Study Guide

Anthem Chapter 12

By Ayn Rand

Chapter 12

  • Equality 7-2521 explains that he discovered the word "I" when he read the first book he found in the house.
  • When he finally understood the word, he started to cry, and dropped the book. It was that beautiful.
  • Equality 7-2521 also understood that it had been his sense of himself – of "I" – that revolted against his society and made him sin. No matter how hard society might try, that "I" can never be completely destroyed by it.
  • Equality 7-2521 spent days reading the books he found. At last, he told Liberty 5-3000 what he had discovered.
  • When she learned the word "I," Liberty 5-3000 told Equality 7-2521 "I love you." Finally, What a relief.
  • Equality 7-2521 also told Liberty 5-3000 that it was time to get some new names. He decided to be Prometheus, after a heroic figure from mythology.
  • Equality 7-2521 decided to call Liberty 5-3000 "Gaea," after the earth goddess.
  • Now, Equality 7-2521 – a.k.a. Prometheus – writes, he sees his own future life clearly. He will live in the house with Gaea, learn to grow their own food, and study the books carefully.
  • Already, he's learned that the power he used in his light-box is called electricity, and that it was electricity that powered the house in which he's living. He plans to learn how to produce and control it. He'll even build an electric fence around the house, once he figures out how.
  • Apparently, Gaea is already pregnant with Prometheus' child. When he's born (Prometheus assumes it will be a son), Prometheus will raise him like a real man, who knows the word "I."
  • Prometheus plans to eventually return to his old City, to find all of the individuals whose spirit hasn't been crushed yet, like International 4-8818. He'll lead them out of the City, to Freedom. (That is, he'll take them to his place.)
  • Prometheus says Freedom means freedom from one's brothers. It is only other people that can take an individual's freedom away.
  • Prometheus wonders how it could have been possible that human beings, after slowly winning their freedom from gods, kings, and each other, could have given it up again?
  • The answer he comes up with? People started to worship the word "we." And once that happened, civilization fell apart. Free thinking perished, and so did all of the great individuals who had kept society functioning.
  • Prometheus is still shocked that it was ever able to happen, and that people did not see what was going on as it happened. But, he proclaims, "man will go on. Man, not men" (12.23).
  • Prometheus swears that the day will come when he will destroy the cities and free all of the enslaved. And his home will be the capital of the new world.
  • Prometheus promises to fight for the freedom of man, and for the holy word, which will be his banner. "The word which can never die on this earth, for it is the heart of it, and the meaning, and the glory" (12.25).
  • The word? You guessed it: "EGO."