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The Secret of “I”

Satisfactory Essays
“A man’s ego is the fountainhead of human progress.” These words, spoken by Ayn Rand herself, showcase a theme that has led to the development of mankind since the dawn of time. In Rand’s novelette Anthem the character Equality lives in a collectivistic society which works to suppress any sense of individuality. Equality is not like the other inhabitants of the society. One day, he happens upon a connection to the Unmentionable Times, and he slakes his curiosity with various studies, nurturing his idiosyncrasies and leading to an outcome that is only dangerous for him and his community. The society squashes the people, who fear the self-determination involved with secrets, but Equality carries out his plan to show his glass box to the World Council of Scholars and defies the Council through symbolism, which greatly influences the overall theme and moral outcome of the novelette. To begin with, Equality experiences a realization that "the secrets of this earth are not for all men to see, but only for those who will seek them" (52). However, his fellow society members show apprehension towards the steps that they must take in order to achieve these secrets. Consequently, Equality steals multiple items from the community in order to further his learning, including equipment from various Houses.With the aforementioned equipment, he sets up a laboratory in the sewer and studies many sciences and other topics. Through the manuscripts, he realizes that much of what he was taught in school is actually incorrect, outdated information. Equality states, “Two years have passed since we found this place. And in these two years, we have learned more than we had learned in the ten years of the Home of the Students" (35). None of Equality’s frie... ... middle of paper ... ...gain, and through the unveiling of his invention, he represents a rebel whose cause is autonomy whilst expressing objectivism, the ultimate purpose of Rand’s novelette. Neale Donald Walsch, an author, verbalized objectivism as well, saying, “There is no truth except the truth that exists within you,” and, “Do what you do for the sheer joy of it. Do what you choose, not what someone else chooses for you.” Throughout this keystone piece of literature, Equality embodies these mottos. Rand’s belief that mankind accredits its progress to its ego makes it apparent that one must embrace themselves and their wishes in order to obtain triumphs. Reality, reason, and the paramount importance of man’s own happiness are what guide a person through life, and only by detaching oneself from the confines of collectivism will they achieve the true gratification that life has to offer.
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