Kafka – The Castle
There are those who feel the quote from Kafka’s ‘The Castle is quite apt for ‘the Prisoner’ because on the surface Number 6 does appear to know a good deal about The Village. For example he knew that Number 9 in ‘Arrival’ had been assigned to him, as she had once been assigned to Cobb. And by keeping a watch on 9 he saw her leaving the Green Dome, and that told him that Number 2 was her boss. Number 6 is aware that in the woods they can see but cannot hear, the observers that is, but then he could have learnt that for himself at some time or other. At times he seems an old hand in The Village as he explains about the taxi to new arrival Nadia Rakovsky, having experienced that for himself. And the chimes of Big Ben told him that The Village is not in Lithuania on the Baltic. He knew that Number 14 was a doctor and that she was one of them! Also the name of that the white membranic Village Guardian – ‘Rover’ was known to him, how did he know that? Number 6 may not have known where The Village is when he set out on his voyage of discovery, yet by the end of ‘Many Happy Returns,’ he had no doubts as to the location of The Village, seeing as he had navigated his own way back there! And when it comes to telling fairy tales, he knows who is watching and listening!
‘Once Upon A Time’ he recognised the voice on the telephone, it was Number 2 who had been in The Village before, and more than that Number 6 knew about “Degree Absolute,” being a recognised method. He has learned about the democratic process which was later dispensed with. Of the underground tunnel system.
He learns about the cost of a taxi ride, the price of non-alcoholic drinks, the Citizens Advice Bureau which offers help and advice to everyone. He knows that he has been betrayed by his own people.
And yet there are things Number 6 doesn’t know, such as where the Town Hall is, and didn’t know about the electric force-field. He doesn’t know who Number 1 is, or who Number 2 is for that matter. Nor about the General, the Professor, or Speedlearn! He doesn’t know how to distinguish between prisoner and warders. He’s not sure which side runs The Village. He didn’t recognise Number 2 in ‘It’s Your Funeral.’
At the time it strikes as though Number 6 appears to know a good deal about The Village, more than he actually does. Because at times he seems to know even less. What he does know about The Village he learns through his time and experience during his incarceration. Mind you seeing that Number 6 is the alter ego if Number 1 he should know all there is to know about The Village.
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