Study Guide

Anthem Love

By Ayn Rand


For men are forbidden to take notice of women, and women are forbidden to take notice of men. But we think of one among women, they whose name is Liberty 5-3000, and we think of no others. (2.2)

Apparently in Equality 7-2521's society, love doesn't exist. Or at least, it isn't allowed. But Equality 7-2521's fallen in love with a woman anyway. Right away love is already starting to teach him that he can't care equally for all people (which is exactly why it's forbidden). He can't think of anyone but his beloved.

Their body was straight and thin as a blade of iron. Their eyes were dark and hard and glowing, with no fear in them, no kindness and no guilt. Their hair was golden as the sun; their hair flew in the wind, shining and wild, as if it defied men to restrain it. (2.4)

Equality 7-2521 is first struck by Liberty 5-3000's physical appearance. She's straight and strong looking, unlike everyone else (who's hunched and weak looking). But he seems particularly drawn to the absence of fear and guilt he sees in her eyes. (Equality 7-2521 himself seems to have his share of guilt.) As for the lack of kindness…why that would be attractive we just don't know. What are your thoughts?

We stood still; for the first time did we know fear, and then pain. And we stood still that we might not spill this pain more precious than pleasure. (2.5)

Equality 7-2521's first experience of a feeling of love is intense. Kind of a mixed bag, isn't it, with all that fear and pain thrown in? But he clearly likes it. It's also interesting that this is the first time in his life Equality 7-2521 admits to having felt afraid. The horribly oppressive society he's lived in has never once scared him, but an attractive woman does the first time he sees her.

It is our second Transgression of Preference, for we do not think of all our brothers, as we must, but only of one, and their name is Liberty 5-3000. We do not know why we think of them. We do not know why, when we think of them, we feel of a sudden that the earth is good and that it is not a burden to live. (2.11)

Equality 7-2521's love for Liberty 5-3000 makes her seem vastly more important to him than anyone else. That is one of the biggest no-nos so far as his society is concerned, because he's not supposed to prefer any one person to another. It's also striking that Liberty 5-3000 seems to make him so much happier than he's ever been. It's almost as if he's surprised to find that life can be pleasurable, rather than a burden.

Yet we call them the Golden One, for they are not like the others. The Golden One are not like the others. (2.12)

Liberty 5-3000 is unique in Equality 7-2521's eyes. He gives her a new name, essentially giving her an individual identity by doing so. It's noteworthy that he's never thought to give himself a name before. Instead, it's love for another person that first makes him identify someone as an individual.

And we sighed, as if a burden had been taken from us, for we had been thinking without reason of the Palace of Mating. And we thought that we would not let the Golden One be sent to the Palace. How to prevent it, how to bar the will of the Councils, we knew not, but we knew suddenly that we would. (2.35)

Love for Liberty 5-3000 also leads Equality 7-2521 to one of his first experiences of possessiveness. He wants Liberty 5-3000 to be his and his alone, and feels resentment towards both the government who would take her away and towards anyone else who would have her.

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)

There's something a strange in the whole Liberty 5-3000-Equality 7-2521 dynamic. Equality 7-2521 thinks it's attractive that Liberty 5-3000's contemptuous of everybody else. But Liberty 5-3000's attitude towards Equality 7-2521 seems strangely submissive.

We have followed you," they said, "and we shall follow you wherever you go. If danger threatens you, we shall face it also. If it be death, we shall die with you. You are damned, and we wish to share your damnation." (9.15)

This is an important statement from Liberty 5-3000 here. She's just chosen to follow Equality 7-2521 into the forest, without being sure of finding him. She's also chosen to leave her society behind forever, and "damn" herself with him. Basically, she's saying she can't live without him, and wants to undergo anything he undergoes, even death. Is he as devoted to her as she is to him?

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 sounds positively worshipful here. If this quote isn't enough to show it, right after saying this she bows to Equality 7-2521. Something about how strong and capable and manly attracts her, and she downright reveres him for it.

"Your will be done," they said (10.16)

More submissiveness thing from Liberty 5-3000 here. She speaks to Equality 7-2521 as if he's her master here, and obeys him. He's the one who decides that they'll stay in the house they've just found forever. (In other words, he's the master of the house.) Later on, he's also the one who chooses her name.