What are the symbols in the story "Battle Royal"?

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"The Battle Royal" chapter, which is sometimes isolated from the novel as a short story, is rich with symbolism. Another symbol that has not been mentioned are the tokens. The young men in the ring scramble around and pummel each other to scoop up what look like gold coins off of the floor of the ring. Later, the narrator observes the ones that he collects and finds out that they are merely tokens.

The tokens symbolize the struggle of black people, particularly black men in this novel, within a racist, capitalist system that tempts them with the possibility of wealth while actually isolating them from it. The white men in the audience, who have set up in the conditions in the ring, are representative of the racist, patriarchal class structure that objectifies white women (the blonde in the ring with the American flag tattoo is certainly another symbol) and that will happily exploit the physical and mental labor of black people without giving them just compensation. Sadly, the temptations...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 546 words.)

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