Equality 7-2521 sits at a table and writes this journal entry on paper that is thousands of years old. He is in a house that he and the Golden One found at sunrise that very morning. It is nestled in a beautiful, uncharted mountain range—very isolated from the Cities. The house appeared to the two wanderers at sunrise, and the reflection of the sunlight in its windows made it appear to be aflame. The house is largely made up of windows, and Equality 7-2521 wonders how it has remained standing.
Again, the imagery of light symbolizes a break from the dark forces of collectivism. This house, a remnant form the Unmentionable Times, will likely bring Equality 7-2521 knowledge and empowerment similar to what he experienced after harnessing the light-making power of electricity.
Before entering the house, Equality 7-2521 asks the Golden One if she is scared, and she says no, so the two enter the house together. Inside, they find artifacts from the Unmentionable Times that Equality 7-2521 says will take years to understand. They are taken aback by the colorful décor, the mirrors that line the walls, and the fact that the house is designed for only two occupants. Equality 7-2521 also finds books written in a language he understands, but with many unfamiliar words. He is impressed by their composition, which is too neat to be the result of writing by hand, and vows to begin studying them the next day.
Clearly, Rand aims to use this house and its lively amenities to emphasize that people lived a life of variety and luxury in the Unmentionable Times, compared with the dreariness people are forced to endure under collectivism. The fact that Equality 7-2521 can understand the books he finds suggests that the relative success of the Unmentionable Times occurred in the recent past—a warning that the regressive forces of collectivism can undo progress in little time.
After inspecting the house, Equality 7-2521 tells the Golden One that they will inhabit the house until the end of their days. She replies, “your will be done.” Equality 7-2521 collects water and kills a mountain goat for food, which he will prepare using the house’s unfamiliar cooking implements. Meanwhile, the Golden One stands and admires her body in a mirror.
The Golden One shares Equality 7-2521’s vanity and interest in personal appearance, but her subservient remark illustrates that she does not interact with him as an equal.
At nightfall, the Golden One falls asleep, and Equality 7-2521 carries her to bed. He stays up reading the manuscripts by candlelight, knowing that he will not be able to sleep that night. He looks through a window and senses that the landscape seems to hold great gifts and promise for him, but also expects a gift from him: that he give the world meaning. Equality 7-2521 looks at his hands and sees them coated in centuries-old dust, and he feels reverence for the secrets and evils it holds. He hopes knowledge will come to him, so that he can fully grasp “the secret [his] heart has understood and yet will not reveal.”
Equality 7-2521’s intellectual curiosity is unmatched. His yearning to give meaning to his surroundings is an enactment of Rand’s notions of individual purpose: to the extent any individual has a purpose, it is to give his own personal meaning to his surroundings.