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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Anthem


I recently read my first Ayn Rand novel, Anthem.

It was fantastic!  Five Stars!

Ayn Rand's writing is so poetic and beautiful, I had to mark the book as I read.  I wanted to be able to go back and remember all of my favorite passages.
(For this post, I reread those marked passages; many of them gave me goosebumps.)

The beautiful writing made it enjoyable to read, but it was also deeply profound and symbolic.

This is a very short novel. Actually, more of a novella.
I read it in about three sittings, and probably less than four total hours.

If any of you are looking for an introduction to Ayn Rand's style and themes, or if you are just wanting a quick but excellent read, I would highly recommend Anthem.


Anthem takes place in England, sometime in the future.  Following a great war, society has been purposely rebuilt to a primitive pre-technological state.  All evidences of the previous society are made illegal, and every part of human life is tightly regulated. People are given designations and numbers instead of names, and are conditioned to think only in terms of the collective. The story focuses on one man who dares to explore beyond these confines.

Here are some of my favorite passages:

"It is forbidden, not to be happy. For, as it has been explained to us, men are free and the earth belongs to them; and all things on earth belong to all men; and the will of all men together is good for all; and so all men must be happy."

"The shoulders of our brothers are hunched, and their muscles are drawn, as if their bodies were shrinking and wished to shrink out of sight. And a word steals into our mind, as we look upon our brothers, and that word is fear."

"But we, Equality 7-2521, are glad to be living. If this is a vice, then we wish no virtue."

"There was no pain in their eyes and no knowledge of the agony of their body. There was only joy in them, and pride, a pride holier than it is fit for human pride to be."

"We do not know if we drank that water. We only knew suddenly that their hands were empty, but we were still holding our lips to their hands, and that they knew it, but did not move."

"...we ran. We knew not where we were going. We knew only that we must run, run to the end of the world, to the end of our days."

"I understood that centuries of chains and lashes will not kill the spirit of man nor the sense of truth within him."



1 comment:

Emmy said...

I'll have to add this to my reading list :)