CliffsNotes Rand's Anthem

By Andrew Bernstein | Go to book overview

Chapter 6

Summary

Equality 7–2521 is caught. On the night he completes his invention, he neglects to watch the hourglass that tells him the time. When he remembers to look at it, it is too late. When the members of the Home Council question him regarding his whereabouts, he answers: “We will not tell you.” The Council sends him to the Palace of Corrective Detention, commanding that he be lashed until he confesses. He escapes from the Palace of Corrective Detention and steals quickly into his tunnel. When he lights his candle, he finds everything as he left it. The glass box is intact, and when he beholds it, he feels that the scars on his back are unimportant.


Commentary

A collectivist society is brutally repressive in its treatment of those who think independently. Just like it burned at the stake the Saint of the Pyre for discovering and uttering the Unspeakable Word, so it lashes Equality 7–2521 for his unexplained absence. In a Nazi or Communist society such as this, obedience is considered the fundamental virtue. Individualists, like Equality 7–2521, who act on their own thinking, are regarded as dangerous troublemakers and treated like criminals.

Equality 7–2521 knows that if the state discovers the full extent of his “crimes”—his illicit scientific research and invention of an electric light—he will be executed and his creation destroyed. He has performed actions that are major violations of the lock-step conformity required by society. He has placed the satisfaction of his own goals above the necessity of compliance to society—and this is unforgivable. The legal authorities will not understand the significance of the light nor will they care. They will see only the refusal to conform. Equality 7–2521’s only hope lies with the Scholars. They are the men of wisdom. The Scholars, he believes, are honest seekers after truth, who will both understand and care about the electric light. They will intercede on his behalf— and he and the light will be saved.

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CliffsNotes Rand's Anthem
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Table of Contents iii
  • How to Use This Book vi
  • Life and Background of the Author 1
  • Introduction to the Novel 5
  • Critical Commentaries 16
  • Chapter 1 17
  • Chapter 2 22
  • Chapter 3 26
  • Chapter 4 28
  • Chapter 5 30
  • Chapter 6 32
  • Chapter 7 34
  • Chapter 8 37
  • Chapter 9 39
  • Chapter 10 42
  • Chapter 11 44
  • Chapter 12 50
  • Character Analyses 56
  • Critical Essays 64
  • CliffsNotes Review 77
  • CliffsNotes Resource Center 81
  • Index 84
  • Ayn Rand Essay Contests 88
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