One of the major motifs in Invisible Man is blindness. The first time we’re shown blindness in the novel is at the battle royal. The blindfolds that all of the contestants wear symbolize how the black society is blind to the way white society is still belittling them, despite the abolishment of slavery. When he arrives at the battle, the narrator says “I was told that since I was to be there anyway I might as well take part in the battle royal to be fought by some of my schoolmates as part of the entertainment” (Ellison 17). Although, the white men asked him to come to the battle royal in order to deliver his graduation speech, they force him to participate in the battle royal, where the white men make young black men fight each other as a form of entertainment for them. When the black men put their blindfolds on to fight in this battle, they are blind, both figuratively and literally. They can't see the people they are fighting against, just as they can't see how the white men are exploiting them for their own pleasure. Shelly Jarenski claims “the Battle Royal establishes the relationship between white power, male power, and (hetero)sexual power, the “self-grounding presumptions” of dominant subjectivity” ...
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