Study Guide

Invisible Man Chapter 19

By Ralph Ellison

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Chapter 19

  • The narrator is excited for his first speech on women. The crowd seems to receive it well since lots of people approach him afterward.
  • One of the women approaches him in the hopes of further discussing the Brotherhood ideology.
  • We know what that means.
  • The narrator agrees to visit her apartment in order to discuss the Brotherhood.
  • We know what that means.
  • When they arrive at her swanky apartment, her wealth becomes obvious. She expresses interest in joining the Brotherhood, saying she desires spiritual security. Then she changes into something more comfortable.
  • You know what that means!
  • She invites the narrator to sit down on the couch with her, and casually lets it slip that her husband is out of town in Chicago. After talking about the Brotherhood for, like, .0003593 seconds, they start making out.
  • The door bell rings.
  • Just kidding. The narrator thinks the door bell rings, and stops what he's doing. It's actually the phone. The woman whisks him away into her private bedroom, saying that her husband won't be back for a while.
  • The phone continues to ring, and the narrator asks her to answer the phone. She talks with her sister, Gwen, for a while. The narrator starts to leave but the lady gets off the phone and sweeps him off his feet onto her bed.
  • The narrator wakes up to find a man looking at him in bed with the woman.
  • Whoops.
  • Or maybe not whoops. This is the woman's husband, but he doesn't seem bothered.
  • The narrator curses himself for having gotten into such a mess and searches for his clothes in the dark. He returns to his own place. He wonders if he was set up.
  • The next day he is paranoid that someone from the Brotherhood will phone and confront him about the woman.
  • The narrator continues to deliver speeches about women. He realizes that people expect certain things from him when he steps up to the podium.
  • Then the narrator is summoned to an emergency Brotherhood meeting. Anxious that his affair is about to be uncovered, he arrives late. It turns out that Brother Clifton has been missing for weeks. Brother Jack orders the narrator to return to Harlem and bring up the morale there.
  • The narrator regrets not having kept in better touch with Clifton and his contacts in the neighborhood.

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