Anthem- Ayn Rand
This week we read parts five and six of the book Anthem. The first connection I made in the book was to the Middle Ages. At that time, Europe lost most of the great advancements made in the Greek and Roman times, living in a society known as the Dark Ages. During these years, the Church was in control of all teachings and beliefs, not allowing people to venture and explore concepts unknown or unsupported by the Bible. People were illiterate, except for monks, and lived a unstable life. In the novel, the society in which Equality lives is much less evolved than our current world, our times being known as the Unmentionable Times. All teachings are monitored by the The Council of Scholars, and it is forbidden to go beyond what people are taught to do. In many ways, this is an era that the human race has stopped to develop and forgotten what it was like to learn and discover. Equality yearns to find out more, yet he is not allowed or does not have the resources to do so. This could in many ways be compared to person during the Middle Ages who is illiterate, and can only know what the Catholic Church is telling them. In this case, the Council of Scholars is an analogy for the Catholic Church, who are the only literate ones and control what the people know, and Equality is causing a great controversy by defying their principles. The Unmentionable Times are like the Roman Empire, and the times in which technology and the human race flourished. Using this analogy, I can predict that the society in the book will soon take a turn much like the Renaissance, and will go back to exploring and developing, starting with Equality's discovery of light.
|This is the hierarchy of the Middle Ages. In this case it is clear that the Church has the greatest power in the society, for they control men's thought, beliefs and teachings. This is much like the Council of Scholars in the book.|
I can also compare the book to another concept in human history, and that is of Plato's Cave analogy. The cave speaks of men who are trapped and are shown only the shadow of everyday objects. Once one of them comes out of the cave, he can see the world for what it truly is, and not what he has been told his entire life. In this case, the people are trapped inside this society that does allow them to escape. The Council of Scholar and the government are the ones behind them, showing them the shadows, controlling what they think and what they know. They are trapped to the ground and not allowed to discover what is beyond their teachings. Equality represents the first person who comes out of the cave. He discovers electricity, and this allows him to see the wonders of the world without boundaries. Now he is at the point in which he is keen to share his discovery of technology to the rest of the people that are trapped. In Plato's analogy, the other prisoners do not want to come out of the cave, because they believe that what they are seeing is real, and are in many ways scared of what the one who has seen is offering them. That is what I believe will happen in the future of the book. The Council of Scholars will not accept Equality's discovery, but soon he will find a way to take the rest of the society out of the cave, and they will be able to see the marvels of the real world.
|This is an image of Plato's allegory of the cave, and the comparison I made to the story.|