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Anthem by Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand is the well known philosopher and author from the 1900s, best known for her works The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Both of these novels, as well as her other works, are of daunting length and intimidating depth, requiring a stamina that many people are reluctant to exert. However, she is an award winning novelist who has been celebrated for the past 100+ years, and is considered a must-read. Preceding her later masterpieces is a shorter piece titled Anthem. For those who are not familiar with it, Anthem is a quick, easy read that still packs in all of the unique philosophical, controversial conversations that Rand trademarks.

In this 105 page story, Rand tackles the concepts of dystopian society, individualism, objectivism, and identity through the lives of curious characters. The reader is introduced to a world where there is no conception of the individual identity; no one is referred to as their own being. The main character(s), named Equality 7-2521, takes on the pronouns "we" and "us" throughout the novel as they try to sort out their forbidden feelings for the being Liberty 5-3000. It is illegal for men to notice women or vise-versa, yet the presence of these feelings leads to Equality's questioning of the other unallowed actions. These are including defying the World Council of Scholars or Council of Home, leaving the City for the Uncharted Forest, and the general seeking of information from the Unspeakable Times. Equality, in their exploration of their troublesome curiosity, becomes a wanted criminal marked for death. "He committed the unpardonable sin: He had stood forth from the mindless human herd."

"He lived in the dark ages of the future. In a loveless world, he dared to love the woman of his choice... Ayn Rand's classic tale of a future dark age of the great "We" - a world that deprives individuals of name, independence, and values- anticipates her later masterpieces, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged." This really is an excellent ease into Rand's work, and in my opinion, is the prime example of what dystopian literature should accomplish.

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