Anthem Discussion and Study Questions
After reading, answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper. These questions will be used during class discussion and to review for test. These questions will be turned in at the end of the unit for a grade.
1) What literary form does Ayn Rand use to tell the story in Anthem?
2) What is the setting of the story? Does it take place in the past, present or future? How do you know?
3) To help create setting, Ayn Rand uses color imagery. Find two examples in the chapter. What colors does the author use? What image is she trying to convey?
4) The first page of Anthem begins, “It is a sin to write this.” Using textual evidence, explain why Equality is committing a sin when he writes.
5) Why does Equality refer to himself as “we”?
6) Equality describes himself as having a curse. What is that curse? How would your teachers react if you had Equality's "curse"?
7) Ayn Rand wanted Equality 7-2521 to stand out from his brothers. Explain how she accomplished this by contrasting Equality 7-2521’s physical attributes to those of his fellow men.
8) Why do Equality’s teachers disapprove of his quick mind?
9) What is the purpose for the Council of Vocation to assign jobs?
10) Why does the Council of Vocations assign Equality the job of street sweeper? Is it due to error, incompetence, or a more sinister motivation? Explain.
11) In this chapter, Equality 7-2521 states that it is very unusual for men to reach the age of 45. Offer several possible explanations as to why life expectancy is so short in his society.
12) Equality has identified a number of “transgressions” that he is guilty of. Name three of them.
13) Would you want to be friends with someone like Equality? Why or why not?
14) At this point in the novel, does Equality accept the moral teachings of his society? If so, why doesn’t he feel shame or remorse when he knows that he is committing a crime? Find textual evidence to support your answer.
15) a) Describe the society in which Anthem is set. Some areas to consider are the political structure, degree of technology, social relationships, quality of life, and education. b) Would you want to live in this society? Explain why or why not.
16) Reread the account of Liberty 5-3000 (pg. 38-39). What character traits are revealed in this brief description?
17) Find several examples of the ways in which this society tries to obliterate each individual's mind (and self) by quashing personal choices, desires, and values.
18) Of the whole range of feelings possible to man (joy, excitement, anger, embarrassment, etc.), why is fear the prevalent emotion in this society?
19) Equality chooses to give Liberty a different name, what is it?
20) Using the descriptions on pages 46 & 47, contrast Equality with the rest of the men living in this society.
21) Equality says “a word steals into our mind, as we look upon our brothers” (pg 46). What is that word and why would that be the word he thinks of?
22) Start a personal glossary in which you explain the following terms:
a. The Great Truth
b. the Unmentionable Times
c. the Uncharted Forest
d. the Evil Ones
e. the Great Rebirth
23) What word is Equality struggling to recapture at the end of this chapter? In your opinion, why is this word the only crime punishable by death in this society? How does this word contradict the ideals of this society? What could its rediscovery possibly lead to?
24) What does Equality discover in this chapter?
25) How important is this discovery? Describe four or five ways in which it would help society and make life easier or more enjoyable.
26) Outline some of the Council of Scholars’ beliefs. What does Equality say about those beliefs?
27) What is the name that Liberty has given to Equality? Does this name fit? Why?
28) In this chapter, the interaction between Liberty and Equality is one demonstration of the author’s use of foreshadowing in the novel. Based on this interaction, what might the reader expect in the future action?
29) What does Equality invent in this chapter?
30) Equality understands that his invention will benefit mankind greatly; however, this was not his main motivation for his experiments. What is the primary source of his “great joy”?
31) Equality is suddenly interested in seeing his own image. Why now? What emotions is he feeling?
32) Up until now, Equality has been sneaking in and out of his hidden place to work on his invention. One night he is caught sneaking back in to his “home.” What is his punishment?
33) How did Equality become free from the Palace of Corrective Detention?
34) The old locks and lack of guards in the Palace of Corrective Detention indicate that prisoners have never tried to escape. According to the text, why not?
35) Outline four of the Council’s reasons for rejecting Equality’s invention.
36) What are the real reasons behind the Council’s rejection and fear of the gift?
37) What does Equality mean at the beginning of the chapter when he says, “We are old now, but we were young this morning?” (pg 68).
38) Equality states that “We are doomed” but he does not feel doomed. How does Equality really feel once he is in the Uncharted Forest?
39) Equality has not expressed regrets for his actions except for one. At the end of the chapter, what is Equality’s great regret?
40) What is Equality experiencing for the first time in this chapter? What does he feel as a result?
41) Explain why Equality laughs when he remembers that he is “the Damned.”
42) What does the Uncharted Forest symbolize in Anthem?
43) Equality bends to get a drink of water and has a new experience (pg 80). What is the new experience? How does he react?
44) Equality and Liberty are reunited in the Uncharted Forest. What is it that Equality says is the “bond” between them?
45) Read the quote that begins “There is some error, one frightful error . . . (pg 86). In response to this quote, what do you believe is the error that Equality is trying to identify?
46) In this chapter, Equality questions the morality of his former society. Contrast what he was previously taught about solitude, good, evil and joy to what he now believes.
47) Write a paragraph describing the house and its contents in your own words. Explain why Liberty and Equality find it so strange and unique.
48) What great discovery does Equality make in this chapter?
49) Explain the following quotes in your own words:
a. “Whatever road I take, the guiding star is within me.”
b. “For the word ‘We’ must never be spoken, save by one’s choice and as a second thought.”
How can these quotes be applied to your life?
50) What does Equality now realize is the proper goal and purpose of his life?
51) Using examples from the text, explain in what ways “I” is like a God?
52) Reread the incident with the Saint of the Pyre on page 50. What was he trying to communicate to Equality?
53) Equality and Liberty take new names again. What are their new names? What reason did Equality give for choosing the new names?
54) What does Equality plan to do in the future?
55) What is the sacred word that Equality says he will cut above the doors and print on his banners?
56) In your own words define Equality’s sacred word.