Anthem by Ayn Rand

Oh, Ayn Rand.  How to handle a book that you go into absolutely reeking of bias?  Here’s my problem with Ayn Rand: Those stupid essay contests for scholarships.  What good does it do to hand a giant book full of some woman’s philosophical theory to a high school student and then ask them to write an essay about it?  It always felt a little bit like brain washing to me.  Still, every year the train of students seeking scholarships rolls into the library and every year I can’t help but roll my eyes.

Needless to say, when I pulled this slip out of my book jar I cringed but was also relieved that it wasn’t one of the longer ones.  In the end it really wasn’t that bad.  I actually kind of enjoyed bits of it.  Plus, it was nice to tear through a book in a day.

Equality 7-2521 lives in a dystopian society where everything is decided by the state and all of life is lived for the state.  Everyone is taught from birth that there is no greater good than living for their brothers.  Equality was an unusually bright boy and the elders saw this.  As a result, Equality is made into a street sweeper when he would prefer to be a scholar.  One day he stumbles across a hidden underground tunnel that he makes into his own study.  There he commits crime after crime.  He spends time alone.  He questions.  He writes.  Soon he even falls in love.  When Equality stumbles across the miracle of electricity, he thinks that he has found his way to being a scholar and that all of his transgressions will be forgotten.  However, that’s just the beginning of his journey.

Of course I had problems with this book.  The first one was Rand’s intro in which she takes the heavy handedness of the story and makes it even heavier.  Honestly, the reader can’t miss the point that is being made so there’s no reason to drill it into her head before she even starts the story.  Second, I was kind of put off by the romance line.  I mean, the woman Equality falls for is described in terms that make her seem hard and cold.  Then Equality says that he knows she will obey him.  Was being an individual and thinking for yourself only meant for him?  It just felt a little off.

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