As a literary device, light is oftenused to symbolize the idea of illuminating some sort of truth.
Light iscommonly associated with seeing through some unknown, symbolized as darkness,and is often representative of something good. In the novel Anthem byAyn Rand, this symbolic device of light can be seen in the form of thecandlelight being used by the citizens, the lightbox that Equality creates, oreven any other light source in the novel. Light is used by the characters notonly to literally see through the dark, but has an important role in guidingthe inner revelations of characters. Light in the novel Anthem is commonlysymbolizing the importance it has on places. Most of the time through candles,which are one of the smallest sources of light there is. While Equality is inthe hiding place he discovered, he thinks, “We blew out the candle.
Darknessswallowed us. There was nothing left around us, nothing save night and a thinthread of flame in it, as a crack in the wall of a prison.” (59-60) Before thisoccurs Equality really underestimates the importance of light, as it is notdeemed important to those of higher power in his society. Here Equality seemsto finally understand that his leaders have been purposefully leaving him inthe dark with little to no support in the form of a candle to help guide thesepeople through this “dark age”. When Equality is going into the UnchartedForest with Liberty he tells the reader, “Andthere, before us, on a broad summit, with the mountains rising behind it, stooda house such as we had never seen, and the white fire came from the sun on theglass of its windows.”(89) Before this moment Equality looks at this complexionthat seems to be fire in amazement, at first thinking of it as a danger.However later on, when he continues to scale the Uncharted Forest he sees thatthis “fire” was only leading him to a place him and his lover can call home. Light in the novel Anthemalso helps characters learn more about themselves through self-revelation.
Theyuse the idea of light as good to see the better in themselves and others. While Equality vigorously works on thelight box he makes he thinks, “Tonight, after more days and trials than we cancount, we ?nished building a strange thing, from the remains of theUnmentionable Times, a box of glass, devised to give forth the power of the skyof greater strength than we had ever achieved before. And when we put ourwires to this box, when we closed the current—the wire glowed!” (59) Thismoment holds of upmost importance to Equality because he feels as if he hasaccomplished something great and he has not felt this feeling ever since hebecame a street sweeper.
This contraption he has discovered has helped himreveal something about himself that he had not known. When Equality namesLiberty something he thinks to himself, “We do not think of them as Liberty5-3000 any longer. We have given them a name in our thoughts.
We call them theGolden One.”(41) Equality had obviously put some thought into this name becausesomething that is Golden usually gives off a shiny light pleasing to the eye,which helps explain why he chose this name for her. He also later goes on tocall himself Prometheus, because he wantsto help all he possibly can. Ironically he named himself after the God thatgave fire to men, which shows that light once again has an importance whencharacters in this novel find out more about themselves. Light is a literary device commonly used for findingthings in literature, may it be the good in things or even the truth. Light mayseem to have little to no importance, however it is deemed important whenfinding out more about a situation.
The light in something is usually somethingsomeone always seems to look for because it is heavily dependent on that person’scontent and character. Light is so much more than what it seems