who tells the story after he has become an educated adult. In Ralph Ellison’s “Battle Royal” symbolism is used in the narrator’s dream of his Grandfather to make him realize what he would have to achieve and strive for to have a successful life.
The Grandfather had been a meek person all his life. On his deathbed he said some words that startled his family. He said, “our life is a war and I have been a traitor all my born days, a spy in the enemy'’ country...”(223). Instead of the Grandfather being direct with his family his last words were full of symbolism. This puzzled the family. It would be up to them to interpret what the Grandfather meant.
The Grandfathers last words caused anxiety among the family. The narrator let the words disturb him when he did something good. The narrator said, “The old man’s words were like a curse” (244). He felt this way because he did not understand his Grandfat
He also received a scholarship to one to the colleges. Despite the fact that the Grandfather knew that doing this is not what he wanted to do, he did it to survive. The brief case had been given to him in real life by the towns"tm people in order to help him further his education. The message read, "Keep This Nigger Boy Running" (233)". These circumstances combined with his Grandfathers last words led him to the dream he would have after he received his reward. This gave the message a look of importance. The Grandfather knew it would effect the family more my symbolizing what he believed about life instead of coming out and telling them about it. When the situation was over, he was rewarded and felt as if he is important again. He wanted his family to get their education. He knew that he will never be able to finish his education. The dream happened after he went through a traumatic situation with some of the most respected people in town. This means that his whole life people would look at him as a black person. This represented how everyone can look at him and tell that he is a black person and that is all they will see. This would help them interpret the situations they encounter during their lives and be able to overcome them with ease. The Grandfather asked the narrator to open his brief case.