by Ralph Ellison
Invisible Man Chapter 11 Summary
- The narrator is semiconscious and becomes aware that he's in a hospital. People hover over him and discuss treatment.
- It becomes apparent that they're experimenting on him. Instead of giving him a lobotomy, they've performed a noninvasive something on him that will supposedly have similar effects. Very fishy.
- The narrator wakes up to find that he is not on an operating table but in an aquarium-type contraption where the doctors and nurses can look in on him. The narrator goes a little loopy, talking to the people in white coats but not actually talking.
- The narrator is awake and listening to their conversation. One of the people suggests adding more current and the narrator feels a shock go through him as they pump electricity through him. He tastes blood. His whole body shakes and the coated people comment that black people sure have rhythm when they dance.
- The narrator feels disconnected from his body; he cannot feel his limbs and he has to pretend to feel angry while being numb. People continue to experiment on him and he views it all as a dream.
- One man holds the words up: What is your name? The narrator doesn't remember. He has no idea who he is. He can't remember who his mother is. They ask him who Buckeye the Rabbit is, and he recalls the children's song.
- The doctors and nurses leave him, and he tries to break out. He realizes it's pretty useless since can't even remember who he is, let alone how to save himself.
- Then he wakes up to find that they are pulling down one of the walls of the cage. He finds out that he's been in the factory hospital. The narrator does not remember anything, let alone the definition of a factory.
- The narrator seems fine, and the officials are glad to see that their experiments seem to have been successful. They get him to a man named Drexel.
- Drexel announces that they're going to release the narrator. The narrator is confused as to whether he's being released from the hospital or work. He doesn't see how he'll survive.
- The narrator learns that the company insures its employees so he does not have to pay money for the treatment. Sorry—make that "treatment."
- The narrator is confused as to whether the physicians are doctors or employees of Liberty Paints.
- Dazed, the narrator asks Drexel whether he knows Mr. Norton. Then he asks if he knows Bledsoe. The doctor has no idea what he's talking about.
- The narrator turns to leave. He realizes that something is different about him. He is no longer afraid. He is disconnected from himself and his mind.
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