Theme, considerably the most important part of a novel, is the author's tool to convey her ideas and message. Ayn Rand fills her novel, Anthem, with many themes commenting on societal problems. She observes many trends towards collectivism, which stifles individual thought and action. A major theme presented in Anthem is the strength and importance of individuality. It is the sum of characteristics in each person that sets them apart from others. Rand shows individuality as a sense of power, with the potential to overcome the shackles of solidarity.
The society portrayed in Anthem is a completely unified one; unified in all opinions and reasoning. It is based on the principles of solidarity. Outside of the mandated one, no other thought processes are allowed. People are assigned jobs to which they cannot protest, removing the luxury of choosing an enjoyable job. Individuals are not allowed personal goals, rather the good of the entire society is the collective goal.
People in this society do not work towards their own happiness. They work only for what is taught to be the common happiness. True pleasures of life are not allowed. Since they do not see personal benefits and fulfillment from their work, they lack enthusiasm and personal initiative. It is as though everybody has been brainwashed to one collective way. The people consider themselves as one body. Though collectivisim may have certain benefits, in Anthem it is taken to a dangerous extreme. Their collective society has nearly wiped out any traces of the individual. For example thoughts or opinions that are different from your brother are the root of evil. People are executed for referring to themselves singularly rather than collectively.
The main character is a man, Equality 7-2521. Throughout his life he has known only one society, one run by...