What about the small town in the South in "Battle Royal"?

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The small town in the South in which the young narrator lives is shown to be a racist and patriarchal location, firmly in the control of the older white men who have the money and the power.

We see nothing of the town but the fine hotel in which the narrator goes to receive his scholarship check, little knowing what is in store for him. He and the other black youth invited to the event have to take the servants' elevator upstairs. They are confronted with a grand ballroom:

All of the town's big shots were there in their tuxedoes, wolfing down the buffet foods, drinking beer and whiskey and smoking black cigars.

We learn that the room has a high ceiling and that neat rows of chairs surround a boxing ring on three sides. The black youth are there to fight and suffer pain for the amusement of the white men. The youths are the entertainment, and the whites set up the rules of the game. All of this is meant to impress on the black youth that although they might be earning "honors," such as scholarships to black colleges, they are still nothing in the eyes of white power.

Patriarchy is exhibited through the naked woman hired to be on display. She is as dehumanized as the black teens, described as if she is a doll or an object, her objectification emphasized by the use of the word "the" rather than "her" to describe her—the hair, the face, the eyes:

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.

The naked white woman is vulnerable to the gaze of the men, who themselves are sheltered by clothing. She is another way for the white men to taunt the black youth, who are embarrassed and frightened, because they know they can be lynched for appearing to show an interest in a white female.

The story shows that this small town is ruled by an ironclad and cruel racial and sexual hierarchy that allows powerful white men to humiliate those considered lesser.

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