Recognition of Individuality in Anthem Essay

1142 Words 5 Pages
Recognition of Individuality in Anthem  


In Anthem, a collectivist dictatorship keeps its members subjugated by using force and constant indoctrination. The hero of Anthem, Prometheus, struggles with the ideals of the collectivist society because his values are not in accord with them. Ultimately, Prometheus is able to free himself from collectivism by understanding the falseness of its premise.
       At the crudest level, the collectivist dictatorship is able to maintain power and control over its subjects by the use of force. Disobedient members can be sent to the Palace of Corrective Detention and lashed, as is the case with Prometheus, or, for extreme infringements, can be
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. . where you are needed by your brother men . . . And if you are not needed by your brother men, there is no reason for you to burden the earth with your bodies") to the aversion towards considering one's own body ("for it is evil to have concern for [one's own face or body]"). It is with this doctrine that Prometheus struggles. Everything he takes pleasure in is self-serving and self-centered and therefore evil. For instance, he likes the Science of Things for the enjoyment it gives him, not for the benefits that others can derive from his studying.
       At first, Prometheus completely accepts the collectivist morality and consequently struggles to subdue his desires. The heavy influence of the doctrine is shown through his profound sense of guilt at committing the Transgression of Preference and his relief and pride at being able to suffer for it as well as his constant self-chastising, which, in fact, the books opens with.
       Gradually, however, Prometheus's emotions contradict his conscious premises. As he commits more acts that he thinks to be immensely evil, like being alone and doing work for the sole reason that he wants to, he is untroubled. As he writes at the end of the first chapter, "The evil of our crime is

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