Ayn Rand is a talented writer and I enjoy the way she tells a story. Often my problem is with how she ends her works of fiction, but that is not totally the case with Anthem.
Anthem is a novella that tells the story an individual is trapped in a society where everyone is forced to refer to themselves as ‘we,’ while silencing their own imagination, pursuit of happiness, and any other desire.
Our protagonist is a Street Sweeper who witnesses someone getting a lashing, and everyone cheers, but he does not. Yet, he continues to go along with what his community demands of him.
After discovering a hidden mine deep in the woods, he begins a search for his individualism and even falls in love with a beautiful woman. She too witnessed the lashing and begins to feel for our Street Sweeper who calls her his Golden One. What follows is an amazing story of one man and woman’s journey to discovering their individuality and their happiness.
Anthem‘s plot is a great read. It has drama, science fiction, and even a slight touch of steampunk. It has a dash of everything for readers. I found that the story is groundbreaking. That being said, some of her conclusions wanting. While Objectivism (Ayn Rand’s philosophy) is very intellectual, but it does lack in some qualities. It demands a desire for ego and greed, but how can a person gain any sort of wealth without cooperation from their fellow man?
As for the story itself, the plot is fascinating and it truly captures the desire of every man wanting to be free from the handcuffs of an overbearing government and society that values only cooperation instead of freedom.