Anthem

“We” Symbol Icon
Individuals in Equality 7-2521’s collectivist society are forbidden from thinking of themselves as individuals. The pronoun “I” is not only forbidden but unknown, and everyone must refer to him- or herself as “we” in order to ensure that all actions and self-conceptions are collective. Not surprisingly, this is Rand’s way of symbolizing the way in which collectivism destroys the individual will, which is, in her opinion, mankind’s most sacred and essential attribute. The Golden One is unable to truly experience love without the pronoun “I”—she is not content to tell Equality 7-2521 that “we love you.” At the book’s conclusion, Rand illustrates Equality 7-2521’s empowerment and self-realization with his acquisition of the pronoun “I.” This knowledge allows Equality 7-2521 to condemn the worship of “we,” which he argues has turned mankind into a weak and regressive race.

“We” Quotes in Anthem

The Anthem quotes below all refer to the symbol of “We”. 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 1 Quotes

It is a sin to write this. It is a sin to think words no others think and to put them down upon a paper no others are to see. It is base and evil. It is as if we were speaking alone to no ears but our own. And we know well that there is no transgression blacker than to do or think alone. We have broken the laws. The laws say that men may not write unless the Council of Vocations bid them so. May we be forgiven!

Related Characters: Equality 7-2521 (speaker)
Related Symbols: “We”
Page Number: 1
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 molli

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We were born with a curse. It has always driven us to thoughts which are forbidden. It has always given us wishes which men may not wish. We know that we are evil, but there is no will in us and no power to resist it. This is our wonder and our secret fear, that we know and do not resist.

Related Characters: Equality 7-2521 (speaker)
Related Symbols: “We”
Page Number: 2
Explanation and Analysis:

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And questions give us no rest. We know not why our curse makes us seek we know not what, ever and ever. But we cannot resist it. It whispers to us that there are great things on this earth of ours, and that we can know them if we try, and that we must know them. We ask, why must we know, but it has no answer to give us. We must know that we may know.

Related Characters: Equality 7-2521 (speaker)
Related Symbols: “We”
Page Number: 8
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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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 euLoreLorem 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 cupidata

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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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

Chapter 9 Quotes

We looked into each other's eyes and we knew that the breath of a miracle had touched us, and fled, and left us groping vainly. And we felt torn, torn for some word we could not find.

Related Characters: Equality 7-2521 (speaker), The Golden One
Related Symbols: “We”
Page Number: 71
Explanation and Analysis:

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 fugi

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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“We” Symbol Timeline in Anthem

The timeline below shows where the symbol “We” appears in Anthem. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Individualism Theme Icon
Collectivism Theme Icon
...an entry in Equality 7-2521’s journal. He always refers to himself using the second-person plural, “we,” and explains that his writing is sinful because it is for himself alone, and thinking... (full context)
Chapter 9
Individualism Theme Icon
Collectivism Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
The Golden One tells Equality 7-2521, “we love you.” But something sounds wrong about that phrase, and she takes it back. She... (full context)
Chapter 11
Individualism Theme Icon
Collectivism Theme Icon
Power Theme Icon
...the “temple of his spirit,” and this temple should remain undisturbed by others. The word “we” represents a defilement of this temple. It is a monstrous thing to place the collective... (full context)
Chapter 12
Individualism Theme Icon
Collectivism Theme Icon
Power Theme Icon
“Freedom,” to Prometheus, simply requires that man be free from his brothers. At first, men were enslaved by Gods, then by kings, and then by attachments of family or race. Over... (full context)