My most recent review, of The Prisoner by Thomas M. Disch is live at PopMatters.
Ultimately, Number Six and his attempts to prove that he is not a number are a thinly veiled metaphor for our own attempts to prove the same. I am not a number, I am (to use the phrase repeated throughout the show and in the novel) a free man.
Yet, I am a cell phone. I have to regularly list my social security number on applications. I drag around notes scribbled on the backs of old receipts to remind myself of my bank account number for deposits. God help me if I need to call the companies that provide my cable, gas, or electric service without my identifying number. I am, in fact, a large number of numbers, each one longer than the next, each one more oppressive for my lack of remembering, each one present, and here’s the punchline, to make my life easier.