The underground man says his readers believe in the ideal world of the crystal palace, but says that the palace is a hoax. He says he’d rather crawl into a chicken coop than the crystal palace. He says he’d reject the crystal palace because he wouldn’t be able to stick out his tongue rudely there. Continuing to ramble on, he says that men like him—“we underground men”—should be “kept in check,” as they tend to talk “on and on and on.”
The crystal palace symbolizes an ideal place where mankind behaves totally rationally. The underground man rejects such a utopia on the grounds that he wouldn’t be able to exercise his free will by indulging in spite, sticking out his tongue. He generalizes about “underground men” in the plural, suggesting that he is representative of a large number of people.