Anthem Chapters 6-7 Summary

     When chapter seven begins, Equality 7-2521 confesses that he hasn't been in his tunnel for thirty days because he got caught; then he proceeds to go into a flashback to tell us how that happened. Often the chapters in this book begin with something that has not yet happened and then flashback, such as in chapter one which begins with him writing in a tunnel that doesn't find until the end of that chapter. Normally, Equality uses an hourglass to keep track of the three hours that he spends in the tunnel each night; however, one night he looked, and the sand had run out, which meant that he was late. He walked to the Home of the Street Sweepers alone in the dark. When he arrived the council questioned where he had been, but he refused to tell them, so they took him to the Palace of Corrective Detention.

     In this prison, they tore off his clothes, tied him to a post, and lashed his back, but he still refused to speak. Periodically, they would stop and ask where he had been, but he did not want to tell them about his tunnel because he didn't want them to find his invention. He stayed in that cell for many days until he decided he needed to escape because he knew the next day the World Council would be arriving. One night, he walked out the doors of the Palace of Corrective Detention without any trouble because there are no locks or guards, and he returned to his tunnel. He saw his box was as he had left it, and he felt relieved. He planned to present it to the Scholars the next day.

     The lack of locks and guards in the prison says something about this society. Obviously, not many people break the law, and those who do would never think to escape, which seems to imply a severe level of brainwashing. It does not seem that many rebels, like Equality, exist in this society.

     Chapter eight also begins at the end with Equality in the Uncharted Forest. He then flashes back to the events that led him there. He carried his box through the streets and walked into the Home of the Scholars where the World Council was meeting. He greeted them, and they were alarmed to learn that a Street Sweeper would walk into such an important meeting. He explained that who he is does not matter, what matters is what he brings to them. He then lights up the box. The men of the council appear to be afraid, but they seem more afraid of Equality than his box. Then Collective 0-0009, who seems to be in charge, exclaims that he cannot believe a gutter cleaner would break so many laws. No one has dared commit such a crime, so they do not even know of a punishment severe enough for him. Again, Equality does not care what happens to him; he wants to know what they will do with the light. They tell him that the box is useless because he worked on it alone, and no one knew anything about it. They say that it would bring ruin to the Department of Candles, which took fifty years to switch from torches to candles. They announce that the box must be destroyed. This pronouncement causes Equality to panic, so he grabs his invention and jumps through the window. He runs until he finds himself in the Uncharted Forest. He figures he won't live for long, and he is most hurt that he will never see the Golden One again.

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