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Similarities Between “Anthem” and the Creation Story

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Perhaps the most well known story of the Holy Bible is that of the creation story. In this story, God creates the earth in six days and rests on the seventh, after creating light, dark, oceans, and animals of all types. When he feels that there should be creatures other than animals, he creates man, in His image. He names this man Adam, and then creates a counterpart for his new creation, Eve. Adam and Eve lived together in harmony with God and all the other animals in the Garden of Eden, a paradise where evil did not exist, and their only rule was to not eat from the tree of Knowledge. However, Adam and Eve, under the temptation of the serpent, showed greed, and wanted to be more like God, so they ate the fruit, in order to become like God. When compared in depth, the protagonist of the creation story, Adam, and the street sweeper, Equality 7-2521, of Ayn Rand’s Anthem are condemned men, whose stories are very similar, save one key difference.

These two men were condemned for the exact same reason: they let their greed overpower every other feeling they had. ““You will certainly not die,” the serpent said to the woman “For God knows that when you eat from it (the tree of knowledge) your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5). While it was not Adam who though of eating from the tree, he did make the conscious decision to fall victim to the inescapable greed that all humans are plagued with. Equality 7-2521 fell to the same greed that Adam had, but towards another party, himself. In the society that Equality 7-2521 lives, there is no singular “I”, there is only “we”. In fact, the punishment for the denial of the belief that they have adopted, “What is not done collectively cannot be good” (Rand 73), is death. When Equality 7-2521 discovers a hole that leads down to a railway station from the “Unspeakable Times”, he finds himself drawn to it. Equality 7-2521 enjoyed being alone in the dark of the station, and in doing so he was committing a mortal crime in his society. Both of these men were subjected to the greed, which was supposed to be nonexistent in their worlds, that is undeniably a part of human nature, and in doing so, offended the most powerful figures of their societies.

In the Bible, God is the creator, the destroyer, and is the single most powerful entity in the world of Adam. When Adam and his wife, Eve, ate from the tree of knowledge, this angered God, and they were punished greatly for it. “To Adam He (God) said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow, you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and dust you are to return” (Genesis 3:17-19). As a result of his disobedience to God, Adam and his wife are forced to suffer through the pain of death, without the comfort of the Garden of Eden, where death and hunger were never a problem. For this reason, they were put on the earth: to pioneer a civilization of their own, and live off of it.

“Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said “With the help of the Lord, I have brought forth man” Later, she gave birth to his brother Abel” (Genesis 4:1-2). This, populating the earth, and creating a civilization to live in, is now Adam and Eve’s priority, to live off of others, as they can now experience death. Such a fate is similar to Equality 7-2521, when he offends the scholars of his town after showing them the product of his solemnity. “How dared you think that your mind held greater wisdom than the minds of your brothers? And if the councils had decreed that you should be a Sweet Sweeper, how dare you think that you could be of greater use to man than in sweeping the streets?” “We shall deliver this creature to the World Council itself and let their will be done.” (Rand 71,72). Equality 7-2521, in his addiction to being alone, has offended the “gods” of his society, similar to God in the creation story. For his actions, Equality 7-2521 is tortured, and almost experiences death, as Adam does when he offended God by eating of the tree.

Equality 7-2521 later escapes from his prison, where he was tortured, and made his way to the “Uncharted Forest”, a place where no man is permitted entrance. He comes across a house from the “Unspeakable Times” and inhabits it with a fellow refugee, Liberty 5-3000, whom he loves. The task that Equaltiy 7-2521 assigns himself after many days of reflection is to build up a force against the society of “we”. He says that he will save his friends, “And they will follow me and I shall lead them to my fortress. And here, in this uncharted wilderness, I and they, my chosen friends, my fellow-builders, shall write the first chapter in the history of man” (Rand 101). Adam and Equality 7-2521 both took it upon themselves to build a new society when they were cast out of their previous one for offending the most powerful figures. However, their outcomes were quite different in how they took their castigation.

Adam, after being told that he is subject to pain and suffering, when God proclaims, “By the sweat of your brow, you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and dust you are to return”, shows no reaction. It is almost as if he accepted his fate without reproach, which seems very peculiar, given the previous conditions of his living arrangement. While Adam solemnly accepts his fate, Equality 7-2521 embraces it with open arms, laughing after he fell from a tree branch, upon a bed of moss, then proceeding to roll down the moss bed, twigs and leaves in his clothes and hair (Rand 79). The new surroundings that Equality 7-2521, who has taken on the name of Prometheus, has inhabited are new and exciting, all around, and he shares it with his lover, Liberty 5-3000, who now goes by Gaea.

Adam and Equality 7-2521, or Prometheus, are nearly one in the same man: both fell victim to their own greed, both offended the “gods” of their society, and both were deemed outcasts, taking their lovers with them. While the buildup to the climax of both the stories of Adam and Equality 7-2521 are nearly the same, they branch off from each other towards the end, Adam, accepting death as a reality, and Equality 7-2521, accepting new life as a free man. While both men were presented with less than pleasant situations, they made the best out of them: Adam, prolonging the lifespan of the human race with the company of Eve, and Equality 7-2521 defecting from his previous home, opting to start a new one with Liberty 5-3000 and his friends, going to show that a situation is what one makes of it, not what is already made for them.

Works Cited

The Holy Bible: New International Version : Containing the Old Testament and the New Testament. Colorado Springs, CO: International Bible Society, 1984.
Print. Rand, Ayn. Anthem. New York: Dutton, 1995. Print.

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