Anthem

Light and the Light Bulb Symbol Analysis

Light and the Light Bulb Symbol Icon
Light is used throughout the book to symbolize Equality 7-2521’s individualistic spark. While his society as a whole is dismally conformist and restricted to candlelight, Equality 7-2521’s extraordinary motivation allows him to invent a groundbreaking form of light: the electric light bulb. The World Council of Scholars rejects Equality 7-2521’s invention because the Scholars’ collectivist sensibilities cannot accommodate this vital individualistic spark. This weakness condemns the collectivists to living in darkness, while Equality 7-2521’s strength and ingenuity permits him to live in the light. In one final bit of imagery, the house that will serve as Equality 7-2521’s bastion of egocentrism appears in the mountains with “white fire [coming] from the sun on[to] the glass of its windows.”

Light and the Light Bulb Quotes in Anthem

The Anthem quotes below all refer to the symbol of Light and the Light Bulb. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Individualism Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Publications edition of Anthem published in 2014.
Chapter 3 Quotes

We, Equality 7-2521, have discovered a new power of nature. And we have discovered it alone, and we are alone to know it.

Related Symbols: Light and the Light Bulb
Page Number: 36
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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No single one can possess greater wisdom than the many Scholars who are elected by all men for their wisdom. Yet we can. We do. We have fought against saying it, but now it is said. We do not care. We forget all men, all laws and all things save our metals and our wires. So much is still to be learned! So long a road lies before us, and what care we if we must travel it alone!

Related Characters: The World Council of Scholars
Related Symbols: Light and the Light Bulb
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 5 Quotes

We made it. We created it. We brought it forth from the night of the ages. We alone. Our hands. Our mind. Ours alone and only.

Related Symbols: “We”, Light and the Light Bulb
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 6 Quotes

Tomorrow, in the full light of day, we shall take our box, and leave our tunnel open, and walk through the streets to the Home of the Scholars. We shall put before them the greatest gift ever offered to men. We shall tell them the truth. We shall hand to them, as our confession, these pages we have written. We shall join our hands to theirs, and we shall work together, with the power of the sky, for the glory of mankind.

Related Characters: Equality 7-2521 (speaker)
Related Symbols: “We”, Light and the Light Bulb
Page Number: 51
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 7 Quotes

"What is not thought by all men cannot be true."

Related Characters: The World Council of Scholars (speaker)
Related Symbols: Light and the Light Bulb
Page Number: 57
Explanation and Analysis:

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Light and the Light Bulb Symbol Timeline in Anthem

The timeline below shows where the symbol Light and the Light Bulb appears in Anthem. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Individualism Theme Icon
Power Theme Icon
...the materials he finds in his tunnel, including “globes of glass” (which are almost certainly light bulb s), he concludes that men from the Unmentionable Times were familiar with this sort of... (full context)
Chapter 5
Individualism Theme Icon
Collectivism Theme Icon
Power Theme Icon
...device that he describes as a glass box housing a glowing wire—in other words, a light bulb . He begins to comprehend the scope of his discovery: men will be able to... (full context)
Individualism Theme Icon
Collectivism Theme Icon
Power Theme Icon
...the World Council of Scholars will meet in his City, and he will present his light bulb to them. He hopes that the Council will understand that his invention was worth the... (full context)
Chapter 6
Individualism Theme Icon
Collectivism Theme Icon
Power Theme Icon
...days have passed since Equality 7-2521’s last journal entry. On the night he created his light bulb , he forgot to watch his hourglass to make sure he returned to the City... (full context)
Chapter 7
Individualism Theme Icon
Collectivism Theme Icon
Power Theme Icon
...that he holds “the future of mankind” in his hands, and proceeds to demonstrate his light bulb . Once the device begins to work, the Scholars react in fear and cower against... (full context)
Chapter 9
Individualism Theme Icon
Collectivism Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Power Theme Icon
...he and the Golden One set up camp in a clearing and surround themselves with fires to prevent the wild animals from attacking them while they sleep. He resolves to one... (full context)
Individualism Theme Icon
Collectivism Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Power Theme Icon
...most profound joys have come from the solitary experiences he has had while creating his light bulb , and in his relationship with the Golden One. The delight he finds in solitude... (full context)
Chapter 10
Individualism Theme Icon
Collectivism Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Chapter 12
Individualism Theme Icon
Power Theme Icon
Prometheus has learned that his light bulb relies on something the men from the Unmentionable Times called Electricity. He understands that the... (full context)