The Concept of Ego in Anthem, Life of Pi, Girl in Hyacinth Blue, and Julius Caesar

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Ego, a sense of self, is a conflict that all characters must face in many different genres and literatures. Many people have their own definition of what ego means, however, www.dictionary.com defines ego as the “I or self of any person; a person as thinking, feeling, or willing, and distinguishing itself from the selves of others and from objects of its thought. Many authors use ego as a central theme because it can easily be related to the reader and the audience. Throughout our world today many define others as having an alter ego or a superego. As I grew up I learned that having an ego meant to be yourself, that is how I know to live my life. It is important for us not to fully depend on others, but to have confidence within ourselves. Our society is very unique about our actions, finding our sense of self is difficult because of the changing perspective in the world. Ego is shown through the society, being an individual, and looking towards others for guidance. In the novels Anthem, Life of Pi, Girl in Hyacinth Blue and the play Julius Caesar, along with the essay of Self – Reliance, all similar, but different in the same way, the authors each explore the concept of ego; ultimately, they argue that you can’t have freedom unless you know who your real self is.

Anthem, by Ayn Rand, is a novel written to pursue the theme of ego that is based upon Rand’s beliefs of objectivism, which gives high honors to the self. Through showing her beliefs, Rand describes the society of limited technology and no advancements due to the high percentage of individuality among the citizens. All of their life, they are taught to live for the “we,” not knowing that they are individuals who need to learn to live for themselves. “Our name is Equality 7-2521, as it is written on the iron bracelet which all men wear on their left wrists with their names upon it” (Rand, 18). As a whole society they are treated for the “we” and the individuals that they are. These unusual names of the characters strike the major theme of Anthem. Since the people of the society had no concept of individuality, they could not have individual names, only numbers. Some names represented good, and others were just hypocritical to the society. “Liberty 5-3000,” may have symbolized liberty among the citizens, but on the other hand, “Equality 7-2521,” might mean the equality among average men. Equality 7-2521, the protagonist, struggles himself within the society. He tried to fulfill the laws of the society, but his professions as a street sweeper made him hold in his passion of science. “We loved the Science of Things. And in the darkness, in the secret hour, when we awoke in the night and there were no brothers around us… and we thought that we wished to be sent to the Home of the Scholars when our time would come” (Rand, 23). While street sweeping one day, Equality 7-2521 finds a part of him that had been missing for some time now. While Equality is living in a forest he finds a sense of freedom that allows him to speak of the word “I.” Later on, after discovering his sense of self, he began to rebuild the society from the “Unmentionable Times” to a society where freedom was opened to all. “And yet there is no shame in us and no regret. We say to ourselves that we are a wretch and a traitor. But we feel no burden upon our spirit and no fear in our heart. And it seems to us that out spirit is clear as a lake troubled by no eyes save those of the sun. And in our heart – strange are the ways of evil! – in our heart there is the first peace we have known in twenty years” (Rand, 37). Perhaps what the situation is, it could take a couple of years, or even a lifetime to find your true ego that represents you. Through Rand’s book Anthem, she expresses that ego is important because without self you cannot live life to the fullest.

Life of Pi, a novel by Yann Martel, has a different way of expressing the concept of ego. Between two similar and different stories, Pi is...
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