Chapter 6/ Anthem

The old locks and lack of guards in the Palace of Corrective Detention indicate that prisoners never tried to escape. Why not?

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A huge contrast between Equality 7-2521 and the collectivists lies in their approach to guarding important areas. Equality 7-2521 pays a great deal of attention to the protection of his tunnel and his light, and he undergoes the Palace of Corrective Detention without revealing them. This approach is unfathomable to the authorities, who do not bother to guard their prisoners or repair their locks, a fact which also illustrates the technological regression of the collectivist era. Equality 7-2521 views the glass box as an extension of his own body, and he acts as he does because of his pride in his body, while the authorities have no sense of pride and remain careless.

Several aspects of Equality 7-2521's imprisonment hint at the brainwashed nature of his society. The narrator escapes because no one else would have the originality necessary to even think of escape. Furthermore, although his transgression of omitting attendance at the City Theatre does not seem particularly heinous, few enough people commit any crimes that his case becomes one of paramount importance, leading eventually to questioning from "the most honored Judges of the City."