Have a class discussion about the links between American capitalism, conspicuous consumption, the expansion of the suburbs, and the postwar era's movement toward assimilation and complacency. Also discuss the idea prevalent in the 1950s that, in a dangerous world where communists and enemies of the state lurk around every corner, you are either part of the problem or part of the solution. Discuss the complexities of what happens when you are "not allowed" to fit into or conform within the dominant society. Where are ethnic minorities left at such a time?
Ask your students to rewrite a paragraph or two of the Battle Royal scene from Invisible Man using a different kind of narrator--either third-person or omniscient. Read several of the paragraphs aloud in class. How does narrative change affect the mood or tone of the text? Why is perspective so crucial to the scene's power and meaning?
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