The word collectivism often makes people cringe. Overall, there is a general fear of not being able to make personal decisions in America. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, collectivism can be defined as; emphasis on collective rather than individual action or identity (“Collectivism”). In Anthem, Ayn Rand describes an extreme collectivist society. Although Anthem’s society seems extremely surreal, aspects of its collectivist society closely mirror today’s society.
In the beginning of Anthem, we the audience, have a tough time understanding what the author means by “we” and “they”. Soon, it becomes clear that these are the words the main character, Equality, uses to refer to himself, and other people. This in itself is a major theme throughout this book.
Anthem written by Ayn Rand is a unique piece of writing. Rand is a different individual she has her own thought on things, grew up in Russia, and taught herself how to read and write at the age of six. In the book Anthem the main character is Equality he is a boy that lives in an extremely strict society that resembles a communistic society. Although Equality is brilliant and brave he is not allowed to have his own thoughts or his own ideas about things as they are to be selfless. Equality recognizes that he has investigated a big discovery which could change his life, but he is going against the laws of the society and what he believes in order to examine it thoroughly he is willing to risk his life. For a boy that is so eager to seek the truth, in which completely changes his aspect of life. Equality is a dynamic character throughout Anthem, he believes it is a sin to be writing this novel because of what he has been taught the majority of his life until he recognizes the truth that he has been searching for.
“He who loses individuality, loses all” (Good Reads, 2012). This quote said by Mahatma Gandhi, one of the most recognized leaders of the 19th century, can easily be used to acknowledge the importance of a society possessing unique individualistic traits and characteristics as individuality is the fuel needed to run a society. In a world, where even a mere speck of individuality is not present, that society is likely to shatter into utter destruction. Moreover, individuals should possess the ability to embrace their own uniqueness through which they will have the ability to understand distinctive phrases such as that said by William Channing, “no one should part with their individuality and become that of another”. The concept of individuality being vital to society is explored within Caitlin Tom’s essay Individuality vs. Fitting in, the American novel Little Women by Louisa Alcott, and the romantic yet empowering dramatic film Jane Eyre. The concept presented in these three works portrays how it the essence of individuality is a fundamental component for society as it aids with the recognition of societal barriers, allows the ability to empower change, and permits appreciation of the invoked change.
In Ayn Rand’s famous, or in some circles, infamous, story Anthem, the differing ideologies of objectivism and collectivism are pit against each other. With objectivism being so tight knit and different from the society in the book, it seems that it would be almost impossible to truly follow in its entirety. However, Anthem, as a whole, doesn’t violate the ideals of Rand’s philosophy of objectivism.
The Shade of Oppression Why can a plant not grow in the shade? When a population is kept in the dark, no progress is made. One example of a community kept in ignorance is from the novella Anthem by Ayn Rand, a place where there is total control by the government. This technology deprived world insinuates that science and technology can spur rebellion, division, and change, showing that technological progress develops from the freedom of oppression. To begin with, the knowledge of new information from science can spur rebellion among the citizens, insinuated by the tight control shown in the novella.
“Our uniqueness, our individuality, and our life experience molds us into fascinating beings. I hope we can embrace that. I pray we may all challenge ourselves to delve into the deepest resources of our hearts to cultivate an atmosphere of understanding, acceptance, tolerance, and compassion. We are all in this life together.” -Linda Thompson. In the Novel Anthem by Ayn Rand, the main character Equality 7-2521 (later known as Prometheus), documents his story of his discovery of the word “I”. He later writes his anthem about how individuality and uniqueness are the most important attributes to mankind, he shows this when he writes, “I am done with the monster of ‘We,’ the word of serfdome, of plunder,
Throughout life, you are faced with everyday conflicts; getting cut from soccer tryouts, not receiving the grade you wanted on a biology test, arguing with your siblings, etc. Equality 7-2521 was faced with conflicts as well; however, to a more extreme level. Several external conflicts throughout Ayn Rand’s Anthem, shape Equality’s character. The controlling factors of Equality’s society, that lead to several conflicts, prevented him from sharing his intelligence, choosing and communicating with others and venturing outside the city walls.
What is Ego? The definition of ego is “ a person's sense of self-esteem or self-importance”. In today’s society, the word is relevantly negative connotations such as self-absorbed, cocky and narcissistic. In Ayn Rand's Anthem, their dystopian society conflicts with ego because they want everyone to be “equal”. The main character, Prometheus has a difficult time fitting into their society. After realizing how different he is through trials and tribulations, he sets out to find the meaning of ego. By rebelling against society and finding his own happiness, he demonstrates being an Egoist is a good thing.
As one reads Ayn Rand’s significant quotes from the story of anthem, there is always a main theme that is trying to escape, just as Prometheus escaped in her story. All three of the listed quotes work as a trio to sing that We; as society, works to defeat individuality. The quotes emphasize that we cannot survive without individualism and being alone brings out our unique personalities. It is true that all the quotes work as one, but at the same time they have their own individualism. Each quote holds a purpose of its own and the author wants to express the quote to each persons understanding.