The chapter opens with Evey sitting in a dark room, with a guard standing next to her. The same shadowy figure that has demanded information of her reads a statement. In the statement, Evey confesses to being kidnapped by V, aiding in the murder of Derek Almond, Anthony Lilliman, Roger Dascombe, and others. The figure asks Evey to sign this statement. Evey quietly refuses to do so. The figure pauses, then tells the guard to take Evey outside and shoot her.
In this crucial scene, Evey is given an opportunity to save her life, at the expense of her “final inch.” Rather than sacrifice her own self-respect and integrity, Evey refuses to name names. This suggests that she’s come to value integrity even more highly than life itself—a paradoxical conclusion, but perhaps one on which human dignity rests.
Back in her cell, Evey reads Valerie’s letter one more time. The guard comes to take her to her death. The guard suggests that it’s not too late for Evey to save her life: she can still sign the statement. Evey quietly declines to do so—she says that she’d prefer to die. The guard replies, “Then there’s nothing left to threaten with, is there? You are free.” Evey turns, surprised, and finds that the guard is no longer standing in her cell—she’s all alone.
Here, after weeks of torture (if not months), Evey realizes that she’s all alone. This is a literal way of showing what we already recognized was true: Evey’s own greatest opponent was her own cowardice and weakness. Now that she’s proven her strength by refusing to sacrifice her integrity, she realizes that she is truly free, and can do as she wishes.
Evey cautiously walks through the door of her cell. She sees the guard standing in the distance, and then she realizes that the guard isn’t real—it’s a dummy, being wheeled around on a small dolly. Astonished, Evey continues walking through her prison. She goes to the room where she was sentenced to death only a few moments ago. There, she finds the shadowy figure, still seated. She turns on a light and realizes that the figure is a dummy, too. She notices a tape recorder, and plays it—she hears the same death sentence she’s already received.
It’s remarkable, in retrospect, that Evey was fooled into believing that she was in a Norsefire prison simply because she saw a sign with the Norsefire slogans on it. This is another reminder of the power of symbols: here they can strike fear into a person’s heart and rob her of her reason. We can sense V’s presence in this section: the use of tape recorders and dummies sounds exactly like him.
Evey walks out of the room and toward a door. She finds that it’s unlocked. Amazed, she walks through the door, up a staircase, and finds herself in the main room of the Shadow Gallery. V is standing in the center of the room, wearing his usual cloak and mask. He says, “Welcome home.”
At this point, V’s involvement in Evey’s kidnapping is plain: only V would set up such an elaborate hoax for Evey. It remains to be seen how Evey will take the news that her torture was merely a “lesson.”