In Anthem by Ayn Rand, what word is Equality struggling to recapture on page 49?
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The "Unspeakable Word" that Equality desperately grasps for in Ayn Rand's Anthem is the word "I," but there is so much symbolism packed into that one-letter word that the answer is not as simple as it seems. To Rand, and to Equality, her main character, the word "I" represents a person's choices, reasoning skills, value and character. All of these things are taken away when the word "I" is forbidden. If the singular form of a person does not exist, then does that person actually exist, too? The collectivist society in which Equality lives believes that individuality is evil and wrong. Rand's fear was that even twentieth-century America was falling into collectivist ways of thinking due to social reforms and laws being passed during her life-time. The struggle that Equality has while grappling for the word "I" signifies the internal grappling that each individual must do in order to defend it.
I feel that the word Equality is looking for on p.49 is "I" for a couple of different reasons. First, it is singular, so the very isolation of one apart from the group is contrary to the ideology of the society. Also, the word "I" places emphasis on that person, which the Council would be wary of because emphasis on an individual would be prideful.
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