Study Guide

A Confederacy of Dunces Chapter 5

By John Kennedy Toole

Chapter 5

  • Lana Lee is complaining that her bar is always full of plainclothes cops.
  • Darlene is afraid to ask anyone to buy her a drink (which is how she makes money for the bar and herself) because everyone in the place is a cop (and b-drinking, or scamming people to buy her drinks, is illegal).
  • Darlene tries to encourage Lana Lee to let her do a striptease act with her cockatoo. Lana Lee, however, is not interested.
  • George comes in about the "orphans," and Lana tells him they can't talk in front of Jones, which means that George has to carry the "stuff" around until he can drop it at lunch when Jones isn't there.
  • At Levy Pants, Gonzalez and Trixie are both very happy with Ignatius, for reasons that aren't entirely clear, since he doesn't appear to do any work.
  • He is making a large cross out of paint and cans, and says he cannot get to the filing.
  • Ignatius feeds Trixie lunchmeat and snipes at Gonzalez.
  • Trixie ruins a report; Ignatius takes some files and throws them out. This is apparently his secret filing system.
  • Then he goes to the factory.
  • And over to poor Mancuso, who got beaten up by three women (named Frida, Betty, and Liz we learn later) when he was trying to arrest them.
  • His sergeant tells him to stake out the restroom at the bus station for the duration, still wearing goofy outfits (today he is dressed as a farmer).
  • Mrs. Reilly is preparing to go out bowling, but before she does she bickers with Ignatius, who disapproves of the company she keeps. She, for her part, wants him to give her his wages so she can make payments. So they disagree.
  • Finally Mrs. Reilly leaves, and Ignatius sets down to write more about his travails as a worker.
  • He talks about going in to the factory, where he turned off the music, causing the workers to get mad at him. To get back in their good graces, he did a ridiculous jazz dance; they were amused
  • Then he fell over, and the factory workers helped him up.
  • He burbles on about how he feels close to black people since he is an outsider like they are, though he doesn't know why they want to be middle class, since he disdains the middle class.
  • Ignatius opines that the factory workers are not paid enough.
  • Then he goes into an account of his first meeting with Myrna Minkoff, which was antagonistic and fiery.
  • He reports that Myrna has been involved in civil rights activism, so to one up her, he says he's going to lead the factory workers in a rebellion. This does not seem likely to work.
  • We end the chapter with a visit to Dr. Talc, a lazy and not especially knowledgeable history teacher.
  • He happens to discover an incredibly nasty note written to him by Ignatius when Ignatius was in his class. Talc wonders what ever happened to him.