Anthem Essay Ayn Rand’s novel Anthem analyzes the idea of collectivism and argues against it, and suggests “egoism” instead. She shows how she dislikes collectivism and thinks people should break away from it with symbolism. This symbolism is seen in the names of the characters. For example, Equality 7-2521, Liberty 5-3000, Collective 0-0009, Solidarity 9-6347, and Fraternity 2-5503 are all characters with names that are symbolic words to what collectivism means. Eventually, at the end of the book she renames the characters with symbolic names from Greek literature. It’s important to know what Rand’s ideas of collectivism are to be able to analyze them and the symbolism that she uses. She disagrees with the idea of forgetting about yourself and working more for a group goal. She thinks it’s better to be a little selfish and think more about your own happiness. She calls this “egoism.” Throughout Anthem, the symbolism she uses is her way of expressing her negative feelings about collectivism, and promoting her egoism idea. Fraternity 2-5503 is a member of the council and is one of the people that is in charge of the collectivism. Fraternity basically means brotherhood and working together. It’s a word that should mean something good. Rand names him Fraternity ironically, because he doesn’t show qualities of brotherhood at all. He’s very harsh to everyone in the group and doesn’t make them feel like they’re really “working together” which is what Fraternity is about. The same is true about Solidarity 9-6347. Solidarity basically             McGinnis 2means that everyone agrees on something and has a common interest. Within this society no one’s common interest is considered. Lastly, at the end Rand renames the characters with Greek names that belong to heroes who rebelled against things they didn’t agree with. For example, she renames Equality 7-2521 Prometheus, who was known for creating light. She does this to show how thinking for yourself and working for your own goals is better than always focusing on what other people want. In conclusion, symbolism is a big part of Anthem. Ayn Rand doesn’t agree with the collectivism in society and she shows that through the names of the characters. The way the characters act, and the name change at the end of the book is significant to make her point. Which is that it is better to think for yourself than just work for a collective unit.


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