When Ayn Rand writes, “for their eyes were still, and small, and evil,” what does she really mean? How do you know this?
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Rand is alluding to her own childhood and life in Russia. These words refer to the government and their tyranical hold over the Russina people. Rand's depiction of the Home of the Scholars contrasts the reality of the Council of Scholars with the ironic mention of "famous names" and the "illustrious men who had invented the candle." The idea of fame suggests a certain level of separation from the common man that seems more individualist than collectivist, and accordingly the concept of invention is associated with fame and achievement. However, the candle came long before the Great Rebirth, and the members of the Council are huddled "as shapeless clouds," again emphasizing the bodiless nature of collectivism. They are confused by the presence of an intruder, for just as no one had ever thought to escape the Palace of Corrective Detention, no one has thought to interrupt the World Council, and they are particularly shocked by his low status. None-the-less, to Equality, their appearance is marked by evil an evil, they're unable to hide.