Battle Royal Discussion Questions



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Battle Royal Discussion Questions

Section 1



  1. At the end of the beginning paragraph, our narrator calls himself an invisible man. What do you think he means by that? Have you ever felt invisible? If yes, describe the situation. If not, describe what it would feel like have no one ever notice you.

  2. How would you summarize the grandfather’s dying speech in your own words? What does he mean when he calls himself a traitor and a spy? Who is he being a traitor to? Do you agree with his self-description?

  3. This section is full of sensory imagery. Find two examples of sensory imagery in this section, and describe them fully. How does the sensory imagery add to the effectiveness of this section?

  4. How is the “magnificent blond” described in the story? What does she represent to the white audience? What does she mean to the black boys? What did she represent to you?

  5. This section ends with many pieces of anonymous dialogue. Why do you think the author kept the dialogue anonymous? In other words, why doesn’t he point out who said what? Does this help the story or hurt it? Why?

Section 2

  1. This section begins with the Battle Royal. What is the Battle Royal? Who is participating and who is spectating?

  2. What is the value of participating in the Battle Royal? Think about what the value is to the narrator, the white men, and the other black boys separately.

  3. What happened after the Battle Royal? How were the men “paid”? How do you feel about this event?

  4. A key element in this story is animal imagery (describing characteristics of humans by comparing them to animals). How do these help the story? Why do you think the author uses animal imager?

  5. A metaphor is a comparison. How does the Battle Royal work as a metaphor for society today?

Section 3

  1. How is the story affected by a first person narrator? Would it be better or worse if it was told by someone watching the Battle Royal instead of someone participating in it? How?

  2. How does the story challenge the respectability of white southern men at this time? Remember, southern men at this time were considered gentlemen. Do they fit your idea of a gentleman? Why or why not?

  3. Why is the audience so upset when the narrator accidentally says “social equality” instead of “social responsibility”? What do those words mean to us? What did those words mean to the audience?

  4. What do you think about the ending of the story? How do you think the narrator matured from this experience? What do you think he still needs to learn?

  5. What is the American Dream to you? How is the American Dream portrayed in this story? Does it fit your idea of the American Dream? Why or why not?

  6. According to this story, what is success? Think about the narrator’s success and what he had to do and experience along the way.


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