Study Guide

Anthem Chapter 7

By Ayn Rand

Chapter 7

  • Equality 7-2521 tells us that he is writing from the forest. (We wonder if it is the Uncharted Forest.) He will be there for a long time.
  • That morning, he went to see the Scholars, and… (Pssst. It's another flashback!)
  • Equality 7-2521 jaunts into the Home of the Scholars. There's no one there from the Palace of Corrective Detention, so he doesn't get any trouble.
  • Equality 7-2521 arrives in the great hall where the Council is taking place. As he steps in, all of the Scholars turn to look at him with astonishment. (His tunic, he tells us, is torn and covered in dried blood.) Equality 7-2521 greets them loudly.
  • The oldest Scholar, Collective 0-0009, wants to know who Equality 7-2521 is; he doesn't look like a Scholar. Equality 7-2521 announces that he is a Street Sweeper.
  • The Scholars do not take this well. It is quite against the rules for a Street Sweeper to be in the House of the Scholars.
  • Equality 7-2521 tells them that he brings them a gift, a great gift for all of mankind, and asks them to listen.
  • The scholars listen.
  • Equality 7-2521 tells the Scholars everything he's done. Then he puts the light bulb, which he's brought with him, on a table before them and activates it.
  • The Scholars are terrified. They jump, shriek, and huddle together.
  • Equality 7-2521 laughs, and tells them that he has given them the power of the sky, which he has tamed. He wants to spread it to all men.
  • The Scholars do not have pleasant looks on their faces. Their eyes are "still, and small, and evil" (7.20). Equality 7-2521 is afraid.
  • Collective 0-0009 steps forward and tells Equality 7-2521 that he has broken all of the laws. He has been arrogant enough to believe that he's greater and wiser than everyone else. He should have stayed a Street Sweeper!
  • Other Scholars pipe in that Equality 7-2521 should be burned at the stake or lashed to death. Collective 0-0009 says that Equality 7-2521 must be handed over to the World Council for their judgment.
  • Equality 7-2521 wants to know what will become of his light.
  • Collective 0-0009 responds that "what is not thought by all men cannot be true" (7.34).
  • Various others say that the light cannot be good because it was not come up with collectively. And that it would just be a disaster for the Department of Candles.
  • The Scholars, following Collective 0-0009's lead, all point at the light-box and pronounce that it must be destroyed.
  • Equality 7-2521 jumps to the table, seizes the light-box, and runs to the window.
  • Equality 7-2521, who's filled with rage at this point, calls the Scholars a bunch of "damned fools," breaks the window, and jumps out.
  • From the Home of the Scholars, Equality 7-2521 starts running. He doesn't really know where he's going, he just knows he has to get the heck out of the City.
  • Eventually, Equality 7-2521 realizes he's wound up in the Uncharted Forest. He falls upon the ground, embraces his light-box, and lies there for a good, long while.
  • Equality 7-2521 goes further into the Forest. No one will follow him there.
  • He realizes that by doing this, he has cut himself off from all of his "brothers." But he doesn't care. He didn't build the box for their sake anyway. Really, he built it for its own sake. Equality 7-2521 doesn't have any regrets about leaving the City.
  • That is, he doesn't think he does, until he realizes he's left behind the Golden One (Liberty 5-3000).