Anthem by Ayn Rand
How does the protagonist change from the beginning to the end of the novel? What does this character learn about himself and how the world works?
The first sentence in Anthem reads: "It is a sin to write this.", this is when our protagonist, Equality 7-2125, explains how the society they live in is like, how since they are stronger and taller than most men, they must be street sweepers and how it is wrong to think of themselves as independent individuals. However, the first lines in chapter eleven are the following: "I am. I think. I will.", thus it is clearly evident that the protagonist has changed and developed to someone with a mind of their own and not a "collective" one.
Throughout this exquisite dystopian novel, Equality 7-2125 grows from a man who supports his city and will do anything to help it, to a man who flees it and finds a new home for himself. Just by reading this sentence, one can easily see how much character development there was present in Rand's futuristic piece. We are introduced to a protagonist who is a "slave" to his city, willing to do anything for it, however as the story progresses, we see him break several laws like when he found that tunnel for the first time and every night he would explore it for about three hours, when he created that glass box that would 'change their lives' and escaped prison because of it as well as refused to tell the judges where he'd created it and finally when he left the city.
The protagonist transforms himself into a man of his own, with his own thoughts, ideas, aspirations, hobbies, etc. He was free of the chain that forced him to think collectively and to have his motto be "What is not done collectively cannot be good.", and/or "What is not thought by all men cannot be true.". Equality 7-2125 learns that it is not a sin to think of oneself as an individual and he begins to care about his own happiness for the first time. This can be seen on page 73, where he states that "My happiness is not the means to any end. It is the end. it is its own goal. It is its own purpose." He is now a man, not just a random street sweeper. He is himself, free to guard, his to use and his to kneel before and he finally learns that he was never truly free in his city, for freedom is the greatest treasure he owns. Freedom includes his thoughts and his will and no one could take it from him against his will ever again.
Anthem sends out a very important message one can easily see just by reading between the lines, it reminds us how special being unique is, because without uniqueness, one doesn't really notice how different we all are. We're just bodies, walking around aimlessly, merely existing, instead of living.
This image is a representation of the word freedom, the fence that keeps others from leaving or entering, turns into birds and they themselves fly away, because they are finally free.