Anthem Essay

/ 11 December 2007

Here’s an essay I’ve written based on the book “Anthem” by Ayn Rand. It was written off of a set of questions that I was required to answer. The essay is in the extended body of this blog post. Enjoy, Alex

With the exception of a few people in this society (mainly Equality 7-2521 and the Saint of the Pyre) there is literally no opposition to the leaders. Given how our society works none of us can easily see how this is possible. But, it was, and mostly because they knew of nothing else. None of them understand what the society we live in could be like. They’re all obedient to the leader’s bidding because of a few different aspects of their life. They’re born and go immediately away from their biological parents and live alongside the others of their same age and grow up unaware of where they came from. At the age of 4 they’re taken to school until they reach the age of 14. At that age their given the job that they’ll need to do for the rest of their life. They live with those who do the same job and at the age of 21 (men) or 17 (woman) they go to the mating councils and give birth to kids whom are back at the start of this circle. It’s because of this circle of life that they’re obedient. They know nothing else, so to them it’s not obedience, just simple life. To us that seems odd, but in this story the future acts like the past. The drudgery that their work is can be explained a lot the same way. Naturally if you know nothing else then you can’t see it as an issue as we who review and study this society do. The work is done in pairs, yet it’s still painfully hard and boring. This was set by the councils on basis of every man and women is required to do work for others and not just for themselves. That builds the base of why Equality 7-2521 shouldn’t have been inventing the light (he was doing it alone even though it was for all of mankind). Overall their work is based on history (to them) and the high councils try hard to lock each man and woman into jibs that fit their profiles. Fear isn’t among their lives simply because they (again) know nothing else. Generally fear is among all of our lives, but as they knew nothing else it is a no-brainer that though it’s part of their lives they don’t notice it as much. They do when it comes to the punishments and rules/ laws, but their daily work in fact forces them to be fearless. The society knows fear as the council’s bidding based on the cruel punishments they have imposed. Other than that fear is almost non-existent in this society. All of these reasons don’t apply to Equality 7-2521 or the Saint of the Pyre. They, like few others, still hold the hunan qualities of the Unmentionable Times and thus can’t be fully bound by the strongholds that the councils imposed on the society as a whole. Proof of this difference comes in the form of the speaking of the Unspeakable Word (Ego) from the Saint of the Pyre, and the individuality wrapped around the creation of the electric light that Equality 7-2521 made and proposed to the council of scholars. With that said you know that the center of the story was connected to the undoing of these very bindings of obedience, drudgery, and fear. The whole society is based off of this set of requirements that some decided to impose when starting a new human age. Remnants of the age we live in were still around and Equality 7-2521 found these at the end of the story and lived in the rest of his life. We can only assume that he was discovering these remnants and not fully knowing of their true worth or meaning that they do to us today.