This part of Colson Whitehead's The Intuitionist has been troubling me for a few days.

The trip is everything to elevator inspectors—the bumps and shudders, not the banalities of departure and destination—and if the radio waves must first amble from the reporters’ microphones to the receiver atop the WCAM Building and dally there a bit before returning (nearly) to the humble spot of their nativity, so much the better. The intrinsic circuitousness of inspecting appeases certain dustier quarters of her and her colleagues’ mentalities, the very neighborhoods, it turns out, where the key and foundational character deficits reside. Nobody’s quite up to investigating those localities, or prepared to acknowledge or remark upon them anyway; to do so would lead to instructive, yes, but no doubt devastating revelations about their jobs, about themselves. They’re that important.

I guess the bolded "they" refers to "certain dustier quarters", "the very neighborhoods" and "those localities" where no elevator inspector wants to explore directly. But then, it doesn't make sense to me that "they are that important" since everyone is circuitous to them.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.