In Ayn Rand's Anthem, to whom does the narrator refer as "we"?

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The use of "we," or first person plural, can be quite a confusing thing to understand when first reading Ayn Rand's Anthem. The society in which Equality (the main character) lives has eliminated the word "I" so that no one will think independently or as a single individual. The society's goal is that everyone is part of everyone else, so when speaking of one's self, a person must refer to himself as "we." This can be difficult to catch on to because Equality is writing about his own experience, but since he does not know the word "I," he cannot differentiate between himself and speaking as part of the whole society in his writing. The reader, therefore, must learn to distinguish when the word "we" is being applied in the plural form or in the singular. Rand applies this technique well as a way to not only develop Equality's character as a result of his society, but also to drive home her philosophical point that individualism can be lost if we don't pay attention to collectivist ideas. The bottom line is that when Equality is writing about his own experiences, he uses "we" to refer to himself.