Amirreza GhassemiMs.CunninghamENG4U1-0218/01/2018ISU Comparative EssayWords have a great impact in the novel Anthem by Ayn Rand and in the movie V for Vendetta. Both Equality and V use words to empower themselves, even if it may get them in trouble with the government. This means that one should make sure that their words are used carefully to not provoke powerful figures in society as it can cause their destruction. At the beginning of the book, Equality is in a dystopian world that has an ideology of radical communism.
The government is in complete and total control of other’s emotions, actions, and thoughts. To start of the book, Equality says, “It is a sin to write this. It is a sin to think words no others think and to put them down upon a paper no others are to see.
It is base and evil. It is as if we were speaking alone to no ears but our own. And we know well that there is no transgression blacker than to do or think alone.” (Ayn Rand, 13) Equality 7-2521 begins Anthem with this statement of the sins he is committing. Also, the narrator speaks in the first-person plural, implying that the word “I” has disappeared from his society. This reinforces the how words are a symbolic of power.
This is because the government is trying to secure their own power by taking words away from the citizens. He says that ‘it is a sin to think words no others think’, yet he continues to do it, showing his courage and power. By thinking the words he does, he creates power for himself, yet he destroys his reputation with the government, making him a fugitive. This proves that words he uses creates and destroys. Since he is thinking this, the government cannot necessarily listen in, so it shows how he is not provoking the government, which secures his safety within that society. This image of society leads the reader to sympathize for him because of the punishments he would have to endure just for having private thoughts. Thus, the opening lines immediately establish the setting of Anthem as a dystopian world.
Later on in the book, Equality meets Liberty and they run away from the city together. When out in the middle of nowhere, Liberty tries to express her love for Equality by saying, “We are one . . . alone . .
. and only . . . and we love you who are one . .
. alone . . . and only … We looked into each other’s eyes and we knew that the breath of a miracle had touched us, and fled, and left us groping vainly.” (Ayn Rand, 70) Here, Liberty tries to explain that she loves Equality 7-2521, but she doesn’t have the vocabulary, this leads them to be upset and confused. They do not know the Unspeakable Word “I,” and because of this, the repetition of the word ‘we’ can be seen.
In the novel, it can be seen that the government tries to hide and conceal individualism to promote their views of ‘equality’. Due to this, the Unspeakable Word represents power and rebellion, since the government wanted to completely wipe the people’s knowledge of it. Furthermore, the word can completely destroy the social system, due to the fact it would destroy ‘equality’, since people would be using a word that involves themselves and not others.
This creates rebellion because people can now be more selfish and expressive, leading to protests and rebellion against the government and it’s system. This shows how words can create and destroy within the book Anthem by Ayn Rand.V uses his vocabulary and language to empower himself and to spark rebellion within the people of the dystopian city. During the scene where he takes over all the televisions and broadcasting systems in the city, he says, “Good evening, London. Allow me first to apologise for this interruption. I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of everyday routine, the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition, the totality of television..
.. Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power.
… And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression.
And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have sensors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission.”(McTeigue, 2006) The repetition and alliteration that V is using represents how he is very literate and intelligent. Furthermore, when he says ‘words will always retain their power’, it proves how he is using his words to try to get people to rebel against the government and the dystopian society by reminding them that there is something ‘terribly wrong with this country’. Moreover, by making this speech, V’s words create a rebellion against the government, yet it destroys his reputation with the government. V is now ruled an outlaw and he must stay in his hidden home to not be exposed. Closer to the date of November the fifth, V holds Evey in a jail in his home. During this, V hides a note for her to find, it says, “I know there’s no way I can convince you this is not one of their tricks, but I don’t care. I am me.
My name is Valerie. I don’t think I’ll live much longer and I wanted to tell someone about my life. This is the only autobiography I’ll ever write, and God, I’m writing it on toilet paper.
” (McTeigue, 2006) The fact that she is writing it on toilet paper symbolizes the struggle she is going through and signifies to the reader about the pain that she is dealing with. V uses this letter to symbolize hope and freedom. The words that she read gave her confidence, building her fearlessness, while at the same time, when she found out that V put her in the jail and showed her the letter, it destroyed their relationship. In the end, V’s use of words changed the governmental system, creating peace and happiness within society, yet he provoked the powerful figures in society, which led to his death. Words contain the power to create and to destroy. In “A is for anarchy, V is for Vendetta: images of Guy Fawkes and the creation of postmodern anarchism”, the author, Lewis Call writes, “As the fascists lose control over the media system, their system of political power crumbles with remarkable rapidity. ‘Authoritarian societies are like formation skating,’ V observes, ‘intricate, mechanically precise and above all, precarious’ (197).”(Call) The author states that when the government lost control of the media system, which contained their propaganda and words to influence the people, they lost their power because V used the power of his own words to spark rebellion.
V ends up dying due to his use of words against the government. With Equality and Liberty, they are stranded by themselves because of their use of words that were selfish in nature, which provoked the powerful people within the government. In society, Martin Luther King Jr. created equality between white and black people and was a key figure during the civil rights movement. His speech ‘I have a dream’ is forever engraved within history, since the power of his words helped destroy racial segregation. Yet, with all his speeches, he provoked powerful people, which lead to his assassination. Words can be constructive and destructive, but they must be used carefully since the power of words can provoke powerful figures within society or within the government.Works CitedCall, Lewis.
“A Is for Anarchy, V Is for Vendetta: Images of Guy Fawkes and the Creation of Postmodern Anarchism.” Academic OneFile, Gale, go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p. RAND, AYN.
ANTHEM. VALUE CLASSIC REPRINTS, 2017. McTeigue, James, director. V For Vendetta. Warner Bros., 2008.