Clearly, Ayn Rand intended Equality to stand out from his “brothers.” Explain how she accomplishes this by contrasting Equality’s physical qualities and character traits with those of his fellow men.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Equality lives in a society that places the highest importance on everyone being equal; hence the irony of his name, because he does not want to be equal deep down inside. He does his best to follow the rules and to be one with his community, but he is always...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Equality lives in a society that places the highest importance on everyone being equal; hence the irony of his name, because he does not want to be equal deep down inside. He does his best to follow the rules and to be one with his community, but he is always tempted to follow his individual thoughts and feelings, which is illegal. He wants to be, act, and think like his brothers, but he has a few traits that set him apart.

Equality is six feet tall, and he says this is a burden for him because not many of his brothers are as tall as he is. He even has instructors and leaders who tell him that he is evil because he is so tall. Equality is perplexed by this because he can't change how his bones grow. As a result, he feels that he was "born with a curse" (18). But his height isn't the only thing he feels cursed for—his thoughts plague him, too. Equality explains his curse as follows:

"It has always driven us to thoughts which are forbidden. It has always given us wishes which men may not wish. We know that we are evil, but there is no will in us and no power to resist it. This is our wonder and our secret fear, that we know and do not resist" (18).

When Equality was growing up, he was always more advanced in his thinking at school, which got him in trouble. In an effort to squash Equality's higher thinking skills, the Council of Vocations makes him become a street sweeper rather than work with other scholars as he would prefer.

Other differences between Equality and his brothers can be seen as Equality compares himself to Fraternity, for example. Fraternity is quiet and kind, but he cries for no apparent reason day or night. He cries so badly that his body shakes and he is inconsolable. Another one of Equality's brothers is Solidarity, who is described as bright, but at night he has nightmares that cause him to scream "in a voice which chills our bones, but doctors cannot cure Solidarity" (47). Equality doesn't understand these brothers because they are sickly, scared, and weak, all of the things that he is not.

Then there is International, Equality's best friend, who follows the rules, but doesn't tell on Equality when he finds an entrance to a subway system. He also doesn't tell on Equality we he runs off to the subway to read, write, and be alone—all of which are completely illegal. Because of fear, none of Equality's brothers would ever do things like studying or being alone. Only Equality tempts his fate with his community, and it is he who gets caught.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team