In Anthem the leaders of the society in the novel, the High Council, examine the students and based upon their observations, give the students their jobs accordingly. In Anthem’s society, students are given jobs not to who will fulfill them the best, but based on how intellectual the student is. A smart and eager student such as Equality 7-2521, the protagonist in the story, receives a job that will dull his brain.
Equality 7- 2521 is given the job of a street sweeper; he is extremely smart and the council recognized what he is capable of. The High Council gives the more important jobs, such as Scholar, to the students who are unintelligent so that the High Council can more easily control them. By destroying the smart student’s mind, the council can control them and cause them to become more unintelligent. To have complete control over the society in Anthem, the High Council keeps the word “I” unknown.
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By keeping this word unknown, the High Council is not only causing the society to think of themselves as one, but they are also causing the people to fear what is outside their world. Each person believes that without each other, nothing is possible and that thought instills fear into the society’s mind. By implanting fear into the minds of the people, they are afraid of what would happen if something in society were to not be the norm. The society, together as a whole, rejects anything that violates their comfort level and they destroy it.
We see this happen when Equality 7-2521 goes to the World Council and presents to them his inventions, electricity and the light bulb. The World Council decides that since this invention was created by one person and not a group of people that it would ruin their society and they threaten to kill Equality 7-2521 and obliterate his inventions. By maintaining unity from birth, the dictators and society in Anthem create a sense of constant longing for another person; this leads to the fear of being alone.
Each year, the new group of babies born go into the Home of Infants, then they are transferred into the Home of Students and then are given their jobs. Because each person believes that he cannot live alone, it keeps the society together. Equality 7-2521 spent time alone while he was experimenting so he realizes that man can accomplish things alone. The people in the society are dependent on each other to create a sense of security. Without that dependence, the society would split apart and each person would do how he wishes.
Just as a man’s knowledge is his greatest power, it is also his greatest enemy. In Anthem by Ayn Rand, the society is ridded of knowledge and that is what causes the leaders to have total control over the people. They accomplish control by choosing the jobs for the people, keeping the word “I” unknown and maintaining a sense of unity from birth. By doing these things they not only enslave the bodies of the people, but also destroy their minds.