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Anthem | Chapter 9 | Summary

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Summary

On his second day in the forest, Equality 7-2521 hears steps behind him. It is Liberty 5-3000, who has come into the forest to look for him. She tells him the whole city is talking about Equality 7-2521's escape. She declares her intention to follow him wherever he might lead. Equality 7-2521 kisses her and knows joy. That night they make love.

The couple continues to walk further from the city. They hunt for their food and build rings of fire to protect them while they sleep at night. One day, Liberty 5-3000 tells Equality 7-2521 she loves him.

Analysis

Equality 7-2521 may have been happy in his freedom on his first day in the forest, but he finds he is even happier when Liberty 5-3000 joins him. Liberty 5-3000 has exercised her own free will to join Equality 7-2521 and has rejected her brother men, whom she considers inferior to him. Whereas Equality 7-2521 has eyes of flame and a mouth "cut of granite" and walks with his head held high, the others "have neither hope nor fire," are soft and humble, and cringe while they crawl. She says to him she wishes to be "damned with you, rather than blessed with all our brothers."

Now that they are away from the collective, they can start to think for themselves and move away from their brainwashing. The first step, as Equality 7-2521 puts it, is to "forget all things save that we are together and that there is joy as a bond between us." This introduces the idea of free individuals choosing to come together based on the needs of the individual rather than the needs of the collective. It is a clear rejection of their former way of life. Equality 7-2521 acknowledges that he did not feel alive when he "toiled for [his] brothers." Only his invention and his companionship with Liberty 5-3000 have brought him joy, and these are his alone.

When Liberty 5-3000 tells Equality 7-2521 she loves him, she realizes she lacks the proper words to express what she really means. She can only use the plural "we love you," because that is all she currently has. She tries to explain it as, "We are one ... alone ... and only ... and we love you who are one ... alone ... and only." This leaves them "groping vainly" for a word not yet in their vocabulary. This word is "I." Once they find it, they can fully claim their individual identities.

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