They had torn out the tongue of the Transgressor, so that they could speak no longer.
Equality 7-2521 describes how the Council tears out the tongue of the Transgressor of the Unspeakable Word before bringing him to the scaffold to be set on fire. The Transgressor has spoken the word I, the “unspeakable word,” and the cutting out of his tongue is a symbolic gesture of silencing him as well as all individuality.
There was a thread of blood running from the corner of their mouth, but the lips were smiling.
Equality 7-2521 notices that despite being wounded, the Transgressor doesn’t seem to be affected by either the pain or his situation. The Transgressor’s mouth has been silenced by having its tongue cut out, but his mouth remains capable of expressing satisfaction and peace. The society in Anthem cannot stifle the Transgressor’s individuality and inner state of being.
The Transgressor were young and tall. They had hair of gold and eyes of blue as morning. They walked to the pyre, and their step did not falter.
Equality 7-2521 takes special note of the Transgressor’s appearance as the Transgressor walks up to the pyre. Equality 7-2521 notices the Transgressor’s striking blue eyes and blond hair as well as his unusual height, a physical feature Equality 7-2521 shares with him. Their height sets them apart from society, both physically and symbolically. Earlier in the story, Equality 7-2521’s height was said to indicate that there was “evil in his bones.” Apparently, the Transgressor shared such a quality.
And of all the faces on that square, of all the faces which shrieked and screamed and spat curses upon them, theirs was the calmest and the happiest face.
Equality 7-2521 observes that the Transgressor appears to be the only one at peace as he is brought to the pyre. The crowd appears to be more frenzied and manic than the man about to be burned alive. Such an image implies that the only way one can find peace in this society is to be at odds with the society itself.
There was no pain in their eyes and no knowledge of the agony of their body.
Equality 7-2521 reveals that he can’t detect any pain in the Transgressor’s eyes as he dies. The Transgressor has transcended society and his own body by dying for the cause of individuality, and he remains at peace with himself as a result of knowing the meaning of I. The Transgressor’s death foreshadows Equality 7-2521’s fate and gives Equality 7-2521 an example of how to die properly in this oppressive society.