Sense Of Morality In Ayn Rand's Anthem

1397 Words 6 Pages
A collectivist society seeks to control one's individual independence by forcing everyone to be equal to each other in all aspects. In Ayn Rand’s novella Anthem, Rand uses Equality’s sense of morality to depict how individuality has more significance than the collectivism displayed in the society he was born into. In this society, it is portrayed as where one has to lower their level of intelligence and potential in order to meet the standards the government holds. Equality struggles with accepting that he is different than the others that are seen in his world as ideal. As the story progresses, Equality’s guilt-ridden tone of his own individual traits shifts into something more self-aware. His view of life then changes as he becomes more confident …show more content…
Once he meets the Council and presents them with the lightbulb, his own discovery, they dismiss it. He harbors resentment for how they disgraced his ideas. Equality shrieks, “You fools! You thrice-damned fools!” (Anthem 75). Equality’s anger emphasizes the immense pride he has in his own intelligence, as he believed he was doing good by showing them his groundbreaking invention but once they reject it, he calls them fools rather than feeling ashamed. His tone then shifts from idolization of the Scholars to disgust at their short-sightedness. Equality’s original purpose then begins to change, as before he wished to share his discovery with his brothers, but after being ridiculed for his ideas Equality keeps the electricity to himself, a taboo in his society. This act demonstrates how Equality is evolving from the society’s ideologies. However, even when Equality is exiled, he is content with his own work. As Rand writes in The Virtue of Selfishness, “The moral purpose of a man's life is the achievement of his own happiness” (“Selfishness”). Equality accepts the idea that what he is doing is the best choice for himself. When Equality is exiled, he keeps the invention and openly shows his selfishness and …show more content…
After he leaves, he finds himself alone and relieved he could be in a place where he didn’t have to be equal to everyone else. He discovers the word “I,” and after using this word Equality does not feel guilt or shame but feels invigorated. This becomes the final straw in Equality’s defecting from his previous life of collectivism; once he uses that word to address himself, he deems himself as a single person rather than a group. At this point, he has forsaken all taboos in his previous society by allowing himself and Liberty to pursue a relationship. Once Liberty arrives, Equality sees he has someone he can be alone with, an act his past brothers would deem indecent. Equality and Liberty find a home and a means of survival. The clothes he finds in the house represent individualism as a whole with each item of clothing being different from the rest rather than a single color or fabric. After Equality settles in to his new life, he discovers manuscripts from the Unmentionable Times. As he goes further into his readings, he discovers what being an individual was truly like and he begins to follow their example. Equality even gives himself a name to emphasize himself as an single person rather than part of a mass. The name Prometheus was used not only to symbolize Equality as an under appreciated intellectual but to hold the fact that it

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