Collectivism vs Individualism in Ayn Rand’s Anthem

2504 WordsJun 16, 201811 Pages
Ayn Rand’s Anthem is a politically satirical novel is set in a future society that is so highly collectivized that the word “I” has been banned. The world is governed by various councils who believe that man’s sole reason for existence is to enforce the Great Truth “that all men are one and that there is no will save the will of all men together” (Rand, 20). Any indication of an individual’s independent spirit is swiftly and brutally put down, with the transgressors being punished with severe prison sentences or even death. It is this dysfunctional world that Equality 7-2521 is born into. The novel begins with Equality 7-2521 alone in a dark tunnel transcribing his story. He begins with a declaration that “It is a sin to write this……show more content…
Yet, Equality 7-2521’s curiosity was piqued. He refused International 4-8818’s proposition that they report their discovery to the council. Equality 7-2521 writes that each night thereafter, when everyone else went to the theater to listen to mandatory collectivization propaganda, he would sneak off to the tunnel to experiment with materials that he stole from the House of Scholars. Equality 7-2521 tells us that through during his studies he discovered new secrets of nature which the scholars had never discovered. Equality 7-2521 conviction in the validity of his societies social values was crumbling. He reflects that “strange are the ways of evil… we are defying the will of our Councils” (Rand, 36) and that “never, not in the memory of the Ancient Ones’ Ancients, never have men done that which we are doing” (Rand, 37). He remarks with some astonishment that his activities caused him no feelings of guilt. He was shocked to realize that “in our heart there is the first peace we have known in twenty years” (Rand, 37). One day, when Equality 7-2521 was in a particularly good mood, he unknowingly began singing. When a Council member noticed him, he noted that “Indeed you are happy. How else can men be when they live for their brothers?” (Rand, 45) Equality 7-2521 reflects that in his society the fact that will of all men is good was considered axiomatic. Yet, Equality 7-2521 notes that most of the

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