Anthem Book by Ayn Rand: Summary, Characters, Glossary & Quotes

Anthem Summary: The story of Anthem Written in 1937, Ayn Rand’s novel ”Anthem” is a critique of collectivism and its effects on society take place in some unspecified future time and place in which freedom and individual rights have been obliterated. Collectivism the political philosophy holding that an individual exists solely to serve the state is dominant and has led to the establishment of a global dictatorship of the Fascist or Communist variety.  

The story takes place at an undefined future date when mankind has introduced another Dark Age. Technological improvement is now thoroughly planned and the concept of distinctiveness has been eliminated. A young man is known as Equality 7-2521 insurgents by doing secret scientific research. When his activity is unearthed, he flees into the outback with the girl he loves. Together they plan to settle a new society depended on rediscovered individualism.

Anthem Summary

Anthem Summary

Anthem Characters List

Equality 7-2521

A street sweeper, the protagonist of the novella. Equality 7-2521, who later renames himself Prometheus, believes in individualism and declines the collectivist society around him. He is arrogant and self-centered, strong, beautiful, and brilliant.

He is highly inquisitive and hunger freedom to research and think, and he is unafraid of the society of mindless drones around him. Equality 7-2521 represents the superiority of a singular intelligence to the homogeneity of the masses, who cannot think for themselves and are indistinguishable from one another.

The Golden One

A beautiful peasant girl with whom Equality 7-2521 falls deeply in love. The Golden One exhibits her subservience to Equality 7-2521 by granting him to change her name from Liberty 5-3000 to the Golden One, and afterward, Gaea. The Golden One is proud, vain, strong, and bitter.

She loves Equality 7-2521 because he is distinct from most men around her. With him, she confronts with a wish to find the word “I” in order to reveal her love for him. The Golden One is relatively undeveloped as a character, behaving mostly as the object of Equality 7-2521’s affection.

The Transgressor of the Unspeakable Word

A scapegoat for the word “I.” The Transgressor of the Unspeakable Word experiences no pain as he is burned alive because he knows the definition of individualism. His death foreshadows the misfortune and exile of Equality 7-2521, and he portrays the way to die accordingly, in Rand’s view, for the faith of egoism.

International 4-8818

Equality 7-2521’s the only friend. International 4-8818 sights Equality 7-2521 as a prophet. When he and Equality 7-2521 discover the tunnel in which Equality 7-2521 shields to write his journal and make his inventions, he is rived between loyalty to his friend and his appeal not to break the law.

International 4-8818 portrays the citizen who privately seeks his own meaning but is incapable to bring about it because he cannot take the step of crashing with his society.

Collective 0-0009

The head of the World Council of Scholars. Collective 0-0009 is shapeless and cowardly, like all representatives of the World Council. He scared of and hates Equality 7-2521 for tearing the rules because he holds that only those judgments moved by the council can be of value. Collective 0-0009 portrays the thinking force behind the unpleasant collectivism of the city.

Anthem Book Summary

A youth named Equality 7-2521, who has unearthed a hidden tunnel and hides in it to write, knows his loneliness violates all the laws of his society. Even though he does not feel regret for his actions, he begs the reprieve of the ruling Council. As he spends more time alone, he understands that loneliness suits him, and he starts to crave more and more time by himself.

From his tunnel, Equality 7-2521 records episodes from his childhood. As a child, Equality 7-2521 wished more than anything to be a scholar. He held that he was cussed with a terrific curiosity, which made him prefer some things to others and to prefer some people to others.

He usually fought with the boys at the Home of Students, and he was criticized by his teachers for being too smart and too tall. He tried to coordinate with the standard the others set, but no matter how seriously he tried, he was smarter and more rapid than they were.

When the Council of Vocations assigned him to be a street sweeper instead of a scholar, he was contented because it meant he could atone for the sins he had engaged. When he was ten, Equality 7-2521 saw the public completion of the Transgressor of the Unspeakable Word, who had discovered the word I” and was lighted to death in the town square as retribution for using the word.

While he was burning, the Transgressor exhibited no pain but locked eyes with Equality 7-2521. Equality 7-2521 comes to hold that that moment blessed him as a disciple of the same demonstration as the Transgressor. Equality 7-2521 begins to regulate experiments and shortly discovers electricity.

After many weeks of work, he successfully evolves a lightbulb from the elements he finds in his tunnel. He decides that he must share his creativity with the world and resolves to present it to the World Council of Scholars when it assembles that year in his city.

In the meantime, Equality 7-2521 has faced the Golden One, a beautiful peasant girl who is proud and imperious. He knows it is erroneous to do so, but he conveys to her when he gets the chance, and they instantly fall in love. One day, she offers him some water from her hands, and he drinks it, not getting why this act makes him think of the Palace of Mating, where he and all other grown citizens are sent once a year to have s*x.

Before he can show the lightbulb to the World Council, Equality 7-2521 accidentally returns late to the Home of the Street Sweepers, where he lives. When he declines to tell his Home Council where he has been, he is lobbed into the Palace of Corrective Incarceration.

There he is annoyed, but he still refuses to tell where he has been because he wants to keep the lightbulb a mystery until he gets to show it to the World Council. He remains detained until the World Council convenes, when he breaks out of the Palace of Corrective Detention and goes to the World Council, predicting to be acquited and reconciled with his brothers.

When Equality 7-2521 appears and tells the World Council his story, however, the World Council dismisses him out of fear and anger. It intimidates them to kill him and to get rid of his lightbulb. He cannot stand for having his lightbulb destroyed, so he grips his invention and flees the city.

He runs to the Uncharted Forest where he unearths that he is free at last to do as he wishes. A few days later, the Golden One appears. She has tracked Equality 7-2521 into the woods. They vow to live together in peace and solitude.

After they have been hiking for several days in the mountains, they find a dumped house from the Unmentionable Times. The Golden One rejoices in the finery she finds in the house, and Equality 7-2521 consumes the library. He unearths the meaning of the word I,” and he assures to protect his home and from there launch a new race of men who will hold in individualism and the never-ending dominance of the ego.

Anthem Important Glossary

City of the Damned city in which Prometheus and Gaea already lived, and from which they fled.

City Theater a large tent in which are functions plays for the social recreation of the workers. The plays are about the virtues of toil and the need to reparation oneself for one’s brothers.

The Box of Glass elementary form of an electric light that Equality 7-2521 has re-invented. Though he knows little about electricity, he acknowledged that lightning is caused by the same force that generates the light.

Council of Eugenics state agency that governs all s*xual activity and procreation. Its members decide who will sleep with whom, based on the best involvement of the state, not the happiness of the men and women involved. If all residues of individuality and personal choice are to be annulled, then the Council must be certain that the sexual partners have no attachment to, or feelings for, each other.

Council of the Home the leader of the appropriate barracks where a group of person lives. Because this society probably has no individuals, all decisions are made by a sub-group that controls the larger group.

Council of Vocations the group of kings whose specific function is to decide an individual’s earnings. By forcing the best young minds into labor, the leaders hope to quell any strength of intellectual dissent to their regime.

Ego the self. That prospect of an individual that thinks, forms rates, and makes judgments. Here it refers to the need that individuals have to be redeemed of the muzzling restraints of collectivism, free to use their own minds and dignity in their own individual singleness.

Eugenics a scheme for improving the human species through control of genetic factors in mating.

Gaea goddess of Greek belief gave birth to the earth and to the titans.

Golden One name that Equality 7-2521 gives in his own mind to Liberty 5-3000. He gives her this name not purely because her hair is as golden as the sun but also because the straightness of her freight and the fearlessness of her eyes cause her to stand out, to shine forth from the other women.

Great Rebirth the time span in which the Unmentionable Times end and the one Great Truth is taught. During this time, political independence is wiped out and believe in living for one’s own happiness is annihilated. This is the beginning of the dictatorship in which humans must present exclusively to deliver their brothers and sisters.

Great Truth the belief that human beings are not individuals but more portions of the whole. This society has been indoctrinated with the view that individuality is unreal, that the human race is like an ant colony in which each person is not a single, separate whole but an adjunct of a larger social unity.

Home of the Peasants place of the house for the women who toil in the fields outside of the city limits. Liberty 5-3000 humans here with the other women who involve in the work of farming.

Home of the Scholars the residence of intellectuals and scientists whose task is to gain knowledge and unearth new truths.

Home of the Useless where the aged of this society are sent at 40 years of age. They are thought to be too worn with toil to be of further use to society. This society is so requiring in the knowledge of nutrition, medicine, and science that the life expectancy has shrunk back into the early 40s.

loadstone a strongly magnetized stone, especially one including magnetite; something that attracts, as with magnetic force.

Palace of Corrective Detention the prison to which Equality 7-2521 is taken after he is discovered absent from the theater. The prison, as essentially everything in this backward society, is dilapidated, posing no difficulty to Equality 7-2521’s escape when the time is right.

FAQ

What Is The Main Idea Of Anthem?
The Main Theme Behind Rand’s Anthem Is The Importance Of Self-discovery And Self-awareness. Rand, Like Many In The Twentieth Century, Was Concerned With The Loss Of Self If People Were To Give Up Personal Rights That Include The Word “I”.
What Happens In The End Of Anthem?
When Equality 7-2521 Arrives And Tells The World Council His Story, However, The World Council Rejects Him Out Of Fear And Anger. It Threatens To Kill Him And To Get Rid Of His Lightbulb. He Cannot Abide Having His Lightbulb Destroyed, So He Grabs His Invention And Flees The City.
Why Is It A Sin To Write Anthem?
It Is A Sin To Write Because The Society Has Destroyed All Knowledge Of The Past, And They Feel That If People Expressed Their Individuality Through Writing That It Would Somehow Ruin The Society That Believes That The Group Is More Important Than The Individual.
What Is The Message Of Anthem?
Without A Doubt, Individualism Is The Core Theme Of Anthem. The Entire Text Is Essentially A Parable Designed To Illustrate The Paramount Importance Of Ayn Rand’s Idea Of Individual Will.
What Is The Forbidden Word In Anthem?
The First-person Pronoun ‘I’ Is The Unspeakable Word In Anthem.
Why Is Anthem Written First Person?
The Example Used In Anthem Was Significant In Showing First Person Point Of View Because The Narrator Is Referring To Himself When Speaking Of Subjects In The Story. This Example Is Written From The Author’s Point Of View, While He Also Gives His Opinion.
Why Did Ayn Rand Title Her Book Anthem?
Later, Rand Changed The Title Because She Wanted The Reader To Discover The Importance Of The Ego During The Course Of The Book. The General Meaning Of The Word Anthem Is A Song Of Praise Or Celebration; Think Of The National Anthem That We Sing At The Start Of Ball Games And Other Public Events.
What Does Light Symbolize In Anthem?
Light Represents Truth In Anthem. Thus, Liberty 5-3000 Becomes The Golden One, And Equality 7-2521 Becomes Prometheus, The Bringer Of Light. Light Illuminates Human Dignity And Human Error For Rand, Both Of Which The Society In Anthem Tries To Sweep Under The Rug.
What Is The Only Crime Punishable By Death In Anthem?
Speaking The Unspeakable Word Is The Only Crime Punishable By Death.
What Is The Conflict In Anthem?
The Main Conflict In Anthem Is One Of Man Vs. Society. Equality And His Friends Wish To Be Individuals, But They Are Forced To Be Part Of The Collective “We.” A Conflict Of Man Vs.
How Are Jobs Assigned In Anthem?
The Council Of Vocations Is A Group Of Men Who Decide Where Each Person Will Work When They Come Of Age (18 Years Old). Equality Is Assigned The Roll Of A Street Sweeper Because It Is A Job Where He Would Be Less Inclined To Use His Brain To Create Rifts In The System.
What Are The Three Holy Words In Anthem?
In His New View, The Only Three Holy Words Are “I Will It!”
What Word Can Anyone Speak In Anthem?
After That, All Of Humankind Started To Think Of Itself As One “Great We.” In Fact, Equality 7-2521 Can Only Speak Of Himself As “We,” And Doesn’t Seem To Know The Word “I.” The Great Rebirth Also Meant A Reversion To The Dark Ages.
What Is The Punishment For Speaking The Unspeakable Word In Anthem?
Speaking The Unspeakable Word Is The Only Crime Punishable By Death.