The Ego In Ayn Rand's Anthem

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Ego, a word that has been despised for centuries. It denotes self-absorption, narcissism, and being “stuck up”. It is assumed that people with an ego are very antagonistic and always looking to put others down. While ego may have a negative connotation, it is actually an intrinsic characteristic that allows no two human beings to be completely alike. Ego was motivation for the protagonist of Ayn Rand’s Anthem. Having an ego is not a bad or evil thing. It allows you to be different, to make choices, and to stand up for yourself. In Ayn Rand’s dystopian novel, Anthem, the futuristic society has removed the concept of individualism. However, one of the citizens, Equality 7-2521, is different. While he conforms to the societal rules, he thinks…show more content…
Without an ego, men would just be blown with the winds of peer pressure. The basic values of life, liberty, and property would be non-existent. No one could trust anyone as they would just change in the blink of an eye. “Our body was not like the bodies of our brothers, for our limbs were straight and thin and hard and strong. And we thought we could trust this being who looked upon us from the stream, and that we had nothing to fear with this being” (Rand 80). In the quote, Prometheus has just been banished from his civilization because he thought for himself. Expressed perfectly in the quote is how men having egos allows for trust and bonds to occur. The issue is that people who have an ego and are vocal about it are considered selfish. This is not true. In Ayn Rand’s “The Soul of an Individualist”, the protagonist, Howard Roark, is talking about being an individual. He is also talking about having an ego. “No creator was prompted by a desire to serve his brothers, for his brothers rejected the gift he offered and that gift destroyed the slothful routine of their lives. His truth was his only motive. His own truth, and his own work to achieve it in his own way.” Through Howard Roark, Ayn Rand is stating that men are motivated by their egos to achieve and discover and that most of the time these achievements and discoveries are discounted because of the motivational
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