The Story of Equality in Ayn Rand's Anthem
Equality is brave, a leader, and is ready, ready to start a new life in paradise with Liberty.
Ayn Rand, the author of Anthem, created Equality, a diamond in the rough in a collectivist society. He longs to learn and be a scholar in the Council of Scholars, but is instead shut down and becomes a street sweeper. He then meets Liberty, a peasant girl whom he soon falls in love with. Equality finds a tunnel and spends every day in the tunnel conducting experiments. He soon discovers electricity and invents a lightbulb. He shows the World Council, but they reject it with fear and anger and demand it to be destroyed. Equality rejects, and flees the city and into the Uncharted Forest, where he soon discovers that he is free and can do anything he wants. A few days later Liberty shows up, she has followed Equality into the woods. They vow to live together in peace and solitude. After a couple of days, they both find a house from the Unmentionable Times. The house contains a library, in which Equality consumes. He discovers the meaning of the word “I,” and he vows to protect his home and from there start using the word “I” to support individualism. Equality is symbolic of someone who is trying to start a new life.
Equality is brave because he tells Liberty he has given her a new name, even though “such thoughts are forbidden…”. This shows that he is willing to get in trouble for Liberty and sacrifice his life for her as well. “ ‘We have given you a name in our thoughts, Liberty 5-3000.’ ‘What is our name?’ they asked. ‘The Golden One.’ ”. This is value of identity because Equality is making his own decisions to direct his life.
Equality is a leader because he leaves the city and goes into the Uncharted Forest alone. To his surprise, a few days later, Liberty follows him into the Forest. This shows his actions in the city have helped persuade Liberty to leave the city as well. “ ‘We have followed you,’ they said, ‘and we shall follow you wherever you go. If danger threatens you, we shall face it also. If it be death, we shall die with you. You are damned, and we wish to share your damnation.’ ”. This is also another example of value of identity because Equality has guided Liberty into following him into the Forest because of his actions.
Equality is ready, ready to start over, ready to start a new society, and ready to start a family. Liberty is pregnant with his son, and Equality wants him to “say the word ‘I’ and bear the pride of it.”. Equality has finally completely broken free from his society and has fathered a new generation, which is represented by his new name, Prometheus.
Ayn Rand wanted us to point out the dangers of a collectivist society that discouraged and persecuted individualism. Thus, she wrote Anthem after leaving Russia because of its growth in communism in the early 1920’s. What the reader has learned in this novel is that it is okay to be different. Differences make us who we are today. If we were all the same, there would be no creativity or originality. We would end up like the characters in Anthem. English helps keep creativity and originality by assigning papers on novels like this. There are infinite solutions in English, and if you can back it up with evidence, you have an answer. Equality is different, different than everyone in his society. However, in our society, he’s normal. He’s the definition of unique, something everyone wants to be.
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