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In Anthem by Ayn Rand, why doesn't Equality feel quilty when he commits all these crimes?

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kostergurl1 | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 24, 2011 at 8:33 AM via web

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In Anthem by Ayn Rand, why doesn't Equality feel quilty when he commits all these crimes?

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 25, 2011 at 7:25 AM (Answer #1)

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Equality realizes that his crimes are not crimes at all. He doesn’t arrive at this conclusion instantly. After years of conditioning, it is a mental struggle for him to consider that individualism can be as ethical and practical (or more so) as collectivism. Two significant things really stand out in Equality's transition to this point of view.

The first is his love for the Golden One. This is completely against the ethos of their society, which states that all love should be directed toward all others. Love cannot be given to just one other. This, and Equality’s general curiosity, are what initiate his concept of individuality for himself and the Golden One. Since these feelings are not really detrimental to the society as a whole, Equality is comfortable in thinking that these feelings are not criminal.

His rediscovery of electricity is also significant. He sees how this will greatly improve society. When the Council rejects him, he concludes that their stubborn adherence to absolute collectivism has made them irrational and exclusionary. So, once again, he rejects their criminal label on individualism.

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