From inspirational to defiant, readers are bound to find quotes that buttress the themes of individualism, knowledge and inventiveness and adventure in Anthem by Ayn Rand.
There is nothing to take a man’s freedom from him, save other men. To be Free, a man must be free of his brothers.Anthem(Chapter Twelve, page 92)
This quote is saying that individuals are free on their own except when other men encroach with demands and expectations based on brotherhood. Ayn Rand sees brotherhood and communal values as bondages that compromise an individual’s freedom.
Whatever road I take, the guiding star is within me; the guiding star and the loadstone which point the way. They point in but one direction. They point to me.Anthem (Chapter Eleven, page 85)
This is one of Equality 7-2521’s new resolutions. He vows to make himself the center of all his concerns and endeavors. This is the epitome of Ayn Rand’s individualistic philosophy.
The fortune of my spirit is not to be blown into coins of brass and flung to the winds as alms for the poor of spiritAnthem (Chapter Eleven, page 86)
This is a rejection of the indebtedness of an individual to other humans. It is a vehement assertion in artistic language that reflects Rand’s creativity as well as her controversial views.
For in the temple of his spirit, each man is alone. Let each man keep his temple untouched and undefiled.Anthem (Chapter Eleven, page 86)
Here, Ayn Rand uses religious analogies to project her idea of individualism. Rand in her lifetime is a self-acclaimed atheist who claimed to have no faith in any religion. But ironically, while the sphere of human reasoning keeps regarding her views as controversial, some religious beliefs are in line with some aspects of her philosophy of individualism. For instance, a religion like Christianity holds altruism as a virtue but in the end, each man is held to account for his soul alone.
I owe nothing to my brothers, nor do I gather debts from them. I ask none to live for me, nor do I live for any others. I covet no man’s soul, nor is my soul theirs to covet.Anthem (Chapter Eleven, page 86)
This quote can be used to make a distinction between individualism and selfishness. While selfishness seeks self-fulfillment at the expense of others, individualism seeks self-fulfillment but without demands or contributions from others. Here, the protagonist is trying to even the balance on the scale of his detachment from the collective: that he has no obligation to others as others have no obligation to him.
The word “We” is as lime poured over men which sets and hardens to stone, and crushes all beneath it and that which is white and that which is black are lost in the grey of it. It is the word by which the depraved steal the virtue of the good, by which the weak steal the might of the strong, by which fools steal the wisdom of the sagesAnthem (Chapter Eleven, page 87)
Rand does not see collectivism as complementariness but sees it as an injustice in which the less privileged prey on the privileged. She sees the word “we” as a destructive instrument on humanity and condemns it outrightly.
I am a man. This miracle of me is mine to own and keep, and mine to guard, and mine to use, and mine to kneel before!Anthem (Chapter Eleven, page 85)
Here, the protagonist has come to accept himself as an individual man and sees himself as a wonderful being that must be esteemed as paramount above all things and guarded at all cost. This is the heart of the anthem Rand is chanting in this novella.
Knowledge and Inventiveness
The secrets of this world are not for all men to see, but only for those who will seek themAnthem (Chapter Three, page 37)
This was said by Equality 7-2521 when he made a discovery that defied all the conventions held to be the absolute truth by the World Council of Scholars. He realized that individuals only find answers when they question things and seek answers for themselves. This quote is Rand’s tribute to all the great inventors among humanity.
We do not know but we shall learn. We cannot stop now, even though it frightens us that we are alone in our knowledge.Anthem (Chapter Three, page 39)
This reflects the hero’s thirst for knowledge and his fear that he may be alone in appreciating the knowledge he possesses. It is also a tribute to inventors whose innovative ideas are often not embraced by the majority.
For they have nothing to fight me with, save the brute force of their numbers. I have my mindAnthem (Chapter Twelve, page 91)
This quote expresses Rand’s belief in the superiority of an individual mind over a clueless crowd. Equality 7-2521 thinks this quote to himself when he decides to use his invention to protect his territory and feels confident that he can defeat the entire city on his own because he has knowledge that they do not possess.
Centuries of chains and lashes will not kill the spirit of man nor the sense of truth within himAnthem (Chapter Twelve, page 89)
This is saying that oppression will not succeed in annihilating a man’s spirit and the truth he guards within. That even across the ages, heroes will sprout to further the quest of the individual man.
Look ahead. It is our own world, Golden One, a strange, unknown world but our ownAnthem (Chapter Nine, page 73)
This is the hero, Equality 7-2521, conveying to Liberty 5-3000 his excitement to venture into an unknown world of his own to discover new possibilities. It reveals the adventurous spirit of the protagonist.
It is my eyes which see and the sight of my eyes grants beauty to the earth. It is my ears which hear, and the hearing of my ears gives its song to the world. It is my mind which thinks and the judgement of my mind is the only searchlight that can find the truth. It is my will which chooses , and the choice of my will is the only edict I must respectAnthem (Chapter Eleven, page 84)
This is asserting the individual man as the ultimate force to reckon with in any quest. That as man ventures to see, hear and understand the world around him, the individual man must know that he alone is the essence of all his earthly quest.
What is the Great Truth in Anthem?
In Anthem by Ayn Rand, The Great Truth is a mantra that all citizens of the City are taught to recite and imbibe. The Great Truth reads thus: “that all men are one and that there is no will save the will of all men together”
What is the blackest transgression?
The blackest transgression in Anthem by Ayn Rand is “to do or think alone”. The society in Anthem is so totalitarian that the vilest crime is to act or think thoughts that are not in conformity with everyone else.
What is the author’s message in Anthem?
The author’s main message in Anthem is that the individual human is paramount, superior and ultimate and that collectivism is destructive to the individual and will eventually lead humanity to retrogression. Also, among other messages, that dictatorship and oppression will not stop a truly individualistic person from finding his individuality.
Why is Equality’s name ironic?
Equality’s name is ironic because he is not equal to the rest of the citizens, rather he is superior to the rest both physically and mentally. he is six feet tall, which is above the majority of the citizens, he is intelligent and grasps knowledge faster than his peers, and he makes a discovery no one else in the city is able to comprehend.