Anthem by Ayn Rand

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Can you imagine what it would be like to be exactly the same as the man next to you? No standards or principles in life. No opportunities or freedom. No ambition or passion. This describes the society in Ayn Rand's novela Anthem. The people in the society have no will or desire to do anything in life, because they aren't going anywhere. Their jobs are determined by what they are assigned to do, not by what they are best suited for, or what they desire to do. In a society such as the one in Anthem, equality of men is most important, and everything else is secondary.

“We alone, of the thousands who walk this earth, we alone in this hour are doing a work which has no purpose save that we wish to do it.” (Rand 36) The people in this society have absolutely no reason to live for anything. They do not have any opportunities or goals in life. The people in this society live from day to day, doing exactly what is told of them to do. In Anthem, life is secondary to equality of men. In life as we know it, there are billions of people that inhabit the world. If everyone had no purpose to live their lives, the world would be very different. If no one really had any goals or aspirations there would be no new revelations.

“The hardest struggle of all is to be something different from what the average man is.” (Charles M. Schwab). In our world today some people feel that we should all be equals. But is that really what we want? If everyone was considered equal no one would be able to achieve anything beyond what anyone else was doing. The determination that some people possess is what helps the country, and maybe even the world, achieve better things. If everyone was equal then it would be even harder to achieve things to better the community. “Are we proud of this metal, or of our hands which made it, or is there a line to divide these two?” (Rand 61) The people in this society are equal in every way possible. They have no true feeling of any different emotion such as joy or sadness. They have no feeling of accomplishment in anything they do. They care for themselves the same way they would care for any other person or object. There is no line to divide the emotion they feel for anything they have created or even for themselves, who created it.

“Only the glass box in our arms is like a living heart that gives us strength.” (Rand 77) In Rand's novela Anthem, Equality 7-2521 creates a box of electricity. He created this box on his own, without the help and approval of any other men. He felt that this box could change the entire society. The excitement and joy that was instilled in him when he created this box gave him the strength to not only tell the House of Scholars about his discovery, but when the Scholars rejected him, it gave Equality 7-2521 the strength to leave the society and start a better life on his own. This shows that there is always a select few who will take a stand in what they believe in and know is right.

In Rand's novella Anthem, it shows what life would be like if we had a society that was all about equality of all men. Over time the world would turn into a place that has backtracked many years of discoveries and inventions that are suitable for the needs that people in the world have today. After reading the novel, an individual would see that equality may not be what this world needs. What this world today needs is the individuals who take a step beyond what everyone else is doing. Maybe if everyone in the world chose to be different and go beyond what the average person was doing, the world would be different today. Maybe it's not equality that the world needs, but more people who choose to be different, and take a step further





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