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ANTHEM STUDY QUESTIONS

Write complete, thoughtful responses to the questions you choose to answer. Detailed Chapter Questions Chapter I: Respond to four (4) of these questions. 1 a) In a well-organized paragraph, 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. The society in which the Anthem is set is very strict, controlling, dehumanizing, and gloomy. The people there are not looked at as individuals; they often refer to themselves as “we”, “they”, “us”, and so forth. The society is overly controlled. No one is allowed to choose the job they would like. No one is allowed to go to college unless they are told they are allowed to, and people are not allowed to do certain things unless they are told they may, or if there is an appropriate reason to. There are no social relationships allowed, because the rules in the society say that no one person should be liked more than another. The people are not allowed to get married, not allowed to love, and not allowed to show feelings or opinions what so ever. Babies are made, but you are chosen who you are to mate with and when you are to mate with them. I would rather not live at all than live in such a stupid society such as this one. It makes no sense at all that such people can live this way and put up with it for all these years. I, personally, think that if I lived there, I would be the one who would take a stand and stand up for what I believed in. Being an artist and all, I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t just take a moment to doodle on a piece of paper, or draw something in my sketchbook. I would dress how I wanted and act how I wanted. I would laugh when I wanted and stay up as late as I wanted. I would break all of their rules no matter how much trouble I got in, because I would know that somewhere out there, there is a person who wishes they were brave enough to break free of such a horrid civilization. I would know that someday, that brave person would come and help me. They would break me out of my prison cell and help me create a new, free society where people can do what they please, with laws here and there, but certainly not nearly as extreme as the laws in that civilization. 2. In this chapter, Equality 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. Lack of happiness, lack of proper food. Some men go crazy and run away into the Uncharted Forest. Others break the rules and get to put to death, or whipped to death.

3. Clearly, Ayn Rand intended Equality to stand out from his “brothers”. Explain how she accomplishes this by contrasting Equality’s physical qualities and character traits to those of his fellow men. Equality is very handsome. He is strong and muscular. His limbs were thin and straight and hard and strong. His brothers are very weak. Their limbs are thin and lanky. 4. Why does the Council of Vocations assign Equality 7-2521 the job of street sweeper? Is it due to error, incompetence, or a more sinister motivation? Explain. I’m not sure if they knew what he was capable of. Either they did and they didn’t want to put him in a place where he could possibly corrupt the order of their civilization, or they had no idea how brilliant he was and they just randomly put him in the street sweeping job. 5. When does this novel take place — in the past, the present, or the future? How do you know? The future. In the story, Equality finds an old tunnel. The tunnel was filled with our present day objects and light sources, such as the light bulb, yet everyone in the story says that those things which they found were from hundreds of years ago, so it obviously must be in the future. 7 a) How would your teachers react if you had Equality’s “curse”? b) Why do Equality’s teachers disapprove of his quick mind? Well, knowing most teachers, I would say that is Equality put his “curse” to use at school, the teachers would be absolutely ecstatic. I’m almost positive Equality would be in some sort of gifted program, or he might just go to Pineview’s school for the gifted. I think Equality’s teachers were angry with him at how smart he was because they want him to be like everyone else. Everyone in that society must be alike, so if there’s one thing different everyone flips out. The teachers might have also been scared that Equality might use his brains to figure out things from the past and try to change their way of life. 8. 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’s committing a crime? Find textual evidence to support your answer. Equality has lived in this society all his life and he knows that the consequences of disobeying the laws are extreme he doesn’t agree with the moral teachings of his society but he is afraid of what they might do to him if he does not follow the rules. When Equality and his friend find the hidden tunnel from the past, they knew that they probably shouldn’t explore it, but they do it anyway because curiosity is purely human nature and sometimes you just have to go with you instincts rather than what other people say for you to do. Equality knows he is

getting older and his time on earth is shrinking. He’s sick of having to live a life with so many rules and so little fun. Equality is a very deep thinker. I’m sure he thought about his life so far and the future of his life and what it was worth to him. That’s why he took a stand. He didn’t wanted to live and unhappy life. Equality wanted to act like an individual and do what pleased himself, rather than what pleases others. It’s ok to do nice things for other people and help people sometimes, but it’s not healthy to live you entire life living for not yourself but for others. “We shall go down,” we said to International 4-8818. “It is forbidden,” they answered. We said, “The council does not know of this hole, so it can’t be forbidden.” And they said, “Since the council does not know of this hole, there can be no law permitting to enter. And everything which is not permitted by law is forbidden.” But we said, “We shall go, nonetheless.” 9. Would you want to be friends with someone like Equality 7-2521? Why or why not? I would. He’s one of the only normal people out of the entire city. He’s smart, good looking, and he’s kind. Chapter II: Respond to three (3) of these questions. 1. Re-read the account of Liberty 5-3000 on page 38. Which character traits are revealed in this brief description? Appearance and personality. Appearance: straight body, thin as a blade of iron. Dark, hard, glowing eyes. Hair as golden as the sun. Personality: there was no fear in her eyes, no guilt, and no kindness. 2. 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. The society these people live in forbid anything done without reason/purpose. You cannot sing without a reason, laugh without a reason, or talk without a reason. In this society, you cannot have marriage and marriage has a lot of desirable assets. Love is not allowed. Especially a love for a person. The people there think that no one should like anybody more than another. I think the reason why this society doesn’t like individualism is because in previous years (our present day time) being individual caused a lot of problems because when you can do what you want and you have all of this

freedom, people take advantage of it. People begin to do bad things such as murder, steal, commit adultery and do other crimes. It’s ok to want to prevent bad things from happening in the world, but to not even allow someone to sing a tune to themselves when they feel like it is absurd! 3. Contrast Equality 7-2521 with the rest of the men living in this society (pg. 46). The rest of the men living in the society with Equality have pretty much given up on life. They think they might as well just stop hoping for a change and face the fact that this is how they are going to be forced to live the rest of their lives. In the story, the men walk around with their heads bowed and droopy. Their eyes are dull and they never look anybody else in the eyes. The shoulders of the men are hunched, and their muscles are drawn. These men are full of fright, while Equality still lives to believe that he can change this way of life. 3. Of the whole range of feelings possible to man (joy, excitement, anger, embarrassment, etc.) why is fear the prevalent emotion in this society? Fear keeps everything intact. As long as everyone is scared, they won’t want to do anything that would get them in trouble. As long as no one gets in trouble then the society remains the same. Orderly and over strict. 4. Start a personal glossary in which you explain the following terms: the Great Truth, the Unmentionable Times, the Uncharted Forest, the Evil Ones, the Great Rebirth. The unmentionable times: the times period way back when people lived how our society lives today. The uncharted forest: a forest that is not charted on the maps and is said to be very dangerous. This is also the place that at least one man a year goes to try and escape from their civilization, and never returns. The evil ones: the few normal people that live in the civilization who wanted to be individuals. The great rebirth: when the evil ones get burned alive and the civilization goes “back to normal”. 6 a) What word is Equality struggling to recapture on page 49? ego b) In your opinion, why is mentioning 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? Well first of all, you only have to know the definition to understand why the word ego is forbidden. Ego: the “I” or self of any person; a person as thinking, feeling, and willing,

and distinguishing itself from the selves of others and from objects of its thought. This word is the polar opposite of this civilization’s entire meaning. This civilization is exactly trying to prevent the entire meaning of that word. They

don’t want anyone to refer to him or herself as “I”. They don’t want people to express themselves or show their opinions or separate themselves from others. They don’t want anything to do with individualism. If anyone rediscovered this word, it could cause a great uproar, such as curiosity, confusion, anger, distaste, longing to want to be and individual and so forth. If anyone found this word, they would take it for granite and people would start to break out of their routine-like lives, therefore making the world just how it was back in the Unmentionable Times (our present day). Maybe they just didn’t want to have war. Maybe these people were afraid of argument and didn’t want to cause any harm to any other country. Maybe they were afraid that if they didn’t live this way, the human race would be somehow wiped out.
Chapter III: Answer one (1) of these questions. 1 a) What does Equality discover in this chapter? b) How important is this discovery? Describe 4 ways in which it would help society and make life easier or more enjoyable. Electricity. This discovery is very important. Today, our world wouldn’t be able to survive if there wasn’t electricity. It provides light, hot/cold water, air-conditioning, power for your hair-dryer, power for your toaster, power for you ipod charger, power for your fan in your room, power for you television (etc). This discovery could be a turning point in this civilization’s life, and yet they do not allow it even when Equality shows the Council how he can make a light bulb shine. 2. Outline some of the Council of Scholars’ beliefs, and Equality’s refutation of those beliefs. Chapter IV: Answer this question 1. Discuss the appropriateness of Equality’s new name, “Unconquered”. Unconquered isn’t just some common-day cheesy name we hear all the time, although there are plenty of those. I don’t think anyone in the world has the name Unconquerable. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that this name has a very obvious meaning. Unconquerable: Impossible to overcome or defeat.

Equality’s personality is exactly like the definition of this word. Equality does not back down even though the consequences of his actions are lifethreatening. He knows that if he ever wants to be happy in his life, he must make a stand against his own society and find a way to escape.

Chapter V: Answer one (1) of these questions. 1. Equality understands that his invention will benefit mankind greatly; however, this was not his main motivation in conducting his experiments, and it is not the primary source of the great joy he experiences. Explain and discuss. 2. In your opinion, why is Equality so interested in seeing his own image at this point in the novel? What emotion is he feeling? I think Equality has always wondered what he looks like, and since there was no way of knowing what he looked like where he used to live, when he has an opportunity to see his own face he looks. He wants to see how other people see him, and of course he’s just curious about what he looks like. When Equality finally sees himself, he is overwhelmed with joy because he’s handsome and muscular, like a model unlike his fellow brother men who are less attractive and plain looking. Chapter VI: Answer this question. 1. The old locks and lack of guards in the Palace of Corrective Detention indicate that prisoners never tried to escape. Why not? There has only been a few people in the jail because most people are too afraid o break any rules. The reason why the locks are so crappy and there are hardly any guards is because when someone actually does go to prison, no one thinks they would be brave enough to try and break out and run away. Unfortunately, Equality was. Chapter VII: Answer one (1) of these questions. 1. What is Equality experiencing for the first time in this chapter, and what does he feel as a result? 2. Explain why Equality laughs when he remembers that he is “the Damned”. Equality laughs because he doesn’t understand why people like him who have wonderful lives are called “the damned”. His life in his eyes is the best thing that has ever happened to him. He pities his old civilization and laughs at how stupid their way of life is. Living with so many rules and so little freedom to do the most basic things doesn’t seem like a life worth living. 3. What does the Uncharted Forest symbolize in Anthem? Chapter VIII: Answer one (1) of these questions. 1. Outline four of the Council’s reasons for rejecting Equality’s invention. 2. What are the real reasons behind the Council’s rejection and fear of the gift? The Council fears that if they allow these inventions to be put back in their lives, then more and more changes will occur and the earth will end up like how it was in the Unmentionable Times. As far as I’ve read, the unmentionable times was when their society way back (our present day) became destroyed due to too much freedom and an out-of-control society. The Council was just scared

because the thought of letting those inventions back in their lives reminds them of their brutal past. 3. What does Equality mean, at the beginning of the chapter, when he says, “We are old now, but we were young this morning” (p. 68)? Chapter IX: Answer one (1) of these questions. 1. On pages 82 and 83, Liberty contrasts Equality to his fellow men. Paraphrase this passage. 2. 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. Chapter X: Answer this question. 1. Describe the house and its contents in your own words, and explain why Liberty and Equality find it so strange and unique. Chapter XI: Answer two (3) of these questions. 1. What great discovery does Equality make in this chapter? 2. Explain the following quotes in your own words, and discuss how they can be applied to your life: 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.” 3. What does Equality now realize is the proper goal and purpose of his life? 4. In what ways is “I” like a God? 5. Re-read the incident with the Saint of the pyre (pg. 50). What was he trying to communicate to Equality? Chapter XII: Answer two (2) of these questions. 1. Why do the main characters take the names Prometheus and Gaea? Why weren’t they allowed to choose their names in their old society? 2. What does Prometheus plan to do in the future? 3. Prometheus reaches the important realization that, “To be free, a man must be free of his brothers”. Cite several examples from Anthem that illustrate the truth of this statement.