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Equality 7-2521 is intelligent, independent, passionate, and stubborn. He stands out from others in every way.
Equality 7-2521 speaks in the third person, but he is neither royalty nor crazy. He belongs to a society where the individual is considered only part of the collective. He is not supposed to have an identity of his own, and not supposed to stand out or be different.
When the reader is first introduced to Equality 7-2521, we learn that he is physically different from others.
We are twenty-one years old. We are six feet tall, and this is a burden, for there are not many men who are six feet tall. (Ch. 1)
Equality’s bones are not the only problem he has. He considers himself to have been born with a curse, which “has always driven us to thoughts which are forbidden.” Equality’s independence has troubled him since he was a child, when he was often punished for fighting with his brothers, the other children his age. Things did not get easier when he was in school, and his intelligence also made him stand out. He loved learning too. This is one of the reasons he was assigned to be a street sweeper instead of a scholar.
Equality stands out in his pursuit of the Golden One, Liberty 5-3000, and in the fact that he wants to write and learn about technology. She calls him "The Unconquered." Equality devotes his time to studying the inventions of man, and science. He even discovers the "power of the sky," electricity. Light bulbs are superior to candles.
Self-sufficient and refusing to give up, Equality eventually runs away to the forest and finds a house with books. He learns about the past, and “we” becomes “I,” just as Equality realizes was always meant to be.
In a time and culture where being different is the worst crime, Equality cannot win. He was born different and cannot fit in anywhere. A normal life is not for him. He refuses to conform. It is his downfall and his freedom. He can’t be happy with others in society, but he can find what was lost to humanity—the past.
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