Ayn Rand’s “Anthem” Essay

Individuality, this word is what makes a person who they are. It can be molded into whatever one chooses it to be. It also puts you in control of yourself and guides you through your existence. Being individualized is what makes us human. We are not all the same. In the novel “Anthem” by Ayn Rand, the thought of individuality is a constant theme throughout the book. The main character, Equality, believes he is cursed by being an individual, at first. Many similarities can be found between the novel “Anthem” and the poem “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley.

Invictus is Latin for “Unconquered”. Another character, Liberty, will begin to call Equality “unconquered” in the novel. She believes he is unconquered because his appearance to her is different. She believes that because he is different that he will not be held down by the conformity surrounding him, therefore unconquered. “Your eyes are as flame, but our brothers have neither hope nor fire. Your mouth is cut of granite, but our brothers are soft and humble. Your head is high, but our brothers cringe. You walk, but our brothers crawl. William Ernest Henley writes in his poem “Invictus”, “Out of the night that covers me, Balck as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul. ” These two quotes alone depict individuality very well and are similar in the message they are sending. Towards the end of the novel Equality will tell the reader of how he will no longer live for anyone but himself and those that he loves and love him. “It is my mind which thinks, and the judgment of my mind is the only searchlight that can find the truth.

It is my will which chooses, and the choice of my will is the only edict I must respect. ” “I ask none to live for me, nor do I live for any others. ” These quotes are very similar to the last two line of “Invictus. ” They read “I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul. ” This discovery of individuality is progressive through both pieces of literature and it is not until the end of both pieces that the idea is actually out into words and made crystal clear to the reader.

Many metaphors are used in the poem and uncertainty is the clouding theme that keeps Equality from coming out and speaking of his individuality until about three quarters into the novel. Equality is discouraged, admonished, and beaten for his “crimes” of being an individual. He discovers an empty shaft that he will use as a laboratory for learning and exploring. In his self teachings he discovers electricity. He leaves the shaft too late and is caught coming from his secret hideout. When questioned where he was, he replies “We will not tell you. He is then sent to the palace of corrective detention where he was sentenced to be lashed until he told them where he was. “The first blow of the lash felt as if our spine had been cut in two. The second blow stopped the first , and for a second we felt nothing, then the pain struck us in our throat and the fire ran in our lungs without air.

But we did not cry out. ” Similar line are found in “Invictus” in lines 5-9. They read, “In the fell clutch of circumstance have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeoning of chance my head is bloody but unbowed. This similarity shows a sign of strength in both subjects and resilience. The similarities between these two pieces of literature show that individuality is a theme in many pieces of literature. It is expressed as whatever the writer wants it to be because individuality is just that, whatever you want it to be. Being an individual is the single thing in the world a person ever has that’s wholly and truly theirs. It is something that can never be taken away and is a birth right to anyone who chooses to exercise that right.