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Anthem by Ayn Rand

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Diversity and individuality are words that society continues to have in its fierce choke-hold. Struggles with these two concepts didn’t just arise; they have been issues for hundreds and hundreds of years. The Jews struggled with Christianity, the English settlers conflicted with the Native Americans; the Caucasian Americans downgraded African Americans; the Germans loathed the Jews; democracies butt heads with dictatorships; and the clash of the Jewish Israelites and the Muslim Palestinians continues. The road of all these radical conflicts lead to the same issue: diversity. Overcoming diversity can be challenging, horrifying, and momentous. Almost everyone struggles with being diverse at some point or another, when at times hope becomes a fragment in one’s life. Anthem, an intense, eye opening novel by Ayn Rand, can bestow hope in one, can make one feel as if one is not alone in the world, and can inspire one to rise to the top and overcome any obstacle that may obstruct the achievement of one’s goal.


Anthem implicates the message of how imperative, inevitable, and marvelous diversity and individuality truly are. Rand does this through the life, the struggles, and the achievements of the main character, Equality 7-2521. Equality must triumph over many trivial barriers society has placed in front of him, and he must learn to embrace his individuality on his own. He is perplexed as he must decipher what is right and wrong in the midst of finding who he truly is and the man who he is meant to become. Rand tries to aid her audience while telling the tale, in the hopes of assisting the readers in establishing who they truly are. Her crucial message is portrayed through regenerative struggles, mind opening words, and intuitive quotes throughout the narrative.


One such quote is, “To be free a man must be free of his brothers” (Chapter 12). When this is stated in Chapter Twelve, he also says, “That is freedom. This and nothing else” (Chapter 12). In Anthem’s society, freedom is being who you truly are because they are told what to ponder, what to do, and who to be. Being one’s self is a rare courageous choice made be Equality, this courage is something that develops throughout the narrative. The quotes by Ayn Rand mean that before one can become the person within and be happy with oneself, one must not let fellow man tie one down. Breaking lose from those shackles requires one to not care what the rest of humanity thinks, letting only one’s opinion be one’s guide. “To be free from one’s brothers” also requires one to stray from the pack, and to take action for what one wants and what one believes to be the right decision (Chapter 12). Sometimes this means standing alone and being ridiculed and not allowing anything to sway or make alterations to one’s stance.


Another insightful quote Rand uses in the context of Anthem is, “It is the mind which thinks, and the judgment of my mind is the only searchlight that can find the truth” (Chapter 11). Judgment is the device one uses to make vital, life-altering decisions. Therefore, it assists in defining one’s character. One’s “searchlight,” or judgment, is what helps one decipher the difference between right and wrong. One’s judgment in the long run helps one distinguish and establish one’s character. Only one’s “searchlight” can find the real “truth.”


“And we thought that we could trust this being who looked upon us from the stream, and that we had nothing to fear with this being” is spoken courageously in Chapter Eight by Equality himself (Chapter 8). In that moment, when Equality first sees his reflection, he breaks away from the pack and finally discovers who he genuinely is. When he sees his face he becomes comfortable with his skin and the man who he has evolved into. Equality has confidence in himself and he begins to embrace who he is meant to be.


Throughout Anthem, Ayn Rand teaches the importance of being oneself and how to show one’s true colors, even when one is the only person willing to embrace that diversity and individuality. The novel enlightens its readers by reassuring them that being diverse is not something to be ashamed of, but a characteristic to be celebrated. The tale Ayn Rand tells is an inspirational, relevant, encouraging piece of fiction that demonstrates courage, integrity, and self-love. As the sun will surely set, as winter fades away, as sure as each beginning has an end, future societies will continue to challenge diversity and individuality in every aspect. Thankfully, the world has Ayn Rand’s book to reflect on, to rely upon, and learn from, as the words on those pages continue to salvage the lives of many.



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