In the story "Battle Royal," the first chapter of The Invisible Man, how does Ellison challenge the respectability of the southern white male?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In his first chapter which suggests that the narrator will find himself as invisible to others in society, Ralph Ellison portrays cigar-smoking white businessmen who have merely exploited the male blacks as well as a cupie-doll woman with a tattoo of the American flag on her, whom they put into the ring in order to appeal to the young black males as a sexual object as they slug each other in the battle royal.  Seated around the ring, the white businessmen taunt the young black males until they swing wildly at each other.

When this spectacle is finished, Ellison's narrator has been called upon to speak regarding his schlarship which he has received.  Believing that his speech will be well received by his "sponsor," and associateds.  Believing that his speech will be well received by his sponsor and his associates, the narrator is ignored as the men smoke their cigars and talk while he tries to speak, as though he were invisible.


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Battle Royal; or, The Invisible Man

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