Chapters 4–7

Summary: Chapter 4: Vestiges

After traveling to the now-closed Larkhill Resettlement Camp, Finch takes LSD to try and understand V’s mind and solve the case. He sees the camp’s ovens and has terrible visions of dismembered bodies on barbed wire, followed by uplifting visions of people of all colors and sexual orientations. Finch now sees that their diversity was beautiful, laments how they were treated, and wants them to know he loves them. In Finch’s hallucinations, Dr. Surridge, Bishop Lilliman, and Lewis Prothero imprison him in cell V. Finch soon realizes that he’s always imprisoned himself, however, and escapes and celebrates his newfound freedom from all the state’s lies.

Summary: Chapter 5: The Valediction

V shows Evey more of the Shadow Gallery, including a room containing monitors that are still connected to the state’s surveillance cameras, and explains how his plot’s destructive phase will soon give rise to a creation phase. 

Summary: Chapter 6: The Vectors

Helen Heyer has sex with Alistair Harper in the Heyers’ home, believing that the state’s surveillance camera there is disconnected. Finch leaves Larkhill in search of V, following a path to Victory Station that leads to London’s underground train network.

Summary Chapter 7: Vindication

Finch encounters V in the subway tunnel and shoots him, mortally wounding him. Before V slips away, he tells Finch that he can’t kill the idea that V represents. At a government parade, Rosemary Almond shoots and kills Leader Susan.

Analysis: Chapters 4–7

The novel’s opposition to fascism is evident and laudable, but the anarchistic ideas it espouses should not go unexamined. In the philosophy of V for Vendetta, an anarchist society requires those who destroy and those who rebuild. Those who destroy are important at the beginning of a revolution to bring down the oppressive systems that existed before. They wipe the slate clean, paving a way for those who are able to create a new way of life, those who can imagine a new way of doing things. Here, the novel’s ideas of practicality versus imagination are best illustrated. The imposed order is a triumph of practicality, that is, getting things done in the most efficient, least interesting way possible. The promise of anarchy is the opposite: messy, exciting, difficult, and true. It is the utopian vision toward which this dystopian story is reaching. But the book ends before the difficult part begins. V is a dashing hero, brilliant and romantic, with a love of the dramatic. He is portrayed as the best possible version of a destroyer. He has worked to bring down the ugly, cruel, and despotic fascists, but he has also planned his own destruction. 

By allowing himself to be killed by Finch, V illuminates both the strength and weakness of his goal. With his death, he underlines the point that collective action cannot revolve around the desires or work of one person: a person is not an idea. One person may spark an idea, but the idea must circulate, mutate, and be streamlined or built upon for it to be successful. It must also involve and inspire those who share it. This is the beauty in V's martyrdom. However, by leaving in the middle of "Verwirrung," the person with the brightest spark is abdicating any responsibility for the rebuilding back to "Ordnung." As is portrayed in the story, the destruction is the fun part: the explosions, the exposing of hypocrisy and pettiness, the systematic murder of those objectively terrible men in charge, the re-emergence into the light of those living in darkness. But the story ends without ideas about the process for remaking a world that is better. After the looting and the violence has calmed, when people have tired of chaos and are now interested in living meaningful lives—what then? This is the boring, difficult part that extends beyond the vision of the Downing Street being blown up. This is the part that V, and the novel itself, escapes.