Summary: Chapter V

Equality 7-2521 discovers how to make a lightbulb work. He believes he alone has made light. He has found the materials for making the lightbulb in the tunnel where he is hiding, and he has used wires to make electricity flow through the lightbulb and produce light. He is amazed that the light has come from the heart of the metal, without flint or fire. He compares the glowing flint to the crack in the walls of a prison. Equality 7-2521 realizes the meaning of the lightbulb—that he can provide clean and bright light for all the cities in the world—and he determines that his discovery is too important not to be shared with the world. He concludes that electricity is the key to harnessing nature’s power and that he must bring it to the world.

Equality 7-2521 also concludes that he must be allowed into the Home of the Scholars, where there are rooms to experiment and where he can ask the help of the other scholars, in whom he has great faith. He concludes that there is enough work ahead that all the scholars of the world should work together to make progress with his new invention.

A month later, the World Council of Scholars, a group of the wisest scholars from all over the world, is to convene for its annual meeting, and this year, the meeting is in Equality 7-2521’s city. He resolves to go to the World Council and show them his invention. He will tell the council members the whole story of its discovery, and he believes they will be so impressed that they will forgive him for all his sins and transgressions. He decides that the World Council will speak to the Council of Vocations and have him reassigned from street sweeper to scholar so that he may continue his research.

Equality 7-2521 resolves to guard his tunnel with his life because no one but the World Council of Scholars will understand the significance of the light, and the light is the most important thing. In mid-thought, he suddenly realizes that he cares about his body. He believes the lightbulb is a part of his physical being and he wants to see the body that helped bring the bulb into existence. Until this point, he has never seen his body, but now he stretches out his arms and legs and realizes his own strength. Despite knowing that it is wrong to want it, he wants to see his own reflection.

Summary: Chapter VI

Equality 7-2521 writes that he was so excited about his discovery of the lightbulb that he forgot to pay attention to the time, and he was late in returning to the Home of the Street Sweepers. The Council of the Home asked him where he was, and he would not answer. Without emotion, the Council ordered Equality 7-2521 to be held in the Palace of Corrective Detention until he told the Council where he had been.

Equality 7-2521 writes that at the Palace of Correction, he was stripped and tied to a post where he was whipped and beaten while being asked where he had been. He lost consciousness and woke in a cell, happy that he had not betrayed the tunnel and the light. He stayed in the cell in the Palace of Corrective Detention until he realized that it was the day before the meeting of the World Council of Scholars. He then broke out of the Palace, which was easy because no precautions had been taken to prevent escape since no one had ever tried to do so before. He snuck back to his tunnel, where he writes this entry, reveling in the idea that the next day will bring atonement and reunification with his brothers.