get me on the mat

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Senior Member
In Henderson the Rain King by Saul Bellow, the huge and gigantic narrator of the novel takes a trip to Africa and there gets involved in a ritual wrestling with the Prince of an African tribe in an empty hut.The narrator makes use of his weight advantage and gives the Prince a butt with his belly and by some elementary tricks throws the man over. But the Prince gets to his feet and once more they began to revolve and several times circle the empty hut.
Then the narrator says: "As he (the Prince) now seemed to realize, his best chance was to get me on the mat, where I couldn't use my bulk against him." As far as I know, the hut is empty. It's not a modern wrestling that takes place on a mat. What does the narrator mean by "his best chance was to get me on the mat"? Thank you.
  • waltern

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    There may not have been an actual mat, but I think the idea is the same - "his best chance was to get me on the ground".
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