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    Stagnant Society in Anthem Essay

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    Anthem by Ayn Rand is a story of someone who breaks away from the mindless herd of society and dares to commit all the unspeakable transgressions . The plot takes place after mankind retrogresses to a futuristic dark age where to think and question the things around them is considered a crime . Equality 7-2521, the main character, lives in a collectivist society where the individual does not exist, only the group, “We” . Fascinated by discovery, Equality 7-2521 grows up wanting to be a scholar in the Council of Scholars . When the time came he is assigned the job of being a Street Sweeper, because he is trying to be different and for thinking on his own with his inquisitive mind .

    Equality 7-2521 is born different physically and mentally from his brothers in the rest of society . He writes “Ever have the Teachers and Leaders pointed to us and frowned and said: “There is evil in your bones, Equality 7-2521, for your body has grown beyond the bodies of your brothers”(18) . Moreover when he sees himself for the first time notes the significant difference “Our face was not like the face of our brothers, for we felt no pity when looking upon it . Our body was not like the bodies of our brothers, for our limbs were straight and thin hard and strong”(80) . This curse of his, of being different, drives him to think and have a mind mentally . He explains, “We were born with a curse . It has always driven us to thoughts which are forbidden”(18) . This is why the Council of Vocations did not appoint Equality 7-2521 into the Council of Scholars or any other highly regarded Council . How could someone so different from the “We”, hold such a high position and role in society . Thus, they made an example of him, saying that being different, being an individual out of the “We” is useless .

    Equality 7-2521’s nature is to ask questions about the things around him and to make new discoveries and inventions . However the society around him chose to shun him for his inquisitive mind and nature . He writes “We wished to know . We wished to know about all the things which make the earth around us . We asked so many questions that he Teachers forbade it” and “if we went to the Home of the Scholars, we could learn from these also . We could ask questions of these for they do not forbid questions”(23, 24) . Therefore, the Council of Vocations is afraid that if he did go to the Council of Scholars or any other field of study he would be able to discover secrets of the Unmentionable Times . They knew that he would seek and find knowledge unfit for their collective society . Furthermore, the council is well aware of his competence in performing these tasks .

    He writes “It was not that the learning was too hard for us . It was that the learning was too easy . This is great sin, to be born with a head which is too quick . It is not good to be different from our brothers, but is evil to be superior to them . The Teacher told us so, and they frowned when they looked upon us”(21) . Equality 7-2521 is ready to find out the secrets of the Unmentionable Times and evolve to a better state . However the rest of society wants to remain stagnant and remain the same . Thus they reject him . The perfect example of this is when the scholars reject the power from the sky . They say “It must be destroyed”(74) . If he could create light on his own, imagine what he could do with the facilities of the within the House of Scholars . The Council of Vocations foresaw this and tries to prevent before it became out of hand .

    To sum it up, the Council of Vocation’s sinister motive in putting Equality 7-2521 in the House of the street sweepers is that he is to advance and innovative for his time period . Just the like man, who burns at the state for speaking the unspeakable word . Equality 7-2521’s individualistic values in a collectivistic society lead him far away where he will build a new race of individuals, innovators and thinkers .

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    Stagnant Society in Anthem Essay. (2017, Dec 07). Retrieved from

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