Id is the primitive and instinctive part of your mind that contains sexual and aggressive drives and hidden memories. Ego, the part of the id that has been modified by the influence of the outside world. Superego, the incorporated values and morals of society which are learned from parents and others. In our society everyone’s goal is to reach the superego, it’s societal acceptance. However, is it the best for everyone?
Ayn Rand’s book Anthem explores what happens when communism goes too far. The book was inspired by her childhood while living in Russia during the revolution of 1917, Sigmund Freud’s id, ego and superego theory and the story of Prometheus and the story of Gaia. Anthem summarizes all these topics and pulled them together into one story.
Anthem follows the character Equality 7-2521 as he discovers himself and what it means to care about oneself instead of everyone else. This is ego. The ego operates through the reality principle, it tries to work out ways to satisfy the unrealistic id. The ego is essentially the mediator between the real world and the id. In Anthem, ego is the sacred word, it’s been shunned by society. The collectivist government forces the idea of the superego on the citizens. This makes it so no one cares for themselves but only cares for their “brothers”. For example, no one has a say in what they can do, no one has opinions, no one can vote, no one can be better than the others or else they are cursed. The government makes all the decision for the people, what technological advancements happen, what jobs they get etc.
The book shows Rand’s belief in the concept of id and superego. From what is seen, Rand hates superego. She hates the fact that everyone has to bend to societal norms, be together and think the same way. That is collectivism. That is we. The id is different, this is represented by it and it is the complete opposite of superego. The id does not care what the outer world thinks, the id is animalistic, it is raw, uncut and it is not logical.
The 1917 revolution marked a turn in the history of Russia. It was the end of the tsardom and the beginning of the Bolshevik power. Rand grew up in a good household, during her childhood her father owned his own pharmacy in St. Petersburg, Russia. In 1917 her father’s shop was seized by the Bolsheviks “in the name of the people”. Her family had to move to Crimea and they became poor. As a young woman, Rand was angry at what was happening to her family and to her people. She was very outspoken about it at the time. Her life was in danger because of this. So, when she was 21, her family moved her out of Russia and to the U.S.
Objectivism is a philosophical concept made by Ayn Rand. it says that everyone is entitled to their own self-happiness and should follow reason instead of faith. She also believed that our life belongs to us and the best thing we can do is to live it to the best of our ability. The belief in this concept “ended her career as a novelist”.
At the end of Anthem, Equality and Liberty named each other, Prometheus and Gaea. Rand points to Greek mythology when giving the two characters new names. They are good fitting names based on what each character does in the story.
Prometheus is the son of the Titans. He had the choice to live in Olympus but chose to live on earth. As he observed, the humans were freezing and starving and were getting eaten by beasts. Prometheus went to Zeus asking to give humans fire but Zeus refused because he thought humans would get too smart and overthrow the gods. It pained Prometheus to see the
suffering of humans so he took a fennel stalk and a spark from Zeus bolt and started a fire for the humans. When Zeus saw this, he punished Prometheus by chaining him to a mountain.
Equality had a similar story. He found electricity and light bulbs from the unmentionable times and tried working on it to find out more. While doing that he got arrested and was punished to jail time. When he brought his discovery to the council he was shunned. They didn’t accept it because he “held greater wisdom than his brothers”. These two characters relate because they just wanted to help, but the people above them didn’t want others to have their power so they punished them
Gaea, the all-nourishing was one of the first beings according to Greek mythology. She represented the earth and what was in it, she controlled what grew and what didn’t. She was neglected by the other gods when they came around because she was the mother of the Titans.
Liberty is the representation of Gaea in the book, she provides food to the rest of the city yet doesn’t get her fair share of recognition from everyone else except Equality. No one in her area of work can be talked to or interacted with. She also is forced to live outside the city.
Through the character of Equality, Rand shows the different consequences of collectivism and how it affected the well being of individual people. She’s ok with the ego but is against the idea of the superego. The book shows her beliefs in Objectivism and the importance of individuality.

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