genre · Dystopian (The world presented is the world as it should NOT be.)
time and place written · The United States, 1937
narrator · Equality 7-2521 writes the journal of the events as they transpire over the course of several months.
point of view · Equality 7-2521 speaks in the first person (plural) He will refer to himself as “we” instead of “I.”
tone · Equality 7-2521 records his thoughts and actions in a straightforward manner, with no trace of irony.
tense · Present, with some past-tense narration
setting (time) · Sometime in the distant future, after the collapse of the social order because of the common acceptance of collectivist values
setting (place) · An unidentified city;
protagonist · Equality 7-2521
Collectivism vs. Individualism
Collectivism – the suppression of the individual to the group – whether to a race, class, or state does not matter. In Anthem, Ayn Rand will present a collectivist society that is stagnant and primitive, and the word "I" is obsolete.
Individualism/Objectivism – regards every man as an independent, sovereign entity who possesses an inalienable right to his own life, a right derived from his nature as a rational being. Individualism does not mean that one can do whatever he feels like doing; it means that every man or woman is an individual and has the same rights.
The individual . . .
will not run anyone else’s life, nor let anyone run theirs
will not rule or be ruled
will not be a master nor a slave
will not sacrifice themselves to anyone, nor sacrifice anyone to themselves
Anthem dramatizes the view that the self is destroyed in a collectivist society.
To prefer one person over another (as a friend or romantic partner) is committing the cardinal sin known as the “Transgression of Preference.”
It is wrong to disagree, to have independent thoughts, or to ask questions because these things will set you apart from others.
Self-assertion is forbidden.
All decisions are made by the “Council” in the name of the whole.
Individuals have no rights.
Everything which is not permitted by the law is forbidden.
Anthem depicts what happens to a society that implements selflessness. The result is what Ayn Rand believes is a subhuman society; what makes human beings human is having a self, which means having a mind.
A selfless individual is a mindless individual.
To practice selflessness, one must abstain from thinking and obey one’s masters. One must merge himself into the group and obliterate the individual identity. The result is a society of mindless robots as found in Anthem.
The Ayn Rand Institute (ARI)
The Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) is a nonprofit organization that works to introduce young people to Ayn Rand's novels, to support scholarship and research based on her ideas, and to promote the principles of reason, rational self-interest, individual rights and laissez-faire capitalism to the widest possible audience.
The major ARI objective is to cultivate a generation of intellectuals who will be effective advocates for the fundamentals of reason, rational self-interest, individual rights and capitalism. These professionals will be capable of articulating those ideas, at the highest level, to peers and students through publishing and teaching.
The ARI gives free copies of Ayn Rand’s novels to teachers and classrooms all over the world.
The ARI also gives out thousands of dollars each year through its essay contests.
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