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Anthem Author by Russian-American writer Ayn Rand

Anthem By

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Anthem By Ayn Rand

“Anthem”

is a novella written by Ayn Rand and first published in 1938. It is a dystopian fiction that portrays a future society that has abolished individualism, which the author sees as a necessary ingredient for human happiness and achievement.

The story takes place in a collectivist society where the word “I” has been eradicated and replaced by “we.” The main character, Equality 7-2521, is a street sweeper who has always felt different from the other people in his society. He is intelligent, curious, and ambitious, but these qualities are seen as a threat to the established order.

Equality 7-2521 discovers an abandoned tunnel from the Unmentionable Times (the distant past, which has been forgotten by the society) and uses it as a secret place to conduct scientific experiments and to indulge in forbidden individualist thoughts. There, he discovers the concept of electricity and the potential for great technological advancements. However, when he shares his discovery with the Council of Scholars, he is punished for breaking the law and is forced to flee for his life.

Equality 7-2521 eventually meets a woman named Liberty 5-3000, who shares his belief in individualism and his desire for freedom. They fall in love and decide to escape to a more liberated society. Along the way, they discover the ruins of the Unmentionable Times, and Equality 7-2521 becomes even more convinced that the past holds the key to a better future.

The novella’s themes revolve around the importance of individualism, the power of knowledge and the dangers of an oppressive government. Rand portrays the society in “Anthem” as a world where conformity and obedience are the highest virtues, while individual thought and ambition are seen as threats to the stability of the system. She argues that only by recognizing the value of individualism can people truly reach their full potential and achieve happiness.

Moreover, Rand’s writing style is clear and concise, with a focus on the characters’ internal thoughts and emotions. The novella’s setting is stark and bleak, emphasizing the lack of personal choice and the absence of human connection. Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism, which emphasizes individual rights and rational self-interest, is evident throughout the novella.

In conclusion, “Anthem” is a thought-provoking novella that explores the importance of individualism and the dangers of an oppressive government. Rand’s portrayal of a society that values conformity over individuality serves as a warning against totalitarianism and the suppression of personal freedom. The story’s themes and the author’s philosophy have made “Anthem” a popular work of dystopian fiction, with a lasting impact on readers around the world.

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