In Ayn Rand's Anthem, what is the symbolism of the Uncharted Forest and its significance?  

In Ayn Rand's Anthem, the Uncharted Forest symbolizes everything that Equality's community rejects: personal and individual freedom, discovery, information, individuality, self-government and ideas from the past.

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Understanding the background of the Uncharted Forest in Ayn Rand's Anthem helps one to interpret the symbolism. First, the Uncharted Forest used to be modernized cities that flourished with knowledge, freedom, and technology such as electricity. Equality doesn't know any more than the forest used to be cities inhabited...

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Understanding the background of the Uncharted Forest in Ayn Rand's Anthem helps one to interpret the symbolism. First, the Uncharted Forest used to be modernized cities that flourished with knowledge, freedom, and technology such as electricity. Equality doesn't know any more than the forest used to be cities inhabited by Evil Ones during Unmentionable Times, though. Other than the fact that people are told that wild beasts could kill them if they enter, these labels are used by the government to scare people from going into the forest.

Why would anyone want to stop someone from going into the forest, then? Because even though wild animals may live there, anyone who ventures into the Uncharted Forest would have personal freedom to explore and discover the natural world, the ability to govern themselves, and possibly find evidence and information left behind by the Evil Ones before they were destroyed by fires. Equality's interest is piqued when he thinks about the forest and explains as follows:

"And as we look upon the Uncharted Forest far in the night, we think of the secrets of the Unmentionable Times. And we wonder how it came to pass that these secrets were lost to the world. . . The words of the Evil Ones. . . The words of the Unmentionable Times. . . What are the words which we have lost?" (48-49).

For Equality, the forest holds secrets of the past and possibly words and ideas that are forbidden for his people to learn.  

Once Equality escapes to the Uncharted Forest, he's happy! He feels free to learn and to discover the world on his own. Eventually he finds a house with books from which to learn more about humanity and the human experience. Therefore, the Uncharted Forest symbolizes almost everything that Equality's community rejects: personal and individual freedom, discovery, information, individuality, self-government and the ideas from the past.

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