Friday, April 16, 2010

Ayn Rand's Anthem

In a highly socialistic seemingly-medieval aged world of the future every person follows the council's guidelines to a "T." In this world no hunger exists. No strife or outright evil presents itself readily. In fact the criminals keep themselves locked in prison, for they understand that they have done wrong and they must have adequate time to repent from their wrongdoings. In this world the council of vocations decides what a person's career will be after they finish schooling. And in this world, the word "I" and "you" cannot be found. Everyone uses the words "we" and "they" instead, as well as verbs to have correct subject-verb agreement. These people possess no individuality, no hope. However, one man decides not to be like the rest. Equality defies the rules and regulations of the government to blaze his own trail and attempt to restore the world to the heights civilization once achieved. Ayn Rand's Anthem engrossed me with constant plot twists and unexpected happenings.

Despite the adequateness of the storyline, one fault of this book lies in the very stylistic substitution of plural words for singular ones. At some points in the book multiple people are in a given area, and the use of "we" can either mean that Equality or the entire group of them do something. In all fairness I must admit that most of the time the author covers this weakness by preceding the action by mentioning how Equality goes off on his own. Moreover, whenever the number of participants is indeterminable, the action they are doing seems irrelevant or otherwise unimportant.

Ayn Rand used this book as a discreet method of spreading her theology of objectivism. Essentialy this theology highlights man as his own reason for existance. Objectivism states that we as humans exist to fulfill our own desires, and only we alone can do this. Objectivsim states that there are no "higher powers" at work, and that human altruism wastes lives. She does this by setting equality in a world where altruism is the way of life, and the government, although it claims to be equal with the people, is essentially worshiped as a god. By breaking free through his own power he shows that as humans we have all we need at our fingertips to survive and thrive. Needless to say, Ayn and I do not see eye to eye on all the points of objectivism, although some I do agree with.

Anthem, as a novel, presents a compelling story of the triumph of the human spirit over any and all opressive forces. The pace seems fast enough, although sometimes confusing as the story is written in retrospect. The manuscript also serves the role of propaganda supporting Ayn's objectivism. Despite this subliminal influencing, Anthem reamains a good read and a decent way to pass some time.

105 pages

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