AP Lit Period 2
The novel Anthem, by Ayn Rand, tells of a world where individuals do not matter, where only the collective group matters. The protagonist, Equality 7-2521, slowly breaks away from this mindset and eventually flees society to live as an individual. Throughout the text, the repetition of light is used to symbolize the freedom and improvement that comes from an individual overcoming the bonds of society.
In the world of Anthem, it is illegal to “give men names which distinguish them from other men” (Rand 41). Despite this, Equality 7-2521 renames people a total of three times in the novel. His female companion, originally called Liberty 5-3000, is renamed to the Golden One. This name, which implies light, shows how Equality 7-2521 is freeing himself from the bonds society has placed on him and how he is improving his life by doing something against society, as naming her was one of the initial illegal acts that eventually caused him to leave society. Equality 7-2521 decides to shed his old name as well, and he begins to call himself Prometheus. Prometheus is known throughout Greek mythology as the bringer of light. Just as the original Prometheus freed men by stealing light from the gods and gave it to men to improve their lives, the new Prometheus, Equality 7-2521, frees himself and the Golden One from their old way of life.
Equality 7-2521 writes of the invention of “candles from wax and string” (Rand 24). The drastic amount of time it took to even approve the invention shows how little and slow things are improving for the society that Equality lives in. When he has the freedom to study on his own, however, he quickly recreates electrical light that is much brighter and more powerful than the candle. This mirrors