Ayn Rand’s Anthem discusses many controversial ideas throughout the book. Often times the ideas shown are extreme examples and often polar opposites. Most often the ideas used by Rand can be perceived as one is completely bad and the other good. One of the best examples of this is the extremes of caring only for the whole and the opposite of caring only for the self. Rand has extreme ideas of both of these and expresses them often in Anthem. These two ideas are the backbone for the whole story and deliver the main message Rand wanted to express. Ayn Rand constructed “a philosophy for living on earth” (Ayn Rand, 111) to abide by based on her own opinions she had formulated since living in a communist society and coming to the West. She called this philosophy objectivism and it most evidently stays away from focusing on the whole. Objectivism is centered on the individual and reason, “the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man’s senses” (Ayn Rand, 112). Throughout the book, Anthem, objectivism is expressed in all aspects and is used to tell what is benevolent and what is bad. One way Ayn expresses her idea of objectivism is by making the antagonist in the book very oriented towards the whole. Rand describes the City in the beginning of Anthem as caring only for the best of the group and completely shunning the self. This is completely opposite to her philosophy of objectivism, so Rand infers to the readers that this is a horrible way to live and completely wrong. Ayn refers to the caring only for the whole, or we, as “lime poured over men, which sets and hardens to stone, and crushes all beneath it” (97). This is the first of the extreme opinions of Rand’s that are shown throughout Anthem and is made out by her to be bad.
Ayn Rand has set her beliefs in an idea she calls objectivism and displays them heavily in
Anthem. Her philosophy of objectivism is that a man’s “own happiness [is] the moral purpose of his life” (Ayn Rand, 111)...
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