Paul goes back to recounting the circumstances surrounding Wharton’s entrance on E block. While Wharton is daring Paul with his eyes to shoot, Brutal suddenly enters—by some miracle—and hits Wharton on the head with his baton. Dean crawls away and Paul tries to lock Wharton, now unconscious, in his cell. He calls for Percy to help but it is only after Paul yells at him again that Percy stands up to help him drag the body toward his cell.
Brutal’s intervention contrasts strikingly with Percy’s apathy, proving that the two characters are not only opposite in terms of compassion for others, but also in terms of pure courage. Percy’s incompetence reaches previously unseen levels, demonstrating that his physical strength only comes through when he is busy harassing weaker individuals—not when it is actually needed for the good of the community.
Three hours later, Wharton wakes up and stands silently at his cell’s bars, scaring Paul, who is writing a report about what happened. While Paul tries not to show his surprise, Wharton threatens to do to him what he did to Dean. Paul calmly replies, remarking that, given the circumstances, he will spare Wharton his usual welcome speech. Wharton is surprised at Paul’s calmness. Paul explains to the reader that the only reason he was so calm was because of something that happened during the three hours in which Wharton was unconscious.
Wharton’s dedication to scaring other people shows no bounds, as he seems to have learned nothing from his violent confrontation with the guards. Paul’s strategy of remaining calm instead of turning violent bears its fruits, as Wharton is taken aback by Paul’s reaction and is cut short in his aggressive speech. This proves that Paul’s respectful attitude toward inmates is indeed practical as much as ideological, capable of diffusing tense situations.