Anthem by Ayn Rand follows the plight of a man in a totalitarian society where everything is decide for every person.
He uses the pronoun "we" whenever he speaks and he has been assigned a number, rather than a name. He has been assigned to the permanent assignment of "street sweeper", where he sweeps the same street every day. At first he enjoys this call to purpose, but he soon tires of it.
He starts thinking illegal things. He starts doing illegal things. He starts writing about illegal things. He's guilty of so many things that he is filled with anxiety.
Then, eventually, he finds illegal books, where he learns a new word: "I". That is when he awakens. He looks around and finds what is wrong with his society. His ego awakens.
While this novel is more about rebellion and individuality, the theme of selfishness still shines through. Ayn Rand is an advocate of "the virtue of selfishness", and it is reflected in nearly all of her novels. She contends that selfishness is necessary in the world for the survival and continuation of man. Her writing continues to influence today.
1984 by George Orwell
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