Interpret the first sentence of Ayn Rand's novel Anthem

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“It is a sin to write this.”

Writing is a very personal experience, especially if you are writing in a diary or journal like Equality is in the opening of the novel Anthem. He is writing down his thoughts and ideas about his discoveries in the tunnel and life in the dystopian society portrayed in Anthem. These are words that only Equality will read; they are not for the public to see because it is a sin to express yourself and your individuality.

Equality’s society is what is called a “collective” society, where the group is more important than the individual. Self-expression is denied, and that is why the government in this society controls everything and everyone. Citizens are raised in a dorm setting without love from their parents, they are given jobs that will suppress their talents and abilities, and they are forced to live in ignorance without knowledge of the past. 

In order for Equality to write down his feelings, he must hide from society. He knows that it is a sin, but Equality is intent on expressing his individuality by writing down his thoughts. He doesn’t worry about what will happen to him, for he is compelled to rebel against the system of his society.

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