by Ayn Rand

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Anthem is a dystopian fiction novella by Russian-American writer Ayn Rand, written in 1937 and first published in 1938 in the United Kingdom. The story takes place at an unspecified future date when mankind has entered another Dark Age. Technological advancement is now carefully planned and the concept of individuality has been eliminated. A young man known as Equality 7-2521 rebels by doing secret scientific research. When his activity is discovered, he flees into the wilderness with the girl he loves. Together they plan to establish a new society based on rediscovered individualism.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9788834161234
Publisher: Kerry butters
Publication date: 07/29/2019
Series: Science Fiction Collection
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 209,749
File size: 796 KB

About the Author

Ayn Rand (1905–1982) wrote the bestselling novels The Fountainhead (1943) and Atlas Shrugged (1957) and founded the philosophy known as objectivism. Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, Rand taught herself to read at the age of six and soon resolved to become a professional writer. In 1926, she left Communist Russia to pursue a screenwriting career in Hollywood, and she published her first novel ten years later. With her next book, the dystopian novella Anthem (1938), she introduced the theme that she would devote the rest of her life to pursuing: the inevitable triumph of the individual over the collective. 

Date of Birth:

February 2, 1905

Date of Death:

March 6, 1982

Place of Birth:

St. Petersburg, Russia

Place of Death:

New York, New York


Graduated with highest honors in history from the University of Petrograd, 1924

Read an Excerpt


By Ayn Rand


Copyright © 2014 Open Road Integrated Media, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4804-7699-8


It is a sin to write this. It is a sin to think words no others think and to put them down upon a paper no others are to see. It is base and evil. It is as if we were speaking alone to no ears but our own. And we know well that there is no transgression blacker than to do or think alone. We have broken the laws. The laws say that men may not write unless the Council of Vocations bid them so. May we be forgiven!

But this is not the only sin upon us. We have committed a greater crime, and for this crime there is no name. What punishment awaits us if it be discovered we know not, for no such crime has come in the memory of men and there are no laws to provide for it.

It is dark here. The flame of the candle stands still in the air. Nothing moves in this tunnel save our hand on the paper. We are alone here under the earth. It is a fearful word, alone. The laws say that none among men may be alone, ever and at any time, for this is the great transgression and the root of all evil. But we have broken many laws. And now there is nothing here save our one body, and it is strange to see only two legs stretched on the ground, and on the wall before us the shadow of our one head.

The walls are cracked and water runs upon them in thin threads without sound, black and glistening as blood. We stole the candle from the larder of the Home of the Street Sweepers. We shall be sentenced to ten years in the Palace of Corrective Detention if it be discovered. But this matters not. It matters only that the light is precious and we should not waste it to write when we need it for that work which is our crime. Nothing matters save the work, our secret, our evil, our precious work. Still, we must also write, for—may the Council have mercy upon us!—we wish to speak for once to no ears but our own.

Our name is Equality 7-2521, as it is written on the iron bracelet which all men wear on their left wrists with their names upon it. We are twenty-one years old. We are six feet tall, and this is a burden, for there are not many men who are six feet tall. Ever have the Teachers and the Leaders pointed to us and frowned and said:

"There is evil in your bones, Equality 7-2521, for your body has grown beyond the bodies of your brothers." But we cannot change our bones nor our body.

We were born with a curse. It has always driven us to thoughts which are forbidden. It has always given us wishes which men may not wish. We know that we are evil, but there is no will in us and no power to resist it. This is our wonder and our secret fear, that we know and do not resist.

We strive to be like all our brother men, for all men must be alike. Over the portals of the Palace of the World Council, there are words cut in the marble, which we repeat to ourselves whenever we are tempted:


We repeat this to ourselves, but it helps us not.

These words were cut long ago. There is green mould in the grooves of the letters and yellow streaks on the marble, which come from more years than men could count. And these words are the truth, for they are written on the Palace of the World Council, and the World Council is the body of all truth. Thus has it been ever since the Great Rebirth, and farther back than that no memory can reach.

But we must never speak of the times before the Great Rebirth, else we are sentenced to three years in the Palace of Corrective Detention. It is only the Old Ones who whisper about it in the evenings, in the Home of the Useless. They whisper many strange things, of the towers which rose to the sky, in those Unmentionable Times, and of the wagons which moved without horses, and of the lights which burned without flame. But those times were evil. And those times passed away, when men saw the Great Truth which is this: that all men are one and that there is no will save the will of all men together.

All men are good and wise. It is only we, Equality 7-2521, we alone who were born with a curse. For we are not like our brothers. And as we look back upon our life, we see that it has ever been thus and that it has brought us step by step to our last, supreme transgression, our crime of crimes hidden here under the ground.

We remember the Home of the Infants where we lived till we were five years old, together with all the children of the City who had been born in the same year. The sleeping halls there were white and clean and bare of all things save one hundred beds. We were just like all our brothers then, save for the one transgression: we fought with our brothers. There are few offenses blacker than to fight with our brothers, at any age and for any cause whatsoever. The Council of the Home told us so, and of all the children of that year, we were locked in the cellar most often.

When we were five years old, we were sent to the Home of the Students, where there are ten wards, for our ten years of learning. Men must learn till they reach their fifteenth year. Then they go to work. In the Home of the Students we arose when the big bell rang in the tower and we went to our beds when it rang again. Before we removed our garments, we stood in the great sleeping hall, and we raised our right arms, and we said all together with the three Teachers at the head:

"We are nothing. Mankind is all. By the grace of our brothers are we allowed our lives. We exist through, by and for our brothers who are the State. Amen."

Then we slept. The sleeping halls were white and clean and bare of all things save one hundred beds.

We, Equality 7-2521, were not happy in those years in the Home of the Students. It was not that the learning was too hard for us. It was that the learning was too easy. This is a great sin, to be born with a head which is too quick. It is not good to be different from our brothers, but it is evil to be superior to them. The Teachers told us so, and they frowned when they looked upon us.

So we fought against this curse. We tried to forget our lessons, but we always remembered. We tried not to understand what the Teachers taught, but we always understood it before the Teachers had spoken. We looked upon Union 53992, who were a pale boy with only half a brain, and we tried to say and do as they did, that we might be like them, like Union 5-3992, but somehow the Teachers knew that we were not. And we were lashed more often than all the other children.

The Teachers were just, for they had been appointed by the Councils, and the Councils are the voice of all justice, for they are the voice of all men. And if sometimes, in the secret darkness of our heart, we regret that which befell us on our fifteenth birthday, we know that it was through our own guilt. We had broken a law, for we had not paid heed to the words of our Teachers. The Teachers had said to us all:

"Dare not choose in your minds the work you would like to do when you leave the Home of the Students. You shall do that which the Council of Vocations shall prescribe for you. For the Council of Vocations knows in its great wisdom where you are needed by your brother men, better than you can know it in your unworthy little minds. And if you are not needed by your brother man, there is no reason for you to burden the earth with your bodies."

We knew this well, in the years of our childhood, but our curse broke our will. We were guilty and we confess it here: we were guilty of the great Transgression of Preference. We preferred some work and some lessons to the others. We did not listen well to the history of all the Councils elected since the Great Rebirth. But we loved the Science of Things. We wished to know. We wished to know about all the things which make the earth around us. We asked so many questions that the Teachers forbade it.

We think that there are mysteries in the sky and under the water and in the plants which grow. But the Council of Scholars has said that there are no mysteries, and the Council of Scholars knows all things. And we learned much from our Teachers. We learned that the earth is flat and that the sun revolves around it, which causes the day and the night. We learned the names of all the winds which blow over the seas and push the sails of our great ships. We learned how to bleed men to cure them of all ailments.

We loved the Science of Things. And in the darkness, in the secret hour, when we awoke in the night and there were no brothers around us, but only their shapes in the beds and their snores, we closed our eyes, and we held our lips shut, and we stopped our breath, that no shudder might let our brothers see or hear or guess, and we thought that we wished to be sent to the Home of the Scholars when our time would come.

All the great modern inventions come from the Home of the Scholars, such as the newest one, which was found only a hundred years ago, of how to make candles from wax and string; also, how to make glass, which is put in our windows to protect us from the rain. To find these things, the Scholars must study the earth and learn from the rivers, from the sands, from the winds and the rocks. And if we went to the Home of the Scholars, we could learn from these also. We could ask questions of these, for they do not forbid questions.

And questions give us no rest. We know not why our curse makes us seek we know not what, ever and ever. But we cannot resist it. It whispers to us that there are great things on this earth of ours, and that we can know them if we try, and that we must know them. We ask, why must we know, but it has no answer to give us. We must know that we may know.

So we wished to be sent to the Home of the Scholars. We wished it so much that our hands trembled under the blankets in the night, and we bit our arm to stop that other pain which we could not endure. It was evil and we dared not face our brothers in the morning. For men may wish nothing for themselves. And we were punished when the Council of Vocations came to give us our life Mandates which tell those who reach their fifteenth year what their work is to be for the rest of their days.

The Council of Vocations came on the first day of spring, and they sat in the great hall. And we who were fifteen and all the Teachers came into the great hall. And the Council of Vocations sat on a high dais, and they had but two words to speak to each of the Students. They called the Students' names, and when the Students stepped before them, one after another, the Council said: "Carpenter" or "Doctor" or "Cook" or "Leader." Then each Student raised their right arm and said: "The will of our brothers be done."

Now if the Council has said "Carpenter" or "Cook," the Students so assigned go to work and they do not study any further. But if the Council has said "Leader," then those Students go into the Home of the Leaders, which is the greatest house in the City, for it has three stories. And there they study for many years, so that they may become candidates and be elected to the City Council and the State Council and the World Council—by a free and general vote of all men. But we wished not to be a Leader, even though it is a great honor. We wished to be a Scholar.

So we awaited our turn in the great hall and then we heard the Council of Vocations call our name: "Equality 7-2521." We walked to the dais, and our legs did not tremble, and we looked up at the Council. There were five members of the Council, three of the male gender and two of the female. Their hair was white and their faces were cracked as the clay of a dry river bed. They were old. They seemed older than the marble of the Temple of the World Council. They sat before us and they did not move. And we saw no breath to stir the folds of their white togas. But we knew that they were alive, for a finger of the hand of the oldest rose, pointed to us, and fell down again. This was the only thing which moved, for the lips of the oldest did not move as they said: "Street Sweeper."

We felt the cords of our neck grow tight as our head rose higher to look upon the faces of the Council, and we were happy. We knew we had been guilty, but now we had a way to atone for it. We would accept our Life Mandate, and we would work for our brothers, gladly and willingly, and we would erase our sin against them, which they did not know, but we knew. So we were happy, and proud of ourselves and of our victory over ourselves. We raised our right arm and we spoke, and our voice was the clearest, the steadiest voice in the hall that day, and we said:

"The will of our brothers be done."

And we looked straight into the eyes of the Council, but their eyes were as cold blue glass buttons.

So we went into the Home of the Street Sweepers. It is a grey house on a narrow street. There is a sundial in its courtyard, by which the Council of the Home can tell the hours of the day and when to ring the bell. When the bell rings, we all arise from our beds. The sky is green and cold in our windows to the east. The shadow on the sundial marks off a half-hour while we dress and eat our breakfast in the dining hall, where there are five long tables with twenty clay plates and twenty clay cups on each table. Then we go to work in the streets of the City, with our brooms and our rakes. In five hours, when the sun is high, we return to the Home and we eat our midday meal, for which one-half hour is allowed. Then we go to work again. In five hours, the shadows are blue on the pavements, and the sky is blue with a deep brightness which is not bright. We come back to have our dinner, which lasts one hour. Then the bell rings and we walk in a straight column to one of the City Halls, for the Social Meeting. Other columns of men arrive from the Homes of the different Trades. The candles are lit, and the Councils of the different Homes stand in a pulpit, and they speak to us of our duties and of our brother men. Then visiting Leaders mount the pulpit and they read to us the speeches which were made in the City Council that day, for the City Council represents all men and all men must know. Then we sing hymns, the Hymn of Brotherhood, and the Hymn of Equality, and the Hymn of the Collective Spirit. The sky is a soggy purple when we return to the Home. Then the bell rings and we walk in a straight column to the City Theatre for three hours of Social Recreation. There a play is shown upon the stage, with two great choruses from the Home of the Actors, which speak and answer all together, in two great voices. The plays are about toil and how good it is. Then we walk back to the Home in a straight column. The sky is like a black sieve pierced by silver drops that tremble, ready to burst through. The moths beat against the street lanterns. We go to our beds and we sleep, till the bell rings again. The sleeping halls are white and clean and bare of all things save one hundred beds.

Thus have we lived each day of four years, until two springs ago when our crime happened. Thus must all men live until they are forty. At forty, they are worn out. At forty, they are sent to the Home of the Useless, where the Old Ones live. The Old Ones do not work, for the State takes care of them. They sit in the sun in summer and they sit by the fire in winter. They do not speak often, for they are weary. The Old Ones know that they are soon to die. When a miracle happens and some live to be forty-five, they are the Ancient Ones, and the children stare at them when passing by the Home of the Useless. Such is to be our life, as that of all our brothers and of the brothers who came before us.

Such would have been our life, had we not committed our crime which changed all things for us. And it was our curse which drove us to our crime. We had been a good Street Sweeper and like all our brother Street Sweepers, save for our cursed wish to know. We looked too long at the stars at night, and at the trees and the earth. And when we cleaned the yard of the Home of the Scholars, we gathered the glass vials, the pieces of metal, the dried bones which they had discarded. We wished to keep these things and to study them, but we had no place to hide them. So we carried them to the City Cesspool. And then we made the discovery.


Excerpted from Anthem by Ayn Rand. Copyright © 2014 Open Road Integrated Media, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Hailed by TheNew York Times as "a compelling dystopian look at paranoia from one of the most unique and perceptive writers of our time," this brief, captivating novel offers a cautionary tale. The story unfolds within a society in which all traces of individualism have been eliminated from every aspect of life—use of the word "I" is a capital offense. The hero, a rebel who discovers that man's greatest moral duty is the pursuit of his own happiness, embodies the values the author embraced in her personal philosophy of objectivism: reason, ethics, volition, and individualism.
Anthem anticipates the themes Ayn Rand explored in her later masterpieces, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Publisher's Weekly acclaimed it as "a diamond in the rough, often dwarfed by the superstar company it keeps with the author's more popular work, but every bit as gripping, daring, and powerful."

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Anthem 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 181 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ANTHEM is a moving novel that makes you think about everything around you. Ayn Rand shows the reader a completely different world. That doesn't know the word I they only know we and they always think of the greater good. It especially makes you think about your freedoms and rights. Equality 7-2521 is an example of a person without rights or freedom in a world where everyone is equal and a few select people are allowed to think and use their creativity. The setting in the novel is in a world where there is no technology. Equality is a street sweeper who isn't allowed to you his intellectual abilities. When cleaning one day Equality finds a tunnel and in this tunnel are a light bulb and a circuit breaker which have electricity. Equality then feels like he has discovered something that the world has never known about. Ayn Rand uses this because it is the privilege in which we take most advantage of and she shows use a world without electricity. Can you imagine a world without electricity? No computer, television, air conditioning, and most importantly no lights. Just like in the novel where they have no lights instead they use candles because in their society lights are banned. Another event that changes the story is when Equality and the Golden One (the girl he falls in love with) find the vacant house in the Forbidden Forest. This house is special to the story because it is filled with modern day amenities such as lights, beds, bathrooms, and other things that we take for granted. The largest impact of this house is that she points out the flaws of society and how we have so much that we don't need or even waste. But in the house Equality finds things that are left from the society that we have today and he learns to be able to think and try things and even have ideas of his own. When Equality is reading a book in the house he finds a word that he had never heard or seen before and it's the word I. Which to us doesn't seem like much but in a world where there is no "I" and everything is "we" it is a big deal. After learning this word he starts to realize its power and how it helps people and life grow, so he decides to start a new life with the Golden One and in this new society everyone will know the power of the word I.
Susie_Derkins More than 1 year ago
Some people find the society Ayn Rand creates in Anthem to be extreme. That being said, one must consider the perspective of a teenage girl in Soviet Russia whose father's pharmacy was taken by the communist government. The notion that everything belongs to the collective "We" and that one exists solely for the good of the state would surely lead to intense feelings of helplessness, anger, and frustration. Hence, Anthem. Told through the eyes of Equality 7-2521 in a society where there literally is no I in Team, the hero attempts to break from the herd and discover what once was, fueled by the mystery of the Unspeakable Word. An interesting choice for book groups!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anthem is a very fast read. It says a lot, in few words, beautifully written.
S-T-O More than 1 year ago
This book is a book that will leave you wanting more.
You'll read it, and re-read it. And re-read it.
I recommend you this book, jist to get you thinking or for a thrill of being in somone else's shoes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite book! I love this story and I read it again from time to time. Rand really covers so much in just 100 pages. I liked it so much that the next book I read was her 1000 page novel "Atlas Shrugged". Another excellent book! Anyone who only gives a one star rating is a flaming commie -- it's as simple as that.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Selfishness and social Darwinism is the philosophy of this book. Outdated and out of character in a modern, developed society.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I highly recommend reading this realitivly short novel because its about our times today. There are so many similarities its chilling. I pray its full realization never becomes reality in our times.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
amandacb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fairly interesting dystopian novel, albeit brief. I wanted to teach this novel to ninth grade students as an example of a dystopia, but my department head nixed the idea because of the implications of sex towards the end of the novel. (Yet, we read Romeo and Juliet and Their Eyes Were Watching God?) Rand's political and philosophical agenda is, of course, blatant, but one expects that with Rand's novel. I read her novels for the differing perspective, even though at times I feel she is trying to brainwash me with the repetition of her beliefs.
carter_who on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the first Ayn Rand book I've ever read. I'm currently reading The Fountainhead as well.I've been aware of Ayn Rand's views on collectivism, capitalism, and objectivism for many years now and I share her beliefs and ideology.Anthem is a very simple story, I read the whole book in about two hours. It's the story of a man who grows up being constantly punished for thinking for himself. The concepts of "I" and self are completly forbidden in this mass collective society.I love Miss Rand's style of writing and the great use of metaphor and imagery. The protagonist, Equality 7-2521's discovery of electricity and light describes the underlying theme that the collective mind lives in darkness and ignorance. It is the individual that matters, the individual that discovers and invents, the individual that creates.How poignant it is to think that this book, written in the 30's, really speaks to our day and our society's slow migration towards collectivism. It's a frightening wake up call for anyone who wishes to remain free from slavery. In Ayn Rand's own words, from the forward - "People who want slavery should have the grace to call it by it's true name. Collectivism is slavery."
miyurose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Even if you don¿t agree with Ayn Rand¿s politics, I think this is a worthwhile read. It¿s really about the importance of individualism and the dangers of collectivism, and the idea that independence can never be eradicated. Not a surprising message from a teenager growing up in Soviet Russia. Despite being born into a society where you are only a cog in the system and must do what you are told because there is no other option, Equality 7-2521 discovers that he has desires and needs that his society can¿t fulfill. If you had the desire to learn and create, could you voluntarily turn it off? It took me probably half the book to get comfortable with the words 'we' and 'they' referring to both one person and many, but once you can wrap your brain around that, the book is an easy read.
cwflatt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have been wanting to read her books for a long time. I was suprised when my son brought Anthem home from school as a required reading book. I read it in a day. An outstanding book of a scary future world were no one really matters only all of us matter. I told my some that as much as he believes in doing everything his way he will love this book. He puffed up went to his room and read it in a day also and came out enjoying the book and being glad he read it.
stevenschmitt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Although not her greatest piece of work, Anthem can serve as nice introduction to Rand¿s writing as it paints a 1984ish type of scenario where the individual is lost to history and only the `we¿ remain. Many people have a problem with Rand¿s style which is stringent and straight, leaving no ambiguity to the author¿s philosophy. If you are looking for writing that explores the grey of human existence you will not find it here, nor will you in any of her other writing for that matter - but if you expect thinking black & white and want a polemic expressed in a tight little tale, this is it.
lhazel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Having the freedom of choice is something that people of this country rarely realize is a privilege. Ayn Rand¿s descriptions of a futuristic society in which people have no choice in their lives truly puts this privilege of ours into perspective. In her novel Anthem, Rand gives readers a quick but thoughtful glance at life without this free choice. Throughout the novel the reader follows the main characters journey, Equality 7-2521. Right off the bat the reader is thrown into a world in which we find that writing is illegal; being alone itself is breaking the law and the moral code of the world. Equality 7-2521 lives in a world in which not only is personal thought is forbidden, but the idea of the individual is unheard of. The terms `we¿ and `they¿ are all Equality 7-2521 know to describe himself and others. A general grouping of people in the ¿World State¿ is all they must think of, in one unit, one entity- the brotherhood. In this distant future described, Rand shows the reader a place in which our world has gone from technological advancements to an entire regression in how the world is run; back to the most ancient of times. The world is run by great leaders of the ¿World State¿, and otherwise unquestioned by those who follow its society. There is no daring dream of difference or discovery by any, as far as the reader can tell. That is everyone except Equality 7-2521. His unearthing of enjoyment and pleasure through science and experimenting is what becomes the powerful key to this rapid paced novel.The differences between our world today and that of Rand¿s world in the novel are dramatic. With her distant voice in this first person point of view tale, Rand¿s model of a future dystopia is something that leaves the reader with goose bumps in the end. With the message of never forgetting to be the unique person that makes us all individuals in this world, and embracing the choice that one has to do so, it is one of the stories that may need to be read twice in order to understand its full picture. Quick but powerful, this novel truly strikes a chord in me to read more of Rand¿s work.
SunnySD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In a post-apocalyptic world in which there is no I, only the great collective we, one man dares to experiment with joy, explore science, and admire his fellow men. When he is condemned for his audacity, he flees expecting to die, but finds his life to be worth so much more.I'm not a fan of dystopian novels in general, but I rather like this one. Hard to believe it was written in the late 1930s.
GaryPatella on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is Rand at her absolute worst. Same message as always, but presented in the least profound and most dumbed down way possible. Do not read.
ca.bookwyrm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It¿s hard to classify Anthem. It¿s hard to even determine if I like it.I do like the message. That¿s an easy thing. I like the way it¿s written, too. But the novel itself¿ do I like it? I¿m not sure. The message is not so much aimed at today¿s audience, I think. It¿s (in my mind) a response to the ¿unity over all¿ mentality of communism. It¿s about the Self instead of the Community. I suspect it takes the imagery to extremes, but then it needs to. If it used actual events, there wouldn¿t be much point. Some people wouldn¿t get it. (Actually, I suspect some people still won¿t get it.)The hardest thing about reading this novel is the constant use of ¿we¿ instead of ¿I¿. As a writer, I can only imagine how difficult it would have been to write this aspect of the novel. It¿s simply not something we¿re used to as a society. On the other hand, it¿s a very simple thing (in theory) and yet it makes such a HUGE difference to the story. It wouldn¿t be the same if Rand hadn¿t used ¿we¿ even when referring to single people.One thing I can tell you without hesitation: I would not want to live in that world.Unrealistic though it seems, however, and as far-fetched as we want it to be, if you have ever seen people in a mob, you know the potential truth to the story. The prospect is rather scary. I hope my world never becomes anything closer to the setting for Anthem than it is today ¿ and, in fact, that it moves farther away from that fictional world. I think ¿ I hope! ¿ that we are in a better place than we were when this was written. If our luck holds, that trend will continue.
Kilgor_trout on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Anthem was a bit of a disappointment to me. It felt like she used the generic utopia story as a vehicle to shove anti-communist jargon down my throat. I can respect any philosophical idea in any book, but subtlety is a tool that talented authors have at their discretion. I haven't given up on Rand yet, this is the only book of hers I've read.
nickdreamsong on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This fable about a man who flees the organic collective society of the "we" and rediscovers individuality may, upon a first reading, seem dated. After all, we live in the shadow of the greatest "Me" generation the world has ever known, right?But there is something alarming and insidious in a world where language is taken away from a people, where students or employees or dissidents are punished for the words they use, where political correctness supersedes meaning. As I recently re-read Rand¿s novella, I could not help but think that Equality 7-2521 not only lived in a world bereft of self, but a world bereft of meaning, and I wondered if the path to that world began with the bowdlerization of social and political discourse and ended with the demise of the self.
erniepratt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Rated G
A sci-fi look at Ayn Rand's Objectivism Philosophy. A futuristic story about Individualism and following one's bliss.
nm.spring.08.E.Barns on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I greatly enjoyed this book, it had a great story and a great point to tell and show. It had great discriptions and it was very Interesting and i would have never guessed the ending of the book would happen the way it did.
crayonwillow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Was kind of a disappointment. I understand what she was trying to achieve...but it just didn't work in my opinion.
andreablythe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Told from the point of view of Equality{insert string of numbers}, the novel looks at a future society in which everyone is equal because all personal identity has been erased. The only purpose of a person's life is to serve the group and society is terrified and hateful of anything new or original. It was easy enough to read, but I wasn't stoked on this one. While I like the use of "we" to replace the first person narrative in order to show the group mentality, I didn't understand the {-point-} {+point+} of other aspects of the weird writing style, for example. I assume Rand intended it to serve a purpose, but I have no freaking idea what it is. There isn't much scene description either, no painting this world and making it a whole.Because what would be the point of that. The world presented here isn't meant to be complex beyond the simple moralizing fable Rand tells. The entire purpose of the unfolding story is clearly meant to teach that group-based societies and mentality are evil (reference to communism much?) and should never ever be put above the drive of the individual and of the ego. It's too black and white, too clear cut for me. The world is full of gray and multitudinous color. There is good and bad in everything. It's layered and complex. Anthem doesn't even sport the dumbed down simplistic fun and spectacle of an action story. It's just simplistic and readable, but ultimately dull.
booksandwine on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Obviously, this book is a diatribe against collectivism. Ayn Rand expounds on the importance of syntax, the meaning of we vs. I. Essentially, this book is about a man named Equality 7-2521, who is a free-thinker. Anthem begins by describing the society in which Equality 7-2521 lives. People start their lives by living in a home for babies, then they go to school, then a council decides upon their vocations at the age of 15. Oh and once a year they have what is known as the "day of mating."It is a crime to have thoughts which are different from the thoughts of others (thought-police anybody?).Anyways, Equality 7-2521 falls in love, makes some discoveries, and decides he is more important than the State. Along the way, many philosophical lessons are learned.This certainly isn't the worst dystopian novel I've read, but it isn't the best either. I can definately see the appeal to younger readers with a burgeoning interest in philosophy. At the age of 15, you probably would want to read something a little more accesible than The Republic by Plato, so this book would most likely come across as a more desirable read. To be honest, I really do think this book owes a lot to The Republic. Much like the Republic, children never find out who their parents are, so as to break the filial bond. Also, the members of the society described within Anthem are pretty much kept in the dark, much like Plato's cave. These people are tricked into believing there is no technology. Some leave the cave, some don't. Some see it as their obligation to help others leave the cave, some don't. Overall, I really think what did enhance this book for me was having read The Republic previously, and taking a class on Ancient and Medieval Political Thought/Philosophy, it really helped to clarify what ideals Ayn Rand was trying to express in her novel.
thea7 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Anthem is a novel written from the point of view of man called Equality 7-2521 who is living in a negative futuristic society. We learn at the beginning of the novel that Equality 7-2521 thinks differently from his many peers or brothers. He learns faster and processes information on a higher level than what is expected of a common man of his society. His characteristics and strive for knowledge ends up getting him in trouble and setting him apart from society. Ayn Rand manages to complete to whole storyline of Anthem in a little over 100 pages. Her writing style is very short and contains little detail. I can not decide if her style of writing helped the novel or not. I feel as the shortness of Anthem could be either be a pro or con to the novel. I enjoyed the story how it was, but I feel as if it could of used a little more plot. The major events in the novel took place too quickly, and just needed more to be written in between each event. Though from another point of view I feel as if the lack of plot was added on purpose to make the reader think more about the significance of each major event. Not a lot was explained about the actual story of Anthem, but Rand explained enough to clearly get her point across. One aspect of Anthem that I did not like was Rand¿s choice of characters and the roles that they played in the novel. Besides Equality 7-2521, the only other character that I feel that Rand created their role well was The Golden One. The Golden One plays an important figure in the book because her and Equality 7-2521 choose for themselves to love each other, which was unheard of in their world. I felt that the character International 4-8818 was irrelevant to the whole novel. He did not symbolize anything and his friendship with Equality 7-2521 was not very strong or meaningful. Anthem could have went on with the same symbols and themes without the addition of International 4-8818. Rand could have elaborated more on the characteristics of Collective 0-0009. He was an important character in Anthem because he was the leader of the World Council of Scholars which was suppose to symbolize intelligence and power. And yet he is fearful, and cowardly when he his put face to face with Equality 7-2521. Collective 0-0009 can represent the whole leadership in his society because he prohibits what he fears.Rand did an exceptional job of including many crucial themes in Anthem but also making the themes understandable to the reader. One of the most important themes in the novel is the idea of how important individualism is to maintain in society. Equality 7-2521¿s words at the end of Anthem explain his love for thinking for himself and expressing himself. He realizes that making his own decisions and having freedom brings his happiness. Rand made his words so strong and motivating that it makes it seem that losing sight of the individual will destroy progress and mental satisfaction. Another major theme in Anthem is how one tries to destroy what they fear the most. In Equality 7-2521¿s society outcasts and individuals are shut out of society and are not tolerated. The World Council of Scholars which is a group of leaders in this society fear that if one challenges them others will follow causing revolution. They fear that if people think for themselves and think of ideas such as freedom and pleasure, they will realize that society is corrupt. Ayn Rand creates multiple examples in Anthem of how the Council of Scholars immediately sabotages people who are opposed to there idea of living without individualism.