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Upon entering the tunnel, he lights a candle and sees that the tunnel has not been found or touched. When he sees the glass box, he ceases to care about the scars on his back. Tomorrow, he plans to take his box to the Home of the Scholars and hand them his journal as a confession.


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He then plans to join them in working to discover new things about his power of the sky "for the glory of mankind," and he blesses his brothers, knowing that starting tomorrow, he will rejoin society and no longer be an outcast. The episode at the Palace of Corrective Detention interrupts Equality 's previous optimism, showing that despite his private experimentation with a potentially life-changing invention, the world around him has failed to change.

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Although the authorities know nothing about his glass box, they still identify him as a threat and punish him for his lack of obedience and his integrity. For all of their claims to serve their brothers, their questioning of Equality suggests that they are more interested in maintaining control than in loving all humans.

The Judges are glorified torturers, although they allow the hooded men to do the physical act of beating their prisoner. The word "Judges" suggests justice and a search for the truth, but these Judges do not truly represent either. Equality 's ordeal juxtaposes the reprehensible behavior of the collectivists with the protagonist's honor and vigor. Whereas Equality keeps his secret because of his conviction and need to protect his creation, the members of the Home Council show a lack of any powerful emotions. The oldest member of the Council states the command sending Equality to the Palace of Corrective Detention in a bored tone, suggesting the apathy engendered by collectivism.

The evil authority figures in the Palace are either hidden under leather hoods or shown in a weak, bent body, and none have names or powerful descriptions. By contrast, the individualist Equality has a name and a distinct physical presence. His narrative emphasizes his interaction with and observation of his body, and he recovers quickly from the torture, indicating his physical and, by analogy, his mental strength.

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A second contrast between Equality and the collectivists lies in their approach to guarding important areas. Equality pays a great deal of attention to the protection of his tunnel and his light, and he undergoes the Palace of Corrective Detention without revealing them.

This approach is unfathomable to the authorities, who do not bother to guard their prisoners or repair their locks, a fact which also illustrates the technological regression of the collectivist era. Equality views the glass box as an extension of his own body, and he acts as he does because of his pride in his body, while the authorities have no sense of pride and remain careless. The Judges have Equality tied to an iron post so that the men in leather aprons can whip him. The image parallels the execution of the Transgressor, or Saint of the Pyre, in an earlier section of the novel.


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Like the Transgressor, Equality is tied to a stake-like object, and he describes the iron grill of the door as "a flaming grill," while mistaking his blood for "burning coal dust. The two men willingly suffer in their bodies for the sake of an idea. Several aspects of Equality 's imprisonment hint at the brainwashed nature of his society. The narrator escapes because no one else would have the originality necessary to even think of escape.

Furthermore, although his transgression of omitting attendance at the City Theatre does not seem particularly heinous, few enough people commit any crimes that his case becomes one of paramount importance, leading eventually to questioning from "the most honored Judges of the City.


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He believes that the men who he had once idolized will be greater and more enlightened than the others, but the reader may rightly remain worried that his stint at the Palace of Corrective Detention will foreshadow his reception at the World Council. The council did not want change. The status-quo is a major theme in this dystopia.

Accepting Equality's invention would be accepting that Equality was an individual with talents the state did not recognize. What laws that we have today do you think she would agree with, and which would she oppose? CliffsNotes on Anthem is an excellent introduction to Ayn Rand's philosophy of human nature. The novella's theme and central conflict--the individual versus the collective--is an important element of her moral and political philosophy.

This study guide will help you understand the story of Anthem which takes place in an unnamed Communist- or Facist-like dictatorship of the future.

Anthem | Study Guide

Meet the hero, Equality , a brilliant young man who yearns to be a scientist but is held back by a government that fears his intelligence. Your grasp on this novella will be strong with these features that help you study:. Classic literature or modern-day treasure--you'll understand it all with expert information and insight from CliffsNotes study guides.

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