Anthem Essay Essay, Research Paper
Theme, considerably the most important part of a novel, is the author’s tool to convey her ideas and message. Ayn Rand fills her novel, Anthem, with many themes commenting on societal problems. She observes many trends towards collectivism, which stifles individual thought and action. A major theme presented in Anthem is the strength and importance of individuality. It is the sum of characteristics in each person that sets them apart from others. Rand shows individuality as a sense of power, with the potential to overcome the shackles of solidarity.
The society portrayed in Anthem is a completely unified one; unified in all opinions and reasoning. It is based on the principles of solidarity. Outside of the mandated one, no other thought processes are allowed. People are assigned jobs to which they cannot protest, removing the luxury of choosing an enjoyable job. Individuals are not allowed personal goals, rather the good of the entire society is the collective goal.
People in this society do not work towards their own happiness. They work only for what is taught to be the common happiness. True pleasures of life are not allowed. Since they do not see personal benefits and fulfillment from their work, they lack enthusiasm and personal initiative. It is as though everybody has been brainwashed to one collective way. The people consider themselves as one body. Though collectivisim may have certain benefits, in Anthem it is taken to a dangerous extreme. Their collective society has nearly wiped out any traces of the individual. For example thoughts or opinions that are different from your brother are the root of evil. People are executed for referring to themselves singularly rather than collectively.
The main character is a man, Equality 7-2521. Throughout his life he has known only one society, one run by cohesion. In his heart he feels different than his fellow brothers. Though he has never experienced individualism, he has an innate desire for it. This is a yearning to have his own identity; to be an individual. He knows that this feeling must be wrong because his society deems it corrupt. He tries to hide from this feeling and to deny its existence. Equality 7-2521 thinks that he should be like his fellow brothers to be normal. He tries, unsuccessfully, to deny these feelings by reciting, We are one in all and all in one. There are no men but only the great WE, One, indivisible and forever. But he realizes that he can do nothing to change how he feels nor can he hide from these feelings.
Equality 7-2521 comes to terms with these emotions and finds a place that is all his alone, which is another sin. When he steals out one night, he feels a fear in the air. He thinks that everybody has the same yearning as him. Not all of them feel it as intensely as him. Most are able to conform to society and suppress their desires of individuality. Equality 7-2521 is sure that there are people that have the same intense feelings as he, and he has only to find them.
Anthem presents a theme of individuality, showing the need to be an individual is present in everyone s heart and soul. Some people have this urge more than others do. These people become our leaders, our geniuses, and our greatest thinkers. They do a great deal to help our society. By each person being different, we can get many things done. It is only through allowing people to think and imagine independently that society develops new ideas and innovations. Even though individual thought and action may cause disagreement between people, the benefits outweigh the vices. In today s society we are struggling to find a balance between individualism and collectivism. This balance strives to maintain individual diversity and personal freedom while ensuring the good of society.