Feminism in Anthem
Throughout history, women have been brushed aside as the inferiors of men. From the time of the Greeks to the modern day world, men have been the dominant beings. Mary Astell, an English feminist writer, says, “If all men are born free, how is it that all women are born slaves?” She questions the societal norm of women in predetermined constrictive roles. This theme of a submissive and obedient female pervades many literary works, specifically those by Ayn Rand. Rand’s portrayal of women in her novel Anthem further drives the female into a position of inferiority. The descriptions and labels applied to Liberty are Rand’s way of demonstrating man’s dominance over women. A person’s name is their identity. When someone is given a name, it gives them an identity to become. Equality renames Liberty two different times. First, he names her “the Golden One” (41), and then when they are in their new home, “Gaea...the mother of a new kind of gods” (99). By renaming Liberty, Equality shows that men can obliterate and redetermine a woman’s entire identity and life purpose. When Equality spots Liberty for the first time, he describes her appearance: Their body was straight and thin as a blade of iron. Their eyes were dark and hard and glowing, with no fear in them, no kindness and no guilt. Their hair was golden as the sun; their hair flew in the wind, shining and wild, as if it defied men to restrain it. They threw seeds from their hand as if they deigned to fling a scornful gift, and the earth was as a beggar under their feet. (38-39) Ironically, Equality says that her hair “defied men to restrain it,” but by changing her name, he actually restrains her. This passage also describes Liberty only by her physical characteristics. Throughout the novel Equality never writes anything about her personality or her intellectual capabilities, which shows that all he values is her beauty.
Rand demonstrates her view on the role of women and how they should act...
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