Analysis: Anthem

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Imagine if there was no electricity, no computers, no cars, no smart phones. What if there was no “I” or “you,” or anything that allowed people to stand out from one another? In the novel Anthem, Ayn Rand creates a dystopia that is true of all those things, but still proves that liberation and hope can be found among the suffering and despair. She is able to do this through the actions and thoughts of the main character, Equality 7-2521, when he finally realizes society is not what it seems to be and manages to escape; when he thinks that he is lost forever but is able to learn about the things that he has been missing out on, and when he leaves the audience with a glimmer of hope because he makes them aware of his plans to return and save society before it really is too late. Equality 7-2521 is not like the rest of his “brothers”—he is smarter, taller, and better looking⎯which the other boys, teachers, even authorities did not like. When Equality 7-2521 finds an abandoned tunnel with his friend International 4-8818, Equality ignores the fact that exploring and keeping the tunnel a secret is forbidden, and it becomes a place where he sneaks off to often. During the time that he is in the tunnel, he discovers the power of electricity and how to make a light bulb work, and writes in his journal that he is in fact smarter than the Council of Scholars, something which is “impossible” in this society. When the World Council of Scholars meeting is set to be held in Equality’s city, he decides that he is going to go before the Council and show them his invention, expecting praise and to be admitted to the Home of the Scholars. Instead he is bashed and threatened because the World Council says that things have to be achieved collectively to be considered good, and something not thought by all men cannot be true. He then grabs his invention, realizing that he can never win in this society, and starts running as fast as his legs will carry him. As he is running out of the...
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