Anthem was a wonderful read! I loved that it was packed full of controversial ideas indirectly debunking the idea of Communism.
Interesting, but not gripping, story of the end result of collectivization from someone who left Soviet Russia.
Accidentally requested (meant to order We the Living), this book is actually available for free download via iBooks and Project Gutenberg. Nonetheless, I appreciated this book for its brevity in contrast to Rand's other tomes. Fast and picturesque, although polarizing for its ideological stances. Out of her bibliography, probably the book with the most appeal across the aisle.
I enjoy reading Ayn Rand and this book did not disappoint. Couldn't put it down, the story ended too soon.
Written by Ayn Rand, Anthem is a hymn to the importance of the individual, set in a dystopic future where a totalitarian regime has all but eradicated individual choice and even individual identity. The protagonist is a man named Equality 7-2521, although he later chooses the name Prometheus, because he hopes to return the spark of individual value to a world that has lost it.
Anthem is Rand's first work to advance her Objectivist philosophy, which grew in large part as a response to the Bolshevik Revolution during her childhood, and her family's ensuing loss of wealth and comfort. Not surprisingly, perhaps, the dystopia in "Anthem" is a grotesquerie of collectivism. In the course of the story, Equality 7-2521 recounts the various sins he commits: a desire to learn and to understand the world, rather than being content with being a street sweeper, the job that was assigned for him by the committee; singing and being happy, because everyone is already happy in this dystopic paradise, and he should not presume to be happier than his fellows; feeling and friendship and love for specific people, because that means he favors some people over others; and of course, being taller and healthier than others, because difference is wrong.
In that sense, "Anthem" has an empowering message for teens and other young readers who may feel social pressure from their own peers to be something other than what they want to be, or to do things that don't interest them. It is a good thing for people to pursue their own dreams, forget their own identities, and conform to others' expectations for themselves, rather than to forge their own identities and pursue the things that interest them.
But one of the things that irks me about Rand's philosophy, especially as I've seen it applied by libertarians in recent years, is that it rejects the notion of responsibility to one another. (Equality 7-2521 is pretty clear on this point in Chapter 11.) The other thing is that, particularly in books like "Atlas Shrugged," Rand inverts the order of the world and claims despite all logic that it is the wealthy and the powerful who are oppressed and exploited by society, and not the people whose hard work makes their success and fortune possible.
In order for a society to truly function and not come apart at the seams in a generation, it is necessary for us to respect the inherent worth we have as human beings created in the Imago Dei, something Equality 7-2521 explicitly and repeatedly rejects in his grand-sounding but ultimately self-serving essays at the end of the book.
Ironically, as Equality 7-2521 becomes the the first of Rand's characters to espouse this worldview, he claims for himself the name "Prometheus." Unlike Rand's sympathetic but ultimately unlikeable hero, the original Prometheus was driven by compassion for others and a concern for their welfare that came before his own. By bringing fire from Olympus to Earth, Prometheus earned the ire of Zeus and for a thousand years was tormented daily by an eagle that came to tear out his liver, which would regrow every night so that he could suffer anew in the morning.
Which Prometheus would you say is the better, and more moral role model?
I was prepared to dislike a book by Ayn Rand since my political views are at the opposite end of the spectrum from hers.
However, a girl I was tutoring had been assigned to read it for school, and in order to help her, I had to read it.
I found it interesting and touching. It is a story of escape from a dystopia where all individuality has been lost. Rand creates two charming characters who assert their individuality. It is cleverly written.
As a story, I enjoyed it. As a warning about liberal political ideas, I found it ludicrous. The world she portrayed was way more extreme than even the most radical liberal would ever advocate! She set up a straw man to knock down -- pretty unfair. However, it is a lovely story.
Anthem is a story of human extremes. It is as well-written as all of her writings. In this story, society has worked to solve the problem of our destructive natures by eliminating all reference to self, and working only for the collective. As with all of her work, it is a startling view of the consequences of human nature's tendency to create blanket statements or policies to solve a problem.
Anthem is a short read. This version has the original text in the back, complete with strikeouts and re-writes.
Good, very in line with Ayn Rand's philosophies; to the point- short and sweet.
Science fiction, derivative of Zamyatin's _We_ but with Ayn Rand's quintessential prosperity focussed individualism. A short, brisk, enjoyable read.
i believe that this book is just as relevant today as it was in the '30's when it was written.
it is about escapism and running from a society where individuality is definitly NOT encoouraged....just like today!!!!!
A short little gem by Ayn Rand. If you like her, you'll love it.