Equality’s Growth from Zero to Hero in “Anthem” by Ayn Rand
Imagine a world where everything and everyone is the same, a world where there is no freedom to make your own visions or live your own decisions. This is the cruel reality of Equality. Anthem is dystopian novel written by Ayn Rand which teaches the importance of individuality and self-deficiency. “Simple” It takes place in the distant future where mankind seems to have entered into a dark age. When a man named Equality breaks the most forbidden law. Equality begins as guilty, but after a stage of hopelessness, he becomes, self-assured, which reflects Rand’s message about individuality.
At the beginning of Anthem, Equality is a character who is guilty and curious. He is speaking to himself in a cave saying “…there is no transgression blacker than to do or think alone…may we be forgiven”. Equality’s guilt emerges through Rand’s diction. Equality’s choice of the words “transgression” and “forgiven” indicates a sense of guilt so deep that it is nearly a religious experience. In addition, his imagery describing his sins as “black” displays the deep bleakness he has within his soul. Furthermore, Equality is curios. As Equality was finishing work as a Street Sweeper, he discovers a tunnel. Trying to induce International to go in, he says, “‘We shall go down,’ we said to International 4-8818…‘It is forbidden,’ they answered… But we said: ‘We shall go, nonetheless’”. Readers can easily recognize Equality’s curiosity in this portion of the text because of International’s use of a short and direct response indicates a sense of urgency and concern towards Equality’s decision to go against the law. In addition, Equality’s repetition of the words “we shall go” indicated his determination as well as a small sense of rebellion against the council’s rules. Instead of cowering away from this new discovery, Equality dismisses all the rules and goes to explore the tunnel. Creating Equality with guilt and curiosity in the beginning of the novel is making way for Equality’s transformation into an individual and to break out from the barrier that is his society.
As Equality develops he begins to show traits of hopelessness and protectiveness. As Equality reflects on his childhood, he realizes that he’s always been different. Dreading that fact he says, “We were born with a curse… we know we are evil, but there is no will in us and no power to resist it”. Readers can easily recognize Equality’s hopelessness in this portion of the text because of Equality’s choice of the words “curse” and “evil” to describe his differences indicates a deep sense of hopelessness. Moreover, he is wretched enough to say “there is no will in us”, as though he has given up and accepted that he may never be like everyone else. Furthermore, Equality is protective. Equality is sitting alone in the tunnel, when he discovers the power of electricity. “Complex” In fear that the council will take it away from him, Equality states, “Now let us be lashed for it, if we must”. In times of trouble, Equality became persistent and was completely devoted to keeping his discovery safe from anyone who might take it away from him. In addition, Equality even goes to the lengths of saying “let us be lashed” indicating that he is willing to get punished if it means his discovery can be protected. Equality develops traits of hopelessness and protectiveness can reflect how even in a society where all hope for a future is lost, Equality is still willing to protect anything that he holds dear to when it comes the time to face the council.
By the end of the novel, Equality is self-assured and ambitious. After Equality discovers the word “I”, he realizes that he doesn’t have to follow the rules of the council, but to decide for himself. He says, “This miracle of me is mine to own and keep, and mine to guard, and mine to use, and mine to kneel before”. Equality’s repetition of the word “mine” indicates that he is no longer in the possession of his society. He goes on to say that he is his own person and will choose to follow himself. Furthermore, Equality is ambitious. Equality has been reading ancient books and now knows what he must do in the world. He says, “…I shall rebuild the achievements of the past, and open the way to carry them achievements further, the achievements which are open to me, but closed to my brothers…”. Now that Equality has found his life purpose, he wishes to expand his knowledge so he can rebuild his society into a more developed, independent utopia. In addition, the repetition of the word “achievements” indicates that Equality’s modern society advancements are nothing compare to what was use in the past, so Equality believes that he needs to help the society get on track towards a brighter future. By this point of the novel, Equality has become a fully independent individual displaying traits of self-assurance and ambition. In contrast to his anxious and insecure personality in the beginning of the novel, Equality is now confident and self-reliant, free to think for himself and to make his own decisions.
Equality begins as a guilty and transforms into a self-assured individual who will be ambitious, which illustrates Rand’s philosophy of objectivism. Rand created the book to teach the readers about individuality, and how to be independent. In a world where we all have to look out for ourselves to survive, Rand’s philosophy about objectivism tells of an individual who can. When men are all looking out for himself, how can they grow as a community, and become more resilient knowing that someone has their back.
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