Liberty 5-3000 (or The Golden One, as so named by Equality) is a perfect match for Equality 7-2521. She, too, has a mind of her own that refuses to blindly follow the authorities. She is more than a beautiful young woman; she is a woman whose inner beauty is externally recognizable. Long before speaking to her, Equality 7-2521 knows the virtues she possesses. He sees that her body is “straight and thin as a blade of iron.” Her eyes are dark and hard, devoid of both fear and guilt. Her hair flies wild in the wind, as if defying men to restrain it. She throws seeds to the ground as if scornfully dispensing a gift, and it seems as if the earth is “a beggar under her feet.” Equality 7-2521 gleans from her straightness of carriage, her fearless eyes, and her derisive mannerisms that she is proud, with an inner reverence that comes only from an unbroken independence of spirit.
Her spirit is displayed in her actions as well as in her appearance. She too violates the laws and customs of her society to pursue her goals. For example, she observes Equality 7-2521 and thinks of him, though the state forbids a woman to take notice of men except at the Time of Mating. She walks boldly to the hedge bordering the road and looks him in the face. She smiles at him, and they speak to each other with their eyes. She subsequently talks to him as fearlessly as he does to her. She tells him that he is not one of her brothers — as are other men — because she does not wish him to be. Later, she says she has given him a name, as he has to her. She thinks of him in her own mind as The Unconquered. Not only does she admire him for his unbroken spirit, but also in the act of forming these forbidden thoughts, she demonstrates her own unconquered soul. She honors him for the best qualities within herself. In the end, she must choose between acceptance in her society — the only life she has ever known — and rejection, even probable death, with Equality 7-2521, and she makes an unhesitating choice. Social approval means nothing to her; her own personal values mean everything. She tells him in the forest, “We wish to be damned with you, rather than blessed with all our brothers.” She exhorts him not to send her back to the city.
The Golden One’s character, like that of Equality 7-2521, illustrates an important principle regarding the author’s theory of human nature: independent persons form values of their own. The Golden One does not passively accept the beliefs of society. For example, she is not an egalitarian who believes there are no distinctions to be made among persons and that each is the equal of all. She does not love her brothers and sisters equally. Like her lover, she commits the “sin” of preference — and does so proudly. She recognizes that distinct persons are not equal in an absolute sense, and she loves Equality 7-2521 because his genius and proud independence cause him to stand out from the crowd. Because she thinks for herself, she values for herself, she decides by her own thinking what she will consider important or of significant worth. She chooses Equality 7-2521 for her own reasons and in defiance of social regulations. She chooses to pursue him into the forest for those same reasons, despite knowing that such a decision represents a literal point of no return: she will not be re-admitted into society and believes there is a good chance she will die in the forest. An independent thinker is a valuer, not a follower.
Her independence of evaluation is responsible for the vitality of her emotional life in contrast to the desiccated existences of her peers. Because other members of society mindlessly conform, they have no passions of their own. They value nothing in the way that Equality 7-2521 values scientific research and the Golden One, or in the way that she values him. They love nothing so much that they are willing to creep around in a dark tunnel to perform experiments — or flee alone into a dangerous forest to seek the person they desire. Nothing means that much to the other members of society because they have surrendered their minds to the state. Persons who do not think for themselves cannot value for themselves, and they end up with stunted emotional lives. The other members of this society are emotionless drones because their lives are empty. They have chosen to blindly follow the state, to seek no personal values, and consequently, to experience no great passion. The Golden One repudiates such a course of action emphatically. She knows what she wants and goes after it. Society’s beliefs are insufficient to shake her confidence in her own judgment, and this is what makes her a heroine.