How do names and name-changes in Anthem contribute to its meaning?

Expert Answers

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

All of the characters have names which convey unity and collectivity. The society of this novella is a dystopia in which all forms of individuality have been purposefully erased or forgotten. Even the word “I” and the basic concept of one “self” have been lost. That’s why the narrator refers to himself as "we" and why everyone’s name is a symbol or adjective for a social concept: Liberty, Unity, International or Equality.

Equality 7-2521 begins to read, experiment, and learn things by himself. When he learns the concept of individuality, he begins using “I.” He acquires the concepts of learning, creativity and individuality together.

In Greek mythology, Prometheus stole fire from the gods and gave it to mankind. This is an allegory for humanity acquiring knowledge. In a sense, learning to make fire was the beginning of humanity’s technology. This is fitting because Equality 7-2521 discovers electric light in his underground tunnel. He tries to share this knowledge with the Council but they reject him. Likewise, Prometheus was punished by the Gods for sharing fire with humans.

Equality 7-2521 changed Liberty 5-3000’s name to Gaea (Gaia). Gaea was the mother of the gods. Equality 7-2521 (aka Prometheus) decides that their children will be brought up with knowledge and books. Gaea is pregnant by this time. The idea is that their children will have access to so much knowledge that they will be like gods compared to the brainwashed masses who cling to anti-individualism.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial