Formulate a controlling idea that can relate to the poem “The Horses” by Edwin Muir and the novel Anthem by Ayn Rand.

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In "The Horses," the speaker describes a community that has been completely changed by some kind of nuclear or chemical war that "put the world to sleep" and changed a once-noisy world into one characterized by "silence." Lots of people died, technology began to fail, and everyone was scared for a while, at least until they began to adjust. Just one year after the week-long war that changed everything, people have adjusted so completely to the quieter, simpler world that they don't want a return to "that old bad world" that existed before. The technologies they once relied on, like tractors, seem like "dank sea-monsters," and they "would not have" the radio again if it were to start speaking, though they wished it would initially. Similarly, in Anthem, society has returned to a pre-industrial state. With so much emphasis on the individual, a rebellion of those who privileged the collective took place; there was "the great fighting" and the "Evil Ones" who preferred individualism to collectivism were "burned." The era that existed before this new era began is called the Unmentionable Times, and many do not wish for a return to it. In both texts, people adjust to a new normal and find that they are scared for things to return to the way they were, even though that was normal once. Of course, in the novella, the potential evils of collectivism are portrayed by this new normal, and, in the poem, we see the simplicity and contentment people feel with the new normal. However, in both, the modern era somehow got out of control and resulted in a return to something like a simpler, pre-industrial time.

Can you think of a way in which this might relate to our world now? Do we focus too much on technology and not enough on one another? Would we be happier or more contented if we had less? If we did have less technology in our daily lives, wouldn't we adjust to that, just like we used to feel before we had computers and cell phones?

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