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The characteristics and traits of Equality 7-2521 in Anthem


Equality 7-2521 in Anthem is intelligent, curious, and rebellious. Despite living in a collectivist society that suppresses individuality, he exhibits a strong desire for knowledge and independence. His curiosity leads him to rediscover electricity, and his rebellious nature pushes him to defy societal norms, ultimately seeking freedom and self-discovery.

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What are Equality's traits in Anthem?

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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What are some characteristics of Equality 7-2521 in Anthem?

Equality 7-2521 is brave and intelligent. He stole a candle so that he could work in the tunnel at night, despite the heavy sentence that such a transgression carries; this displays his courage, as does his willingness to sacrifice himself as long as his discovery survives later in the story. He feels that his work is the most important thing—"our secret, our evil, our precious work. Still we must also write, for [. . .] we wish to speak for once to no ears but our own."

He is so smart and feels so strongly about his discovery of electricity that he cannot hold it in and cannot stop working on it, even though it is so dangerous to him. Equality 7-2521 feels that he has been born with a curse, but it is really a positive quality that he is so curious and smart and brave. He is also creative, and this is why he hopes to go into the Home of the Scholars, where all the inventions come from. We see his bravery when he makes contact with Liberty 5-3000 and when he is willing to run away and risk death in the forest.

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What are some characteristics of Equality 7-2521 in Anthem?

I think the most important characteristic of Equality 7-2521 is curiosity. The entire story is driven by his curiosity and it is what saves him from the World Society at the end of the book. I also think that his curiosity is what will eventually save the rest of the population from the society. If one person can escape as easily as Equality 7-2521 did, then others may figure out that they need more in their lives and be able to escape as well.

Equality 7-2521's curiosity is illustrated at first by his discovery of the tunnel with International 4-8818. However, once the discovery is made, he continues to go to the tunnel in an effort to learn more and more about what is down there. Eventually, his curiosity gets him temporarily into trouble when he loses track of time and neglects to come back to the Home of the Street Sweepers by his curfew.

Importantly, Equality 7-2521 is unable to stop being curious. He is driven to learn as much as he can and he sees it as a gift, as illustrated at the end of the book. He has found books to read and he is elated:

It was when I read the first of the books I found in my house that I saw the word "I."... I understood the blessed thing which I had called my curse. I understood why the best in me had been my sins and my transgressions; and why I had never felt guilt for my sins.

Equality 7-2521's sins and transgressions all stemmed from his curiosity. They were his curiosities. Having realized this, he is able to freely explore his curiosities for the good of mankind.

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