In Ayn Rand's Anthem, what word is Equality struggling to recapture on page 49?
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The word that is missing from Equality's vocabulary is the word "I", but this represents more than just the first-person singular. Throughout his journal writing, Equality speaks in third-person plural, and he knows no other way to express himself because he wasn't taught about himself. In fact, he wasn't allowed to get to know himself as an individual. One of the most powerful ways in which the leaders of the society control the people is to talk about themselves as a whole and as if the individual does not exist. Rand said once that the story didn't have much of a plot as much as it is the cognitive journey of self-discovery. She almost titled the book "Ego" in its literal sense which also means "self". So the word "I" means more in this book and to everyone who reads it than just the difference between tenses.
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.
Equality is struggling to recapture the word “I” instead of “we”.
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