Anthem Ayn Rand Critical Essay/Review

1065 words - 4 pages

AnthemWhen I first began to read this book, I was a little hesitant because the book was relatively short and at the time I thought that short books weren't really worth reading. The novel has about 128 pages but the text is quite small. Most short books that I have read either weren't very good, or it had a sequel to it which left me with anxiety and wonder because I wanted to know what happened next. I could never do that though because I didn't have the next book. However, there was no sequel to this book; it was all together in one very well written and exciting story.Anthem is a book written by the famous author, Ayn Rand, who has also written other books such as We The Living, The Virtue of Selfishness, and Atlas Shrugged. Anthem, in my opinion, should be the most famous out of them because honestly, it is one of the best books I have read. It is almost like the book reached out into my body and sucked me in. I suggest to anyone who hasn't read a good book lately to read this one.The book is in such a different writing style that at first it may be a little complicated to keep up with it. Equality 7-2521 is a young boy who is the main character of the story. As you can see, that seems like a very odd and unusual name and indeed it is. In this story, a person cannot have their own name or independence nor can they say the word "I"; it is known as the Unspeakable Word. If you were to say "I", you could either be punished, banned, or even executed.Anthem has this mythic and ancient feel about it, and at times it even reads as if it were a work of scripture. A large part of that is because of the style in which it's written. But it also helps that Rand makes use of a healthy amount religious language, and a few mythological and Biblical allusions.The religious language isn't hard to find. In the very first sentence, we come across the word "sin". Many of the other words used throughout the story to describe that which is forbidden in Equality 7-2521's society also have a religious resonance: Transgression, Evil Ones, Unspeakable Word, Unmentionable Times. It's often been noted that totalitarian societies adopt some of the trappings of organized religion, and effectively become religion for the population. Ayn Rand may be capturing that idea here.In the last chapters, there also seems to be a bit of mythic and religious allusion going on too. The most obvious case is the choice of new names by Equality 7-2521 and Liberty 5-3000 in the last chapter: they pick names from the Greek myths associated with gods of creation and (in Prometheus' case) light. But besides that, there are also a passages from Equality 7-2521's anthem to ego which sound a lot like verses from the New Testament of the Bible.There's a lot of light symbolism in Anthem, which helps to add to the mythic/religious feel of the story. The most important instance of it centers around Equality 7-2521's invention of a light bulb. Think of the scene. Equality...

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