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In Ayn Rand's Anthem, how does Equality 7-2521 relate to Dylan Thomas's poem "Do Not Go...

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UndefeatedSoul18 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 8, 2013 at 3:35 AM via web

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In Ayn Rand's Anthem, how does Equality 7-2521 relate to Dylan Thomas's poem "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night"? 

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 8, 2013 at 5:03 AM (Answer #1)

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"Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night" by Dylan Thomas is a poem which he wrote when his father was in his eighties to encourage him not to give up life without a fight. The "good night," of course, is death, and he tells his father not to go gently but to "[r]age, rage against the dying of the light" (death). 

Anthem by Ayn Rand is an allegorical tale about a future world in which everyone is equal in the worst possible way; equality has been achieved by eliminating the individual and mandating the collective. Equality 7-2521 is the protagonist of the novella, and he is not content to be what the government has determined he should be. He secretly does experiments with ancient items he finds, and he eventually discovers electricity. Thinking he is doing the world a favor, he presents his discovery to the council and is immediately force to run for his life because he and his thinking are threats to the status quo.

Equality 7-2521 manages to elude his pursuers, joins up with the woman he loves but was not allowed to be with, the Golden One. They trek up a mountain where they see an ancient house which managed to survive the Unmentionable Times. As he looks down from the top of the mountain, Prometheus (the name Equality 7-2521 has chosen for himself) says:

I stand here on the summit of the mountain. I lift my head and I spread my arms. This, my body and spirit, this is the end of the quest. I wished to know the meaning of all things. I am the meaning. I wished to find a warrant for being. I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction. Neither am I the means to any end others may wish to accomplish. I am not a tool for their use. I am not a servant of their needs. I am not a sacrifice on their alters.

This resolve to fight against the powers that once controlled his every move is similar to the second stanza of the Dylan Thomas poem:
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Prometheus is wise enough to recognize that death is inevitable (line four), but he has not made his voice heard yet, has not done everything he can to make his world better (line five), so he will "not go gentle into that good night" (line six).
 
Just the fact that Equality 7-2521 can rename himself and will now be able to live and study the ancient things is a kind of raging against the torturous death-in-life which he and his fellow citizens were living. Now he is, indeed, raging against the night. 
 
 

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Lori Steinbach

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UndefeatedSoul18 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 11, 2013 at 4:53 PM (Reply #1)

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What are some stanzas in the poem that simply relate to Equality's characteristics (think about is past actions and relationship with the Golden One)?

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