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Themes and Colors
Individualism Theme Icon
Collectivism Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Power Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Anthem, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Without a doubt, individualism is the core theme of Anthem. The entire text is essentially a parable designed to illustrate the paramount importance of Ayn Rand's idea of individual will. The plot chronicles Equality 7-2521’s evolution from a brainwashed, faceless drone in a dismal authoritarian state; to a self-sufficient, creative, and powerful man living outside of the system that oppressed him. The key catalyst of Equality 7-2521’s liberation is his self-reliance. Even though his…

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Naturally, the flipside of Rand’s passionate advocacy of individualism is her vehement condemnation of collectivism, which is a broad term for any sociopolitical ideology that bases itself on the belief that all humans must depend on one another. In the foreword to Anthem, Rand writes that “the greatest guilt today is that of people who accept collectivism by moral default; the people who seek protection from the necessity of taking a stand, by refusing…

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The collectivist culture Equality 7-2521 is born into appears designed to eliminate meaningful interpersonal relationships. People are afraid even to speak their minds to one another, “for all must agree with all, and they cannot know if their thoughts are the thoughts of all.” Deep personal connections are eliminated in the name of equality and impartiality; even the intimate act of sex is reduced to a shamefully impersonal once-a-year trip to the “Palace of Mating.”…

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In several senses, power is what allows Equality 7-2521 to assert himself as a unique individual over the stultifying conditions imposed on him by society. The most literal way in which power sets the protagonist apart is through his commanding physique. Unlike his brethren, who are weak and pitiful in appearance, Equality 7-2521 is tall and muscular. On first viewing his reflection, Equality 7-2521 remembers that “We sat still and we held our breath. For…

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