What is a good response to the short story "Battle Royal" by Ralph Ellison?

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I would respond to this story by saying it shows the evils of racism. The narrator is a high school graduate who has won a scholarship to a state college for blacks. He is invited, along with other honored black youth, to an awards banquet in the ballroom of a leading hotel by the leading white men of the town.

When he and the other young black men arrive, they realize that no honor goes without a humiliation if you are black in this society. The boys cannot simply be given their awards or scholarships, but must first be degraded and put in their places as blacks in a white-dominated community. They are forced to fight blindfolded for the amusement of the town's leading white men. They then have to grab for gold coins, which in reality are useless brass tokens, on a floor that has been electrified, while the audience laughs at their pain. They are called "boy," and ordered around.

The narrator, despite his grandfather warning him on his deathbed that whites are the enemy, is still proud and overwhelmed to have gotten the scholarship. However, the seeds have been planted in his mind to distrust whites as people who are not on his side. We, as readers, are upset and anguished that these young men have to undergo humiliation.

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Battle Royal is a testament to the seven deadly sins. We recognize those to be wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.  In striving for equality, it seems that we feel those sins will be lost.  That is not true.  They are sometimes simply magnified.  

The young man allowed his pride to fuel the envy and wrath of his colleagues. The fighters' greed and gluttony allowed them to use the lust and sloth of the town leaders to try to achieve riches.  In the end, no one was successful.

The prize that the narrator gained was merely window dressing for participating in the debauchery of the evening. There was no triumph because evil had still prevailed. The only equality that had been achieved was to be unfaithful to himself and lower his standards to those who had chosen to try to raise themselves up by stepping on other human beings. 

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