Anthem Analysis Essay

Essay by smalster10A, July 2008

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In a collectivist society all individuality is rejected. There is no use of the word “I” and there are no preferences of one thing over another. Everyone follows the same rules and thinks in the same way. Everyone, that is, except for Equality 7-2521. He was raised just like everyone else was, but soon comes to realize that he was born with a curse. He has preferences, questions his society, and thinks of himself as an individual, all of which violate the laws on which his society is based.

“It is a sin to write this. It is a sin to think words no others think and to put them down upon a paper no others are to see.” (Chapter 1) Equality writes this in his journal at the beginning of the book as he sits alone in a dark empty tunnel. In his journal he explains his life in the society in which he breaks many of the laws that he thinks are unjust.

He does not think of himself as being part of the society as a whole, but only as an individual; one single person. He does not follow the society’s rules nor does he think the way that everyone else does. Not only does Equality think differently, he also looks different too. He is six feet tall. This puts a burden on him because not many of his brothers are that tall, and that makes him stand out compared to everyone else. In his society individualism is eliminated as much as possible. Everyone looks and dresses the same and there is not much variety from one person to the next. Everyday comes with the same routines which include merely eating and doing a specific job that you are assigned.

Equality’s life mandate was to be a street sweeper. Your life mandate gets chosen for you by the Council of Vocations when you are 15 years old; it is what you will do for the rest of your life until you reach the age of 40. One day, while working outside, Equality notices a girl working in the fields. Her name was Liberty 5-3000, this is the girl who he instantly falls in love with. She is different than all the other women with her flowing blonde hair and dark bold eyes, she stood out to Equality. They seemed to have something in common because they were attracted to one another, but according to the laws, women are forbidden to take notice of men, and men are forbidden to take notice of women. Maybe she was born with the same curse that Equality was. He has the transgression of preference which means that he prefers certain things over others; he has friends and has a physical attraction to girls such as Liberty which he names the Golden One. He ends up escaping to the Uncharted Forest just outside the city. When he gets there he is surprised at what it is not. He had always heard that anyone who enters never comes back; he assumed that they died and were eaten up by beasts. He realizes that there are no rules like the ones outside the forest. This is a whole new life for him because the way of living in his old society was the only thing he had ever known. Equality never thought there was anything else beyond where he was living because those kinds of things were never questioned. In the forest he could do as he pleased without getting punished. Equality is overjoyed that he didn’t have to wake up to the sound of the morning bell; he could lie around all day as long as he wanted. He also took pride in eating mainly because he felt great satisfaction in finding his own food to eat. He was not the only one in the forest; the Golden One had followed him there.

After living in the forest they discovered the greatest thing. They had found a new life in which they understood the word “I” and the individuality that it shows. They broke away from the laws of their society. Almost everything they did now, goes against what they had learned was the right way to live. “There is no danger in solitude. We have no need for our brothers” Said Equality to the Golden One. (Rand 94) He has no fear of being an individual and standing out as one single person. Just outside the forest they discovered a house that was lived in during the unmentionable times. They decide to live in it and spend the rest of their lives there together in happiness. While searching through the house Equality comes across some Greek literature where he finds the names that he will call himself and the Golden One. This shows that he doesn’t believe in collectivism, he believes that people should be individuals and not have everyone thought of as many people acting as one. At the beginning of the book, in his journal it says, “It is a sin to write this…” He is writing about his life and how he violated all the laws that his society ran on. His major sin was that he discovered and understood the unmentionable word, ego, and put it to use in his daily life. His eventual assessment of his sin would be that he does not think of it as a sin at all. He thinks that this is the right way for him to live and there is no one who can stop him from doing it.

Equality was born into a society where he did not really belong. He was different in the fact that he liked being alone, always wanted to learn more and had different thoughts than all his surrounding brothers. He later finds out that he was born differently and needed a place to live in which he did not have to follow rules that he did not believe in. When he leaves the society he finds a whole new life where individuality can be part of it, and where he does not fear what others will think of him because of his transgression and difference amongst all the people.

Bibliography- "Anthem" by Ayn Rand