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Anthem | Study Guide

Ayn Rand

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Anthem | Chapter 6 | Summary



After 30 days of questioning, Equality 7-2521 has escaped his captors and returned to his hiding place to continue writing his story. On the night he wrote about in Chapter 5, he lost track of time and got back to the Home of the Street Sweepers too late. He tells of how he refused to confess to the Council of the Home where he had been, so they sent him to the Palace of Corrective Detention. There, two judges whipped him and demanded to know where he was. He refused to divulge his whereabouts. On the night before the World Council of Scholars convenes, Equality 7-2521 simply walks out of his prison. He returns to his hiding place and pledges to present his invention as planned.


By easily walking away from his prison, Equality 7-2521 proves the ineptitude of the evil rulers. As Equality 7-2521 points out, the rulers see no reason for guards or strong locks because "men have never defied the councils so far as to escape from whatever place they were ordered to be." The councils did not count on the strong sense of free will that Equality 7-2521 possesses. He certainly lives up to the name Liberty 5-3000 gave him—"the Unconquered"—by not giving in to his torture and being able to keep his secrets.

He protects his innovation even when it brings him considerable pain to do so. When he returns to his subway tunnel and sees that his invention is untouched, he remarks, "What matter they now, the scars upon our back!" Presenting his gift to the council is of utmost importance to him, and he believes this action will cause them to invite him back into the brotherhood. At this point Equality 7-2521 still sees a chance to be accepted as an individual within the collective: "tomorrow we shall be one of you again."

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