Let’s take a moment and “play” editor. You are Ralph Ellison’s editor. He submits chapters 10 and 11 of his draft of Invisible Man for critique. You read the pages and ponder how they fit with the rest of the novel. Working at the paint factory. Fighting with the Brockway. The explosion. The hospitalization/experimentation. The recovery and release.
Do they fit? Sure. Chapters 10-11 provide additional opportunities for the narrator to be victimized. More obstacles. But are the chapters necessary to the rest of the story?
I have to say that I expected to see lasting effects from whatever procedures were done to the narrator in the factory hospital, but other than a few random flashbacks there did not seem to be any. Perhaps the whole purpose of this subplot was to get the narrator into Miss Mary’s care?
What do you think? Could chapters 10-11 have been left out of the classic completely?