What are some metaphors in Anthem by Ayn Rand?

Expert Answers

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

"Anthem (1938) is a science fiction novelette of a future primitive society in which the word "I" is forbidden. Rand's point in this work is that the individualism which had built a complex technological civilization has been smothered by collectivism."

Ayn Rand ’s Anthem is a drama about a...

See
This Answer Now

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

Start your Subscription

"Anthem (1938) is a science fiction novelette of a future primitive society in which the word "I" is forbidden. Rand's point in this work is that the individualism which had built a complex technological civilization has been smothered by collectivism."

Ayn Rand’s Anthem is a drama about a society in which there is no individual ego.  Everyone is given a label on a metal band.  They are given titles like Liberty 5-3000 and Equality 7-2521.  Equality 7-2521 is the protagonist of the drama and is the character that Rand uses to promote the concept of the individual against altruism.  The whole story of Anthem is a metaphor.  The society is a complete socialistic and altruistic society.  Every department within the society is given labels.  One specific example is the Home of the Useless where the Old Ones live.

“At forty, they are sent to the Home of the Useless, where the Old Ones live. The Old Ones do not work, for the State takes care of them.” chapter 1.

One special metaphor Rand uses is when Equality is watching  Liberty 5-3000 plant seeds in the fields.  He says, “the earth was a beggar under their feet.” (chapter 2), meaning that she was so special and so beautiful that even the ground would beg to have her walk on it.  She is different like him and he knows this as soon as he sees her.   
Another telling metaphor in the drama is when Equality has finally discovered the meaning of the word I.  He writes, “I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction.” chapter 11 Anthem.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team