What are some allusions in Anthem?

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For the novel, see Anthem by Ayn Rand.

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Another allusion in the novel Anthem is seen with Liberty, the girl Equality finds in the woods upon his escape from the society. He first meets Liberty as she is spreading seeds in a field while he is sweeping a nearby street. Their eyes lock, and they instantly fall in love. Equality takes Liberty with him to set up a new society, and he renames her Gaea. Gaea was a Greek goddess who represented Mother Earth. This shows a direct connection between Liberty's job of planting seeds and Mother Earth. Gaea also created the universe and gave birth to the first humans. It's important to note that Gaea is pregnant early on in this new society. She will be the one to start the new society as the first mother.

The new society Equality and Liberty form is an allusion to a democracy where individual rights are cherished and preserved by the people. 

The entire novel alludes to a time in the past where society is more advanced with cars, electricity, etc.  A Great War is mentioned and The Great Burning is an event where all books and knowledge is destroyed. Although there is no real reference to an actual event, Ayn Rand is trying to make us understand what could happen if we lived in a "collective," communistic society.  

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The book Anthem by Ayn Rand has many allusions to Prometheus giving light to save humanity. Anthem is narrated by Equality 7-2521, who lives in a future devoid of individualism and modern technology like electricity. Equality 7-2521 rediscovers electricity and creates a light bulb, thus creating light much like Prometheus delivered fire to mankind. For his invention of light and electricity the council punishes him and sends him to the palace of corrective detention. The allusions persist with Equality renaming himself Prometheus.   Other allusions in Anthem are references to hymns.  Equality narrates “Then we sing hymns, the Hymn of Brotherhood, and the Hymn of Equality, and the Hymn of the Collective Spirit."

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What are some allusions used by Ayn Rand in Anthem?

One of the allusions used by Ayn Rand in the Anthem is "Saint of the pyre." It is used with reference to those who had understood the concept of a self identity and attempted to enlighten others by telling them about it. This was a grave transgression and was always punished by the Councils setting the offenders on fire in view of all.

There was no pain in their eyes and no knowledge of the agony of their body. There was only joy in them, and pride, a pride holier than it is fit for human pride to be...

What—even if we have to burn for it like the Saint of the pyre—what is the Unspeakable Word?

Another instance that I find where a very important point has been made with an allusion is when Equality is speaking with the Golden One about the importance of being able to differentiate oneself from others and refers to Prometheus stealing fire from the Gods and giving it to humans.

He took the light of the gods and brought it to men, and he taught men to be gods. And he suffered for his deed as all bearers of light must suffer.

How this taught men to be gods leaves no doubt about how powerful the concept of an ego is, and how a self-identity gives people an immense power which is in ways equivalent to that of the Gods.

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What are the allusions in Anthem?

In Anthem, Ayn Rand draws heavily on Greek mythology but also references more recent cultures and actual events, especially from the twentieth century. The idea of living underground, in ignorance and under surveillance, draws on Plato’s “Allegory of Cave” in his Republic. Even before the reader learns that Equality 7-2521 has decided to rename himself, his association with the mythical figure Prometheus is clear. He takes a candle, a singular light source, in order to continue his activities. He later makes light without fire. In Greek mythology, Prometheus brought fire to humankind and paid the price with eternal punishment by Zeus. Because this defiant figure was greatly admired by many generations of writers, Rand also alludes to his interpretation by Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.

In the modern world, Rand names the Great War, which is another name for World War I. The World Council similarly alludes to the League of Nations.

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What are the allusions in Anthem?

The equality and conformity that characterize the collective society in Anthem clearly allude to the communism of Soviet Russia, which Rand herself experienced and fled. Rand critiques a society in which talent is not allowed to rise to the top and where individualism is crushed, which was her experience in the Soviet Union.

Rand also alludes to Greek mythology, which she uses as a positive ideology to counter the repressive qualities of collectivism. At the end of the book, Equality and Liberty rename themselves Prometheus and Gaea. In Greek myth, Prometheus defied the gods to give fire to humankind, for which he was punished. This name refers back to Equality's trying to give to his society the gift of the lightbulb, which he had rediscovered, and being punished for it. In Romantic thought, Prometheus is also seen as one who strives, which is what Equality does, for he is always seeking to improve. Gaea in Greek mythology is the earth goddess and mother of all life. Clearly, Equality and Liberty see themselves as people who will bring new life and new ideas to the world.

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