Ayn Rand’s Anthem gives an interesting take on what a society without a sense of individualism would look like. The main character of this book, Equality 7-2521, struggles with his life when he wants to take off on his own path and express his personal ideas, however everyone else meets these ideas with anger and skepticism. Everyone has been persuaded to believe that everybody is equal and no one has the right to have individualised thoughts. Equality 7-2521’s thirst for knowledge helps him break out of these chains. His desire to learn leads him to branch out and explore new things, helping him form new individualised thoughts.
In Anthem by Ayn Rand, there are many uses of symbolism throughout the entire novel. Specifically, the quote (found on page 52) “The secrets of this earth are not for all men to see, but for those who will seek them.” is a great example of this. Equality 7-2521, a street curious street sweeper discovers a new way to create light and control electricity while working underground late at night. Equality then returns several times, experimenting and improving this newfound power.
Anthem Essay Equality 4-2521 in the book Anthem by Ayn Rand ensured his freedom and victory by concealing his find of the tunnel from the unmentionable times. There were many factors that fed into this victory such as stealing the manuscripts for the House of the Scholars, introducing his discoveries to the House of the Scholars, and choosing his own name later in the book. These ideas introduce a rebellion by Equality 4-2521 or later known as Prometheus that helps him break free from the communist society and shows him the great things that can be done as an individual and not as part of a whole. Also, Equality 4-2521 had conflicting emotions because he wanted to help his brothers but when he refused to tell the council about where he was when he arrived late to the House of the Street Sweepers and running into the forest for his own safety not for those of his ‘brothers’ he realized that the council was wrong.
Throughout Ayn Rand’s novel Anthem, numerous objects and occurrences symbolize much more than what they are presented as. Of the more obvious symbols, light has the largest impact on the course of the story. The most important instance of light centers around Equality 7-2521’s re-invention of the light bulb. Rand uses light to provide a religious, mythic feeling to the acts of Equality 7-2521 and how he symbolizes light himself. In a society where all men and women are one equal and single minded being; Equality 7-2521 becomes the lone source of individuality and a beacon of light to the people of this oppressed civilization.
Within his core, the essence of a man’s being remains encapsulated, serving as “a first cause, a fount of energy, a life force, [and] a Prime Mover” (“The Soul of an Individualist”). When the substance that constructs him is subdued, however, the flow of liquid creation that gushes from the fountain of innovation that empowers mankind dries up. In Ayn Rand’s novella Anthem, the quintessential society of the modern day is reversed, inevitably leading to the emergence of a darkened futuristic civilization where humans are forced to become masked shadows behind the cloak of an altruistic society. From the perspective of Equality 7-2521, the grapple between surrendering to conformity or rising to freedom takes place within himself, while he navigates through the lifeless state of his world. As he ventures beyond the boundaries of the incessant precepts implemented by his society, the elements that allow Equality to triumph over its standards are the development of his individual spirit and mind, which guide him toward the ideals of truth.
We live in a society in which conformity is not only encouraged but often rewarded. As my grandfather used to always say, “It’s the [penguin] who is different that gets left out in the cold.” Sure, many try to push the narrative that we ought to lead, and that being divergent is what makes one “special.” But while this may be true in a purely academic sense, socially, those who do not abide by unspoken norms are typically outcast as pariahs; they are considered the “undesirables.” As such, many teenagers change their personality by emulating others in attempt to gain acceptance into certain social cliques.
In the book Anthem their society is way different from ours. They are not allowed to be individual or say the word “I”. They can’t have names, instead they are in groups and have group names. They all have a part in society like their jobs and things they do. For example the equality group belong to the street sweepers.
How does a naive act of surrendering to a marshmallow affect the way a child succeeds? How does advancement in technology lead a person in jail? How does one live life normally after being abnormal his entire life? For example, Equality, in the dystopian fiction novelette Anthem by Ayn Rand, breaks rules of the totalitarian government by having individual thoughts and later eludes into another world of freedom and independence where he finds egoism and individualism. Similarly, in the non-fiction article “Who Holds the Clicker?” by Lauren Slater, Mario Grotta, an OCD patient has a clicker implanted into his brain which results in a normal life, finding his true self.
In the book Anthem by Ayn Rand takes place in the future at an unspecified date and place. The humans in Anthem live in a dystopian society where the word I is erased entirely. The current government they live under has a number of rules and regulations that if broken can get you killed in many ways. However why do these rules exist, What is their purpose and does the society that Equality envisions created at the end of the story would include any of these rules and controls?
Friedrich Ludwig Jahn said, “The secret of living in peace with all people lies in the art of understanding each one by his own individuality.” To find peace and live in harmony, people need to know and embrace each person’s individuality. Although the people in Anthem are supposed to be happy and peaceful, they are not permitted to have a sense of individualism. Ayn Rand’s novella Anthem illustrates the importance of each person in society having an individual identity to true peace and happiness. Rand expresses this philosophy through the main character Equality who discovers freedom and self-worth for himself.