by Ralph Ellison
Invisible Man Chapter 24 Summary
- The narrator begins "yes-ing" the Brotherhood committee, agreeing with their plan. He hands in a list of new members that he invented, and the brothers embrace him back into the fold.
- The narrator goes to Brother Jack's birthday celebration at the Chthonian. He realizes that Emma is too deeply involved with Brother Jack to betray any information. The narrator looks around for another possible target and finds Sybil, an older woman unhappily married to a higher-up in the Brotherhood named George.
- The narrator closes the deal and invites her over to his place the following night.
- The following evening, the narrator realizes his mistake. He's poured the drinks too strong and brought the politics on too early. Plus, Sybil doesn't know anything about her husband's political affairs, which makes her a really great informant. (Not.)
- As for Sybil, she's there for the sex. She asks the narrator to play the brutal black rapist in a fantasy, leading the narrator to recognize that Sybil is projecting societal stereotypes onto him. The narrator feels sorry for Sybil. He continues to give her drinks in the hopes that she passes out.
- He succeeds; while she is passed out he uses lipstick to write on her stomach that Santa Claus raped her.
- He changes his mind and uses benzene to wipe out the words.
- Sybil wakes up and asks the narrator if they did it. He lies and says yes. She's giddy and proudly boasts of her status. She asks if he'll do it again, and he arranges for every Thursday at 9 p.m.
- The narrator tells her that she needs to get going, but they continue to drink and pass out together. Later, he wakes up to the phone ringing. A brother hastily calls him down to Harlem. He urgently says that there is trouble and the narrator is needed for help.
- The narrator, still drunk, pulls Sybil up and tries to find her a cab. He grabs his battle royal briefcase.
- The narrator keeps trying to separate from Sybil, but she follows him. The narrator feels strangely sympathetic for Sybil, feeling an immense sadness between them.
- Eventually, the narrator gets Sybil into a cab home, and then takes a bus into Harlem. He hears a big crowd and runs.
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