Reflection Paper on Anthem (by Ayn Rand)
The city in Anthem has a very interesting and very strange concept. It promotes collectivism which is where instead of just thinking about yourself you think in groups or for everyone. But the city had numerous rules and control and what was up with that.
Some of the rules for just reading the book is that when you are first born you have to stay in the place you are born until you are 5 years old. Afterword you go to school until you are 16 years old. After you are put into a job that a council puts you in, sadly you have no control of your life in the book. Everything you do is supposed to benefit everyone and everyone is together. In the book, the word I is completely forbidden and Equality, the main character, keeps referring himself as We. And that’s where collectivism comes in because with an incident that happens long ago in the book which is referred to the Unmentionable Times.
And that’s the reason they have the rules but I will get to this later. They have a lot of rules and when I say a lot I mean a lot. Some of them are really small like getting back to your home in time, doing work for a specific amount of time, being on a break for a specific amount of time, etc. Some of the big ones are the times you stay in a certain group of work, school, retirement, etc. Also, guys and girls were separated at all times because so each gender and focus better. There many many other rules they mention but these are the ones I can find and remember.
But why do they exist and the purpose of all of these rules? Well, it’s because of the collectivism they focus on in the story of Anthem. With the world government in the story, they believe that everyone should work together and everyone is equal unless you were Equality. Equality was not the average person in the story he was surprisingly 6 foot in the story and very smart which was a bad thing because he was different. There were others like International and Liberty but the Council didn’t like them because of this. So they set the different rules I said earlier to keep everyone equal and so no one is better than each other.
But later on, Equality discovers a secret tunnel and finds out about electricity. By the way, all they relied on in the book were candles and other things to live. Equality introduced electricity to the council of scholars, really they were a group of really smart people. But when he showed them they were all terrified and shamed him for making his device, a light bulb, a very powerful light bulb. So the rules are for the purpose of keeping everyone straight and equal and to keep the peace.
After showing the light bulb Equality runs away from the city and runs to a further place and finds a modern-day house, he is also with Liberty when he runs. After a few days, he talks about creating a new city with a different mindset and everyone will live by themselves. They will create a new world and everyone will be free o do whatever, but will it add some of the rules that already existed. I say yes because some of the rules are important like that school rule they have where you stay from 5 to 16 years old it’s like today but like 2 years. But at the same time no because some of the rules are absurd like going home on time and someone else controlling your life.
And his world he imagines there probably have a type of government but not like the councils.In all, the city Equality imagines is likely to have some of the rules in the city he used to be in. But will be very different due to it not focusing on collectivism.