The Uncharted Forest in Ayn Rand’s Anthem can be interpreted in multiple ways, but a primary symbolic meaning directly relates to the growth of the individual. Since the city in Anthem is composed of only “we,” the space to explore and learn as an individual is completely unheard of. Thus, once Equality escapes to the Uncharted Forest, his individuality, which could only be freed for temporary periods of time in the underground area beneath the city, can be fully unleashed. The fact that Equality and Liberty find the home from the Unmentionable Times further speaks to this newfound freedom. Once in the Uncharted Forest, these two characters are finally able to see their own reflections, make volitional decisions, read voraciously, and rename themselves, which can be seen as an ultimate act of independence.
The same archetypal setting of the forest is used often in literature, so it is worth considering its connection to other works such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Scarlet Letter. Northrop Frye recognized this pattern of characters entering a forest and emerging greatly changed when he spoke of “The Green World.”