An Entrancing Dystopian Novella about Regaining One's Individuality
Set in an obscure and undetermined future dystopian era, when humankind has shed its individuality almost completely, Anthem is one of Ayn Rand's greatest works, and speaks as a warning to all humanity about the dangers of ignoring individual thinking.
The story tells about a 21 year old young man, known by the designation Equality 7-2521 who lives in a world where individual actions and thoughts are all but banned and anything from selecting a partner or a vocation to technological evolution is regulated in great detail by various Councils.
Equality strays from the normal path, however, and despite his brilliant scientific mind, he is assigned the work of a street sweeper. This turn of events, however, allows him the freedom to explore lost underground tunnels where clues of a world from a distant past are hidden. He also befriends a young girl by the name of Liberty 5-3000 who later becomes his lifelong partner on his path to rediscovering individuality.
Written in 1938, this remarkable book was well before its time and is seen by many to have been a warning for both current and future generations against what socialism could become. This, in fact, became the grounds for much criticism brought against Anthem, with two publishers in the US and England refusing to publish the book, commenting that "the author does not understand socialism."
It was only many years later that the novella was finally published in the United States under a small publishing house with libertarian views, owned by some of Ayn Rand's friends.
To this day, the book and the story behind it remains quite controversial, and has sparked the interest of conspiracy theorists, many of whom believe that Ayn Rand's work itself and the criticism it had sparked during past decades may actually be proof that individual freedom is much less accessible than most people think.
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