Escape From “Acknowledge”

In the short story, “Escape From Spiderhead” George Saunders creates a different point of view in punishment. While the prisoners are being experimented on with different drugs by Abnesti, the prisoners are supposed to give consent for the drug to be administered. Every time that a different drug was administered, Abnesti would ask “Drip on?” and the prisoner would need to give consent by responding with “Acknowledge”.

The word “Acknowledge” should be seen as the prisoners only power or freedom, because they must consent to the experiments being done. However, as the story goes on we see that the word “Acknowledge” is being much more forced and controlled by Abnesti than by the prisoners. When Rachel was about to receive the Darkenfloxx, Jeff “did not say “Acknowledge” ….. Abnesti said. “Verlaine, what’s the name of that one? The one where I give him an order and he obeys it?”(75). Since Abnesti is taking away the one piece of power that Jeff had during his punishment, this experiment is more of torture and cruelty. So Abnesti is not a kind person being forced to punish and experiment through the system, he is using the system as justification for torture.

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