Chapter 11 Summary

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The narrator awakened with a pounding headache, finding himself in an unfamiliar hospital room surrounded by doctors and nurses. He tried to speak, but they silenced him, focusing instead on a strange machine.

The narrator realized he couldn’t remember how he got there or what had happened to him, but he had enough physical sensation to know he was cramped in an uncomfortable position between glass walls. He asked for more room and was told his position was part of the treatment. Eavesdropping on the doctors, he overheard that the state-of-the-art electroshock machine performed noninvasive lobotomization. This, he ascertained, was designed to make the patient docile and agreeable without the side effects of a surgical lobotomy.

The doctors used the machine on him, inflicting severe pain. Afterward, a man walked up and attempted to communicate with the narrator by holding up cards with questions on them. He asked first about the narrator’s name and then about the narrator’s mother’s name. The narrator was able to read the cards but unable to think of the answers to them and only stared in response. The man asked about figures from children’s stories, and these sounded familiar, but this only led the narrator to become more frustrated.

Finally, the doctors detached the electroshock nodes and allowed the narrator to exit the machine’s glass enclosure. The doctors gave him new clothes and remarked that he appeared to be “cured.” As he dressed, he overheard that this was a factory hospital, but he didn’t know what factory they might be talking about.

The narrator was given exit paperwork and finally learned his name, and he surprised himself by asking the doctor if he knew Mr. Norton. The doctor said no, and the narrator couldn’t figure out where that name came from, but slowly his memories started to return.

Before he left the hospital, the staff told him he would also receive a generous financial settlement for sustaining a work-related injury.

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Chapter 10 Summary


Chapter 12 Summary