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Naked Lunch | Chapter Summaries

See Chapter Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • New York

    The narrator goes on the run from the police in New York City.

    Chapter 1
  • New York

    The Vigilante is put into a federal mental institution.

    Chapter 2
  • Philadelphia

    The narrator leaves the Rube after their arrest.

    Chapter 3
  • Mexico

    The narrator arrives in Mexico and obtains cocaine.

    Chapter 3
  • Freeland

    The narrator meets Dr. Benway and tours his facility in Freeland.

    Chapter 4
  • Interzone

    The Sailor visits the Meet Café in Interzone to obtain Black Meat.

    Chapter 6
  • Hospital

    Narrator goes through detox.

    Chapter 7
  • Interzone

    Lee meets with an old friend who has gotten off drugs.

    Chapter 8
  • Interzone

    Hassan hosts an orgy in his rumpus room.

    Chapter 9
  • Interzone

    A.J. shows a film of sex and death at his annual party.

    Chapter 11
  • Interzone

    The audience at a conference kills a man who turns into a giant centipede.

    Chapter 12
  • Interzone

    The Party Leader and others observe ordinary people in the city's market square.

    Chapter 14
  • Various locations

    A.J. conducts a number of crazy stunts for Islam Inc.

    Chapter 15
  • Interzone

    Lee acts racist to keep from getting evicted from his rented house.

    Chapter 16
  • Freeland

    Dr. Benway uncovers Carl Peterson's buried homosexual past.

    Chapter 18
  • New York

    An old junkie takes a surreal trip through his city.

    Chapter 19
  • New York or Interzone

    The Sailor picks up a boy going through severe cocaine withdrawal.

    Chapter 20
  • New York

    The Sailor gives a boy he picked up a shot of heroin.

    Chapter 21
  • New York

    Lee is caught by narcotics officers, whom he shoots.

    Chapter 23
  • New York

    Lee discovers the narcotics officers he shot didn't exist.

    Chapter 23

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Chapter 1 In New York City the narrator, aka William Lee, evades police who want him on drug charges after he discards a dropper a... Read More
Chapter 2 The narrator reveals the story of a man he only identifies as the Vigilante. When the Vigilante is caught by police he "... Read More
Chapter 3 The narrator and his traveling companions, including the Rube, are arrested in Philadelphia. The Rube has a "Mark Inside... Read More
Chapter 4 The narrator is "assigned" to work with Dr. Benway of Islam Inc. Benway is "an expert on all phases of interrogation, br... Read More
Chapter 5 Joselito develops a cough, and a German doctor diagnoses him with tuberculosis. The doctor speaks to Carl, Joselito's co... Read More
Chapter 6 The Sailor menaces a shoeshine boy in a café, laughing about the quality of his veins. Then the Sailor moves on to talk ... Read More
Chapter 7 Willy the Agent is in Hassan's hospital, going through detox. He experiences paranoia and hallucinatory nightmares in wh... Read More
Chapter 8 Lee pulls himself together, just barely, to meet his acquaintance Miguel. He offers Miguel "one snort" of heroin. Miguel... Read More
Chapter 9 An orgy commences in Hassan's "gilt and red plush" rumpus room. It begins when a Mugwump strips a young man and has sex ... Read More
Chapter 10 Interzone University features an assortment of barnyard animals milling around as male students sit on park benches in f... Read More
Chapter 11 A.J. hosts a party with live entertainment, emceed by The Great Slashtubitch. The entertainment commences with a blue (p... Read More
Chapter 12 Dr. "Fingers" Shafer presents his "Master Work: The Complete All American Deanxietized Man" at a conference. The man is ... Read More
Chapter 13 The City of Interzone is described as a sprawling city of "minarets, palms, mountains, jungle." The people lounge and ta... Read More
Chapter 14 Members of the Nationalist Party in Interzone have lunch on a balcony. The Party Leader and his Lieutenants talk about t... Read More
Chapter 15 The narrator describes his work as an agent for Islam Inc., a nebulous organization "financed by A.J. the notorious Merc... Read More
Chapter 16 Lee faces eviction from his house in Interzone and must file an affidavit claiming he has bubonic plague so he can stay.... Read More
Chapter 17 Aracknid is a chauffeur in Interzone, known for being the only native who is both straight and unavailable. He works for... Read More
Chapter 18 Dr. Benway summons Carl Peterson for an exam at the Ministry of Mental Hygiene and Prophylaxis in Freeland. Carl is obli... Read More
Chapter 19 An old junkie makes his way through the seedy areas of a city, looking to get more drugs. The images are disjointed and ... Read More
Chapter 20 The Sailor drinks coffee at a counter. He sees a boy come into the café and recognizes the boy's fidgeting as a sign of ... Read More
Chapter 21 The Sailor takes the boy to his place. He tells the boys the rooms have been exterminated for coke bugs. It's a tenement... Read More
Chapter 22 "Fats" Terminal, who comes from The City Pressure Tanks to the City Plaza, has learned "the Algebra of Need and survived... Read More
Chapter 23 At the Hotel Lamprey, Hauser and O'Brien, two narcotics officers, catch up with Lee, the narrator, and attempt to arrest... Read More
Chapter 24 Burroughs explains the purpose of his book—to explain the experience of drug addiction. He relates some stories of drug-... Read More
Chapter 25 This final section presents a series of poetic but often grotesque and menacing snips of words and phrases. Burroughs pr... Read More
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