One fascinating thing about Anthem by Ayn Rand is how the story engrosses a reader in its world. The gloom of collectivism in the story is so palpable that one can easily find one’s self hoping that not just Equality 7-2521, but the rest of the spirited citizens would escape from the city. Ayn Rand was brilliant in her use of language in the story, however, the story itself and the characters leave one with mixed feelings.
The story is a well-crafted one. Rand built a world of its own and developed a story and characters consistent with the world she created. However, as a reader, I was torn between exasperation at the believability of the story due to some loopholes, and a concession that those perceived loopholes are understandable given the context. For instance, for a city with such a strong regimentation of citizens, the corrective facilities are so lax that it was easy for a character to escape from prison and run through the city unchecked. But on the other hand, it is understandable that the corrective facilities will be lax given the record lack of resistance from the citizens.
Also, for a city that is keen on ensuring that everyone is where they are meant to be at every point in time, shouldn’t it be logical that some security officials be positioned in strategic places across the city to make sure that people who do not comply are discovered? Outsmarting the entire city was too easy for Equality 7-2521, but while it can be perceived as a loophole, it might also have been an intentional design by the author because, in the story, Rand painted the protagonist, Equality 7-2521 as being intellectually superior to the rest of the citizens.
The character, Equality 7-2521 is the centerpiece of Anthem by Ayn Rand. Except for Liberty 5-3000, other supporting characters are given so little attention that they can be regarded as mere extras in the novella.
The characterization of Equality 7-2521 is admirable, he is the typical fictional hero for some people to fantasize about– he is handsome, strong, intelligent, adventurous, sexy, and romantic. He is also somewhat relatable as he has his youthful struggles of questioning who he is and everything in his world. Then with time, we see him discover and embrace his true self.
However, the character Liberty 5-3000 is problematic as she makes a strong impression at first but later recedes into the stereotype of “beauty without brains”. At the first meeting of Liberty 5-3000 in the story, we a see haughty, fearless, and proud beautiful girl.
As the story progresses, we see more of her fearlessness as she defies the rules to interact with the man she loves. She also proves to be courageous by leaving her world behind and going into the unknown in search of the love of her life. However, upon finding her lover in the forest, she submits her independence completely to him and becomes more like a docile appendage to Equality 7-2521 instead of an individual in her own rights. Quite ironic for a book that places so much emphasis on individualism as an ideal.
Why is Anthem a good book?
Anthem by Ayn Rand is a good book because it is a short read that will not be daunting to any reader but filled with great messages about finding power in one’s self. It also has a strong theme on the evils of collectivism in its extreme form.
Who is the protagonist in Anthem?
The protagonist in Anthem is a character with the name Equality 7-2521. He is also the narrator and we see the story from his perspective. He adopts two other names in the course of the story. First, the girl he falls in love with names him The Unconquered, and towards the end of the end, he changes his name to Prometheus.
Why is ego important in Anthem?
In Anthem by Ayn Rand, ego is important because it is regarded by the hero as the heart of man’s freedom, honor, rights, and man’s life. It is also described as a secred word. This can be found in Chapter Twelve, pages 98-99 of the novella.
Lasting Impact on the Reader
Anthem Review: Ayn Rand's Chant of Egoism
Ayn Rand was a writer who used her fictional writings to project her philosophy to the world. Anthem, her only novella, was a short embodiment of her philosophical and political outlook. The book is not a bad read and its small volume makes it an easy read. However, the story while being a creative one has some loopholes in the plot and many underdeveloped characters that detract from its lasting impact on a reader. Also, being a work of fiction, it would have been more credit to the reader’s intellectual ability if the major theme had been laced into the plot and the characters’ dialogues instead of a long elucidation from one character. Overall, Anthem is not a book a reader would regret reading.
- Good Use of Language
- Great Themes
- Not a daunting volume to read
- Great Setting
- Poor character development
- Loopholes in the plot
- Conflicts are resolved too easily