Study Guide

Orange Is the New Black Freedom and Confinement

By Piper Kerman

Freedom and Confinement

Chapter 2

We now lock up one out of every hundred adults, far more than any other country in the world. (2.50)

This is a startling statistic. Do this many people deserve to have their freedoms taken away? Why or why not?

Chapter 5

One of the good things about living in B Dorm was that you had your choice of two bathrooms. (5.66)

You know your freedoms are limited when you get excited about having two bathrooms to choose from, both of which are probably a few rungs down the ladder from your average port-a-potty.

Prison is all about waiting in line. (5.74)

That's prison for you. It's like Disney World with all of the lines and none of the rides. What do you think—are lines symbolic of something bigger?

Chapter 6

After more than a month of being trapped in the confines of the Camp, the bus ride was exhilarating. (6.3)

Even a bus ride just a few miles away to do construction work feels like a shuttle to a theme park.

"We don't mind the rain. We love it." And she put her head back again, face up, as close to the sky as it could get. (6.71)

These women just got transferred to Danbury from an even stricter prison, one with no true outdoor area. It has to be rough to not only be in jail, but to be stuck inside 24/7 for who knows how many months. Every drop of rain feels like freedom.

Chapter 7
Piper Kerman

Nina would be just a few hundred yards away behind that awful fence, but it might as well have been thousands of miles. (7.11)

Danbury is made up of two separate prisons, and when Nina moves to the other as part of a drug program, Piper knows that she might not ever see her again. They don't have the freedom to go back and forth between facilities.

Chapter 8

The truth is, the prison and its residents fill your thoughts, and it's hard to remember what it's like to be free, even after a few short months. (8.55)

Just like being immersed in a foreign country and learning to speak the language faster, being immersed in the confinement of prison means you learn the language of prison faster… and you forget your native language of freedom.

Chapter 9

In many places in the United States pregnant female prisoners are kept chained in shackles during their deliveries. (9.7)

Sometimes, not even pregnant women get an exemption from the restraining measures that are used in prison. What do they think she's going to do, strangle someone to death with her newborn's umbilical cord?

Chapter 14

As we headed to work that day, news helicopters hovered over the federal plantation. We gave them the finger. No one appreciates being treated like an animal in the zoo. (14.10)

They're already locked in a cage all day; they don't need the news media rubbing it in by gawking at them from above.

Chapter 15
Other Inmates

"All this freedom, but I still feel like I'm locked up." (15.17)

This is from Pom-Pom's sad letter. After getting released from prison, she finds herself struggling for food and sleeping on the floor—in a perverse way, prison almost seems like an upgrade from that kind of life.