If there is one thing that makes the Guards especially uncomfortable it is the fact that their meals are much better than those of the Prisoners – both in terms of quantity and quality. Their discomfort is increased by the fact that, every mealtime, a cell of hungry Prisoners has the duty to serve them.
At breakfast on Day 2, the Guards can’t eat all their sausages. They feel guilty and try to get the waiting Prisoners to eat the leftovers. The Prisoners spot what is really going on: the Guards want to give their privileges away rather than use them to control the prison. They see that the Guards are weak and irresolute – not as individuals but as a group. But they also see that the Guards are only willing to go so far. They wish to retain their ability to give out sausages as a privilege rather than create genuine equality where Prisoners have the good food as a right.
So the Prisoners refuse the offer until they have consulted with their fellow inmates. They deny the Guards power to give them handouts. The Guards end up being outmanoeuvred and feeling humiliated.
If the Guards’ hold on power is so fragile even when the Prisoners are divided, what will happen if the Prisoners ever start to unite? The answer is not long in coming.