Anthem by: Ayn Rand
Jemima Micah T. Sadsad
BS Business Management
Submitted to: Sir Aoux Santos
It’s a sin to not write this. For finishing this will allow me to acquire one fourth of my grade on the most-anticipated subject—A subject that is hard, yet easy; A subject able to be both loved and despised; A subject whose aim is to know thy self, yet, when thoroughly studied, you would end up losing what you think is yours. This subject I am babbling about is not just a subject; It is the subject: Philosophy. ~
Well, at first look, this is how I comprehended the novella “Anthem”. Simple message relayed through tough words, when really that’s not the point of it. Anthem is about a boy who was born with the curse of knowing things more superior than most of his society—a society that does not accept progress unless approved by everyone. This boy then meets a girl with qualities like her, and later falls in love with her. Even though their society forbids a love like theirs, they didn’t mind and kept it a secret. He tried to help their society through his discoveries, though ended up escaping it, and trying to create a new one of his own. It has a typical story line with a dystopian theme. Aside from that there’s nothing really more from it. Or is there? ***
Having read the book again (while trying hard to read between the lines; picking up every lesson I could make use of), I have reflected on a few new things which I did not find during my first read. I have reflected on individuals present in the story and how they relate to me, the society showed in “Anthem” and how it could be reflected to my country, and my general motion and conclusion on what the story is all about.
One very prominent element that I could reflect on are the main characters in the story. The main characters present in the story are Equality 7-2521 and Liberty 5-3000.
Equality 7-2521 (also known as “The Unconquered” or “Prometheus”) – The main character is a brave, curious, strong, and intelligent street sweeper who thinks of himself as cursed. He knows that he is cursed, yet knows not how to resist it. He believes in individualism and rejects the collectivist society around him. Learning was too easy for him because of his quick head. He asks too many questions that his teachers forbade him from asking. “He only wishes to know. Equality 7-2521 represents the superiority of a singular intellect to the homogeneity of the masses, who cannot think for themselves—the society of shapeless people who are indistinguishable from one another. At first read, I thought to myself, he (Equality) is too self-centered, thinking that he is far superior than his society, and that his only flaw is the society’s disapproval of him. Also, I don’t like how he came up with his conclusion of his ego being the center of his universe (though, I’m not saying that the conclusion is wrong). It’s just so unthinkable how without knowing what the word “I” really means, he suddenly knows what it is and how to use it.
On the other hand, I like how his curiosity always gets the better of him. I like how he is eager to know and discover things even though he knows that it is forbidden to do so. I love how Equality 7-2521 takes risks to justify his thirst of knowing more. These character traits of Equality 702521 made me reflect more on the adventures of learning, rather than the concept of individualism. I like how his quest full of myriad mischief turned out to be an amazing discovery of the light bulb (which for me symbolizes progress and/or change). I love how he soon realizes that his learning is not really for the society, but rather for him and him alone. One thing I also admire about Equality 7-2521 is his love for Liberty 5-3000, that even though it is forbidden, they still chose to continue their love. Selfish...