ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Anthem by Ayn Rand: A Summary and Book Review

Updated on April 23, 2018

“I know what happiness is possible to me on earth. And my happiness needs no higher aim to vindicate it. My happiness is not the means to any end. It is the end. It is its own goal. It is its own purpose."

Source

I don't know what it is about communist Russia that has gotten me so interested, but I just finished reading Animal Farm, which I have a review for (link at the bottom) and Anthem by Ayn Rand. Rand was born in soviet Russia and lived through the beginning of the emerge of communism, so her novels, The Fountainhead, which is an amazing novel, and Anthem are quite reflective of her beliefs and philosophy.

Anthem takes places in a future where the greater good of men is more important than the individual. In fact, the collective is so important that the word "I" has completely disappeared from their vocabulary, and when one talks they refer to themselves as "we" which can be very confusing if you don't catch on early. It took my about a chapter to actually get it, but once I understood, it made it much easier to read and a lot more interesting.

The story is very simple. A man feels that he has more potential than he is given, and is even punished for this. He goes around the City's back and teaches himself things that are reprimanded when he brings them to light. No pun intended ;)

Eventually, he finds a woman, who is quite like himself, but they are forbidden to speak to each other, let alone acknowledge each other's existence.  This makes it that much more difficult and unbearable for the main character to live where he does now.  And I completely understand.  It actually sounds like an awful time and place to live.  Who would want to always refer to themselves as part of a whole and never being a singular individual?

Not me!

Eventually though, he escapes what would have ended up being a death at the stake, into the woods, where he's sure no one will follow.  They're all too scared and it's absolutely forbidden, among everything else.  But someone does follow him! The love of his life! And they make a home together and start learning about the "Unmentionable Times" and live happily ever after.

And it was an entirely inspiring story.

That's just the shortest possibly summary of this novella, but I can tell you that it is absolutely an amazing story. It is a little slow at first, but once you reach the climax it is well worth the read and Rand's philosophy is wonderfully displayed.

My favourite part is when the main character starts to use "I" which brings me a sense of accomplishment and joy for the characters and that's what I always look for at the end of something I've read.  Although I can't say I had any expectations of this book other than that I wanted it to be just as good as The Fountainhead, and it lived up to it!

 I love Ayn Rand and hope to tackle Atlas Shrugged soon. You can bet there will be a review!

Let me know what you guys thought of Anthem!

R.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Stephen Rakoczy profile image

      Stephen Rakoczy 

      4 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Since you mentioned Soviet Russia near the beginning, I thought I'd suggest Ayn Rand's book "We the Living". It's the closest she came to an autobiography and is set in post revolution Soviet Russia. A simple way to describe it is a love triangle story but the novel highlights how the "dictatorship of the proletariat" crushed individual freedom and resulted in a state where power hungry people played politics to get ahead. Although it mainly criticizes communism, it serves as a criticism of any dictatorship. Personally, I think it's better than any other Ayn Rand book because the characters feel real and develop throughout the story. I think it would be a great book to read after previously reading Animal Farm.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)