What is the overall meaning of "Battle Royal" as a story?

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Kale Emmerich eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The opening battle in the novel The Invisible Man is extremely significant, as it sets up the thematic setting of the rest of the story. The main character is persecuted, punished, and oppressed in a racist system in spite of his obvious intelligence and skill. In this introductory battle, he is shown being given tantalizing opportunities or temptations (such as the naked white women or the apparent gold coins) which are stripped from him and he is punished for even pursuing (by fighting in the ring or electrocution upon picking up the coins, which turn out to be brass and worthless).

This sets up the ideas of racism and oppression that he will experience and combat throughout the book. Opportunity is presented before him, only for him to be punished and turned away many times for even thinking of pursuing it because of his race. He is belittled and taunted and eventually becomes just what was forced upon him, fighting and scraping for scraps and small opportunities that are much less...

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