Study Guide

International 4-8818 in Anthem

By Ayn Rand

International 4-8818

International 4-8818 seems like an artist by nature: he loves to draw pictures on the walls of his House. We don't know if these are edifying masterpieces or dirty graffiti, all we know is that they make other folks laugh. But drawing without being commanded to do so, gets someone like International 4-8818 into trouble. Like Equality 7-2521, he's punished by being made a Street-Sweeper.

International 4-8818's also got a contagious habit for smiling. A smile will just show up on his face for no apparent reason, and then other people start to smile too. As Equality 7-2521 says, "their eyes are like fireflies, for there is laughter in their eyes" (1.36). Needless to say, this also makes him unpopular with the higher-ups, since "it not proper to smile without reason" (1.36).

International 4-8818's also another "tall, strong youth" (1.36), and apparently one of the few people around who doesn't cower in fear all the time. It's no wonder Equality 7-2521 likes him. In fact, they're friends, although they never talk about it publicly, since friendship is forbidden. Nonetheless, they both know that they care for each other more than they care for other people.

Just how strong their friendship goes is revealed when International 4-8818 comes across the mysterious underground tunnel with Equality 7-2521 and Equality 7-2521 asks him to keep it a secret. That's a big no-no. But though International 4-8818's clearly more afraid of doing this than Equality 7-2521 is, he agrees not to tell, saying:

The will of the Council is above all things, for it is the will of our brothers, which is holy. But if you wish it so, we shall obey you. Rather shall we be evil with you than good with all our brothers. May the Council have mercy upon both our hearts! (1.63)

Spoken like a true friend. And, what's more, after that International 4-8818 enables Equality 7-2521 to sneak out to the tunnel every night during Social Recreation by keeping a place for him and letting him sneak back next to him in line when Social Recreation time is over.

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