Why does the narrator call himself the "invisible man" in "Battle Royal"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "The Prologue," which immediately precedes chapter 1, in which the "Battle Royal" takes place, the narrator establishes his definition of invisibility. He says, "I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me" (3). After "The Prologue," the narrator goes on to tell his life story, from his adolescence into early adulthood, explaining to us how he came to the realization that he is invisible to others.

The first major incident that reveals the narrator's invisibility is his participation in the Battle Royal. He is invited to give his graduation speech for a group of powerful white men and is flattered by the offer. He arrives, ready and eager to deliver his thoughts, but he is first forced to fight against other young African American men for the white men's entertainment. The narrator continues to think about giving his speech, instead of being repelled by this barbaric ritual. He eventually does give the speech, bloodied and beaten. This incident should indicate...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 556 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team