Study Guide

Liberty 5-3000 in Anthem

By Ayn Rand

Liberty 5-3000

Liberty 5-3000: Live Free or Die!

Liberty 5-3000's name suits her well. So does New Hampshire's license plate. Everything about her suggests something wild and untamed, which aggressively refuses to be broken. She's gorgeous, proud, fearless, and guiltless. She's "straight and thin as a blade of iron" (2.4). She's even got long golden hair that flies "in the wind, shining and wild, as if it defied men to restrain it" (2.4).

That fierce and untamed spirit, which shines through her physical features, is no doubt what makes Equality 7-2521 fall for her so completely. It's in seriously short supply in his society, where everyone else is the definition of docile.

But there's something a little bit unnerving about Liberty 5-3000 too. Her pride and strength of spirit actually seem to translate into contempt and disgust for nearly everyone and everything she encounters. We see this over and over again:

Their eyes were dark and hard and glowing, with no fear in them, no kindness and no guilt. (2.4)

They threw seeds from their hand as if they deigned to fling a scornful gift, and the earth was a beggar under their feet. (2.4)

We stopped and we saw that their eyes, so hard and scornful to the world, were looking at us as if they would obey any word we might speak. (4.1)

What to make of those "hard and scornful" eyes "without kindness"? She has a lot of spunk, but does Liberty 5-3000 actually sound like, well, a nice person? Not exactly. Then again, we haven't had to grow up in her society and fight to keep our spirit alive since day one. Maybe if we did, we really would feel that kind of haughty disgust for everything. It is interesting, though, that Equality 7-2521 doesn't seem to have the same contempt that Liberty 5-3000 does.

Liberty 5-3000's Male-Domination Complex

Of course, as you can gather from the last quote, the one exception to Liberty 5-3000's contempt for everything and everyone is Equality 7-2521. She doesn't just respect him; she worships him. Check out what she says to him when she finds him in the forest to see the contrast between her feelings for him and everything else:

"Your eyes are as a flame, but our brothers have neither hope nor fire. Your mouth is cut of granite, but our brothers are soft and humble. Your head is high, but our brothers cringe. You walk, but our brothers crawl. We wish to be damned with you, rather than blessed with all our brothers. Do as you please with us, but do not send us away from you." (9.17)

Liberty 5-3000's feeling toward others seems to be either worship or disgust. It's almost like she has contempt for everything inferior to her, but secretly wants to find a superior man. And she believes she's found one in Equality 7-2521, to whom the otherwise contemptuous Liberty 5-3000 enjoys saying, "Your will be done" (10.16).

Liberty 5-3000's worship of Equality 7-2521 is also on proud display when he allows him to rename her. He picks the name Prometheus for himself, and the name Gaea for her. (For a bit on the meaning of the names, check out "Names" in "Characterization.") Sure she gets to be named after a goddess, but did she pick that name? No. That Equality 7-2521 gets to name Liberty 5-3000 suggests that he is the dominant one in the relationship, and that Liberty 5-3000 willingly submits to his dominance.

The whole submissive naming thing may seem surprisingly old-school coming from a radical egoist like Rand. But, in fact, many of Ayn Rand's female heroes come off this way as far as their relationships with men are concerned. Needless to say, this hasn't always made Rand so popular with feminists.

Neither, for that matter, does the tendency of Rand's female characters to be display other slightly regrettable feminine stereotypes. For instance, as soon as Liberty 5-3000 discover the house from the Unmentionable Times she promptly gets stuck in front of a mirror, and spends the whole day there:

We did this work alone, for no words of ours could take the Golden One away from the big glass which is not glass. They stood before it and they looked and looked upon their own body. (10.18)

She's never seen her reflection before, and she may be attractive, but still. This act on her part only serves to continue the unfortunate stereotype of female vanity.