Ayn Rand's Anthem is a tale of the victory of the individual human over the philosophy known as collectivism. The main character, Equality 7-2521, scales multiple hurdles in his quest for a better lifestyle. Although he ends up a vastly outnumbered fugitive of the only home he has ever known, his undying hope leads him to a more liberating freedom than he could ever have imagined.
After reading Rand's novel, my English class submitted essays to the Ayn Rand Institute for a writing competition. The following is an excerpt from my entry:
"In Equality 7-2521’s world, society as we know it lies abandoned for centuries, while Equality 7-2521’s crimes seriously challenge the Brothers’ social order. He believes he has done an admirable service by finding his new light, but the Scholars say that “what is not done collectively cannot be good,” (Anthem, page 73) The philosophies of choices and freethinking, along with what we consider today certain, unalienable rights, are unheard of in this fictional future.
The society Equality 7-2521 was born into facilitates monotonous beings that perform pre-assigned labor with obsolete technology. The authorities in his world discourage individual thought. As Equality explains in the beginning of the book, “it is a sin to think words no others think and to put them down on paper no others are to see. It is base and evil…and we know that there is no transgression blacker than to do or think alone” (Anthem, page 17). Thus, members of his civilization have been taught.
Through all this strange hardship, Equality 7-2521 clings to the hope for a better way of life. He searches for knowledge at every opportunity, risking his life to make discoveries in his beloved, sacred tunnel."