Recognition of Individuality in Anthem

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Recognition of Individuality in Anthem In Anthem, a collectivist dictatorship keeps its members subjugated by using force and constant indoctrination. The hero of Anthem, Prometheus, struggles with the ideals of the collectivist society because his values are not in accord with them. Ultimately, Prometheus is able to free himself from collectivism by understanding the falseness of its premise. At the crudest level, the collectivist dictatorship is able to maintain power and control over its subjects by the use of force. Disobedient members can be sent to the Palace of Corrective Detention and lashed, as is the case with Prometheus, or, for extreme infringements, can be burned alive like the Transgressor of the Unspeakable Word. The wielding of such brutal force helps the dictatorship uphold its authority. The dictatorship also manages to keep its subjects in line through brainwashing. As Prometheus writes, "Everything which comes from the many is good. Everything which comes from the one is evil. Thus have we been taught with our first breath." Also, as children, the ruled are forced to recite, "By the grace of our brothers are we allowed our lives. We exist through, by and for our brothers," meaning that the only moral justification they have for living is service. By imbuing each subject with the moral premise that the "many" is always good and the "one" is always bad, the dictatorship manages to virtually eliminate any thought of opposition. In opposing the dictatorship, one is opposing the will of all people with one's singular will, and thus is evil. The moral creed that the dictatorship inculcates gives it a moral s... ... middle of paper ... ...; The metaphysical basis of collectivism is, "There are no men but only the great WE." The moral basis is, "We exist through, by and for our brothers." The implication is that things that exist have the right to exist, and things that do not exist have no right. Since only "we" exists and not individual men, individual men do not have the right for themselves. Prometheus comes to understand, however, through the word "I" that individuals do exist, and thus have a right to live for themselves, to take pleasure in things essentially self-centered and self-serving. The collectivist dictatorship in Anthem has a strong moral grip on its subjects. The hero Prometheus is able to break that grip through his devotion to his own happiness and finally through his recognition of the existence of individuality.

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