What is the role of conformity and nonconformity in the novel, and how does this connect to the historical setting of the text?
In Anthem, the role of conformity is something very different from what we experience today. Their conformity is union. "'We are one in all and all in one. There are no men but only the great we, one, indivisible and forever'"(Rand Part One). This passage from the book is what they repeat to themselves whenever they feel like thinking of uniqueness. Equality 7-2521, the protagonist, lives in a society that "rejected individualism in favor of collectivism"(SparkNotes).
The nonconformity comes/will come in the book when someone stops referring of themselves in the plural, and yet as the singular. Meanwhile, the rest of the people from the society will start to think of alternative ways of life/living. The approach of ones who is in charge, in order to keep the control over the people, is to alert them: showing the consequences they would face if disobey. The image below shows an idea of how the message of individualism is sent to Equality 7-2521's society would be sent.
This all connects to the historical setting that the novel occurs to be in because it seems to be what the autho once experienced. The event she has gone through is the Bolshevik Revolution, guiding a communist era in Russia. What was said to have happened is: "claimed to subjugate the needs of the individual to the needs of the many"(SparkNotes). This shows to be what is in the book, the reduction from individual to society needs. All in all, in order to maintain the assurance and regulation, people have to conform to the day to day basis.