In today’s world, individuals in public are placed in categories according to their sex orientation, religion, race, and age from which the vast majority of these categories include social class. This idea is shown differently in the book, Anthem, by Ayn Rand where the author has created a collectivist society. People are placed in a social class according to the government’s liking instead of their race, age, and gender, etc… Their social class depends on the job they are given by the government’s will. This was done to treat everyone equally to keep peace in society. But a 21 years old man by the name of Equality 7-25521, was distinctive from everyone in the community. Equality 7-2521 is taller, smarter and learns faster than his brothers. He preferred some work and lessons over others and often receive punishments because of his transgression of preference. Equality’s repeated transgression of preference shows a deep conflict within his culture, yet he still managed to make peace with his rebellion by having no shame or regret through his actions.
Equality’s first transgression shows the rebellion against his culture and demonstrates his individuality contrary to his people, yet having no regret while doing so. At the beginning of the novel, Equality’s teacher has certain type of regulations and rules that students have to obey them. Although these types of rules are intended for the people to follow, “[Equality] was guilty of the great Transgression of Preference” and “[he] preferred some work and some lessons to the others” (Rand 22). Equality 7-2521 is like no other man in the community, he has physical differences, such as being taller than his brothers. His teachers have mentioned to him that there is evil in his bones because of it. Equality is also mentally different from his brothers because he is much more intelligent than the people in the community. Equality takes pride in both of his characteristics and it has led him to prefer some things over others, because he is different from his brothers. Equality 7-2521 desperately wanted to be assigned to the Home of the Scholars, but they recognize his talent and assigns him a specific job that does not require him to use his intelligence. Equality’s idea of rebellion can be seen in the world today as many people put their families above their needs. However, they are the ones that need to put themselves over others to survive. Ayn Rand shows the reader that the more individuality is taken away from the people, the more possibilities of rebellion happening. It is against human nature to give one individual a role and expect them to follow without making any mistakes.
Equality’s second transgression of preference shows a deep conflict in opposition to his culture and the friendship that he has built up while living in the society. There are a lot of people in Equality’s society, but some of them he considered friends. International 4-8818 and Equality are friends but “for it is a transgression, the great transgression of preference, to love any among men better than the others” because “ we must love all men and all men are our friends” (Rand 30). Equality 7-2521 live in a society that does not allow friendship. According to the mandate of society, it is wrong to make friends because it causes individuals to value certain people more than others. Everybody is identical in the society, which means that every person has to feel equal as if they are being respected. However, Equality 7-2521 revolt against this idea of transgression and built a friendship between him and International 4-8818. International 4-8818 is tall, strong youth and for there is laughter in his eyes. Equality look upon International as he is different from everyone in the Home of the Students. In the modern world, studies have concluded that friendship helps one to deal with stress, make better lifestyle choices and rebounce them from health issues. Ayn Rand uses this idea of friendship to show the reader that one always needs a mate to guide them through their life.
Equality’s final transgression of preference shows a rebellion in opposition to his culture and developing a relationship with a peasant while doing so. The Council of Vocations assign Equality 7-2521 to street sweep near the field of the peasants. As Equality is working near the field, he made another transgression of preference, “ for [he] do not think off all [his] brothers, as [he] must” yet “only of one, and their name is Liberty 5-3000” (Rand 41). Equality 7-2521 has set another transgression of preference. This time, he is in love with a teenager. Not only does Equality prefer one person to others, he can only think of one person, Liberty 5-3000. Liberty 5-3000 a beautiful woman whose inner beauty is extremely recognizable and has a mind of her own that refuses to blindly follow the Home of Scholars. Not only Liberty being a beautiful blond, but her body language suggest Equality that she is different than the other women with whom she is working with. In the modern world, relationships are important as they help one individual to value another person above everything in their life Ayn Rand uses meaning of relationship to reject the idea of collectivism as one should always think for their loved ones instead of everyone else
Equality’s repeated transgression of preference shows his broad conflict against his culture, yet he still find peace with his rebellion by having no shame or regret through his actions. Equality’s society have certain regulations and rules that people have to follow. However, he does not think the people should obey them because their individuality is being taken away. Contradictory to collectivism, a man should live his life individually from one another. One has an inalienable right to live their own life, and do whatever they want. People should live their life with freedom and does not bound down to the laws that takes individuality away from them.
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