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Explain the effects that the society has on different people by contrasting the...

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user1034001 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 1, 2013 at 3:10 AM via web

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Explain the effects that the society has on different people by contrasting the physical qualities and character traits of those who live with Equality in Ayn Rand's Anthem.

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tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted April 9, 2013 at 5:32 PM (Answer #1)

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In chapter one of Ayn Rand's novel Anthem, Equality talks about how the society's government is organized by councils and people live in groups of homes. No one is allowed to become friends or to think on their own, but Equality does. He becomes friends with a man named Union and one named International. Equality notices that Union is often sick and has convulsions when he is stressed or overly excited. Equality implies that these convulsions are brought on by fear of what may happen if he does not follow all of the rules of the society. International, on the other hand, laughs a lot. Equality doesn't really know how to say it but he discovers a difference in personality, or character traits, between himself and the other two men. The society does its best not to encourage individualism because they are founded upon the premise that if everything is the same, then everyone will be equal and content.

Later, in chapter two, Equality notices two other roommates who seem to act differently at night and in the dark than when they are awake during the day. Fraternity, for example, cries at night and Solidarity screams at night, as if he were having nightmares. Equality doesn't understand this because his character seems to be defiant and strong-minded towards life, learning and the society. The society forces the people to "toil" everyday. That word means more than just to work; it means to go through tough physical burdens. Then, the psychological stress placed upon them each evening when they go to the theater and watch plays about how important it is to work hard everyday must be stressful. The fact that everyone dies at 40-45 shows that life is really hard both physically and mentally, too.

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