A young man lives in a place where the word "I" does not have meaning. It is a society where there are no individuals. It is, however, a place where you strive to serve your brothers. Equality 7-2521 was taught from birth that the individual is not important. He is in a crazed society where the only form of government is collectivism.
Their religion is one of few forces holding this disarranged society from spinning out of control. "We are nothing. Mankind is all." (21). Equality, at age 21, has absolutely no freedom.
There are three steps to a person?s education when entering the society as defined by the book Anthem. When a child is born they are placed in the House of Infants until they are five years old. There they stay with other children born the same year. After the House of Infants they are sent to the House of Students. They stay in the House of Students until they are fifteen years of age when they enter the work force. Members of a board decide the final step of a person?s education. "Their hair was white and their faces were cracked as the clay of a dry river bed" (26). Each profession has a housing center and trains the citizens to the specific profession, also known as a "house". In this section, his dream of going to the House of Scholars is lost and he is sent to the House of Street Sweepers instead. Here the rules are very strict. He is not allowed to laugh or sing for any reason.
Entertainment was a part of daily life for all citizens within this society. Every day they would sing three hymns and watch a play after that. Among the three hymns were "?The Hymn of Brotherhood, and the Hymn of equality, and the Hymn of the Collective Spirit" (27). These were the only two forms of entertainment the workers had time for. All other time was spent working their jobs, eating, sleeping, and/or meeting with fellow workers. Entertainment was a prized piece of their society. Entertainment was the only part of society that kept the citizens content. Without entertainment daily the citizens would have not had such strong beliefs in the group and most likely would have overthrown the government.
The science and technology of the society is very underdeveloped. Glass and simple candles were some of the newest inventions. They were developed within the last one hundred years, hence "?Great modern intentions?" (22).
While in the Palace of Correction Facilities he realizes more about himself and the society. He learns to love instead of being matched with another citizens by the government. Equality also learns more about the stability of the society and how to improve the culture while benefiting both the government and the other people within the community.
These are a couple of hardships that Equality has to face so far in this mixed up society. One of them has to do with the political structure of the society. This structure did not allow him to present factual information that he found while observing an illegal tunnel to the House of Scholars. The House of Scholars felt that someone of his class should not be trying to present information like this to such a scholarly group as them. He ends up in the Palace of Correction Facilities. "How dared you, gutter cleaner?" (72).
Equality decides he has one more chance at making his life what he wants it to be. He would choose to break out of the Palace of Correction Facilities and help others. Equality makes it his duty to rescue the other friends he had left behind. He feels that they deserve the same freedom that he is now experiencing. "Our son will be raised as a man. He will be taught to say "I" and to bear the pride of it"(100). Equality wants to bring his friends to his fortress and start over a new beginning in which the dreadful word "we" will never again have meaning. Equality would like to be recognized as an individual rather than a group and wants the same for his friends.