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But even these bloody dictatorships were not able to so alter the very terms in which humans think as to eradicate the vocabulary of individuality. "Rather shall we be evil with you than be good with all our brothers." He covers for Equality 7-2521 during the years in which he conducts his illicit research and never betrays him.
One of the most striking features of Anthem is its use of language, especially the absence of the word "I." Characters refer to themselves using the first person plural "we" and not the first person singular "I." This use of language is often confusing, but must be understood if the book's meaning is to be clear.
The use of the plural rather than the singular self-reference, goes to the heart of the book's meaning.
Over a period of centuries, the rulers have managed to extirpate all knowledge of the word "I" from the language. Despite the suppressive methods of the Councils, some members of this society retain individuality.
All that remains is a vague memory that there is such a thing as an Unspeakable Word — but no one has an inkling that it is the word "I." Despite the primitive backwardness of this collectivist society, the power of its suppressive methods must be recognized. Equality 7-2521 wonders ceaselessly about the lost word.
This act is the most thorough form of thought control ever devised. She, too, defies the decrees of the councils to achieve her ends. She abandons the city and the only life she has ever known, venturing alone into the Uncharted Forest to find him.
The deluded citizens have only one self-concept available to them — splintered fragments of the group. She notices Equality 7-2521, though she is supposed to take no heed of men. In the end, it is she who, unaided, comes closest to re-discovering the Unspeakable Word when, in the forest, she gropes for the words with which to accurately express her feelings.Have you read one of Ayn Rand’s thought-provoking novels? Enter an Ayn Rand Institute essay contest for your chance to win thousands of dollars in scholarship prize money.ARI has held worldwide essay contests for students on Ayn Rand’s fiction for more than thirty years. Sign up for updates on contest deadlines and tips on how to write a stronger essay.Equality 7-2521, however, says that the sight of the Saint being burned has stayed with him, "it haunts us and follows us, and it gives us no rest." More than the injustice of a hero tortured to death haunts Equality 7-2521; it is a desire to know the Unspeakable Word at all costs. The answer the author gives is that some exceptional individuals refuse to give up their minds to authority."What — even if we have to burn for it — is the Unspeakable Word? Equality 7-2521 and his allies understand, even without the words, that human beings are by nature rational animals and that thinking is an individualistic activity. Removing #book# from your Reading List will also remove any bookmarked pages associated with this title.This attempt to extirpate all elements of individuality similarly explains why each person has a number attached to this collectivist label.Because the state considers individuality unreal, no person is unique or outstanding, human beings are interchangeable parts of a greater whole.The collectivist society in which Equality 7-2521 lives is similar to the Nazi and Communist states of the twentieth century.The rulers of this society do not permit any individual to think freely; all must subordinate themselves to the state."Collectivism," Ayn Rand notes, "means the subjugation of the individual to the group — whether to a race, class or state does not matter." Under such conditions, a person is not regarded as an autonomous individual with a life of his or her own, but as a fragment of a group whose sole purpose is to serve its needs.The rulers of Equality 7-2521's society seek to discourage even the realization of individuality; they attempt to inculcate an "ant colony" mentality in which human beings emulate the self-sacrificial existence of insects serving the overall good of the whole.