Ayn Rand believed a high degree of freedom to be utterly necessary for any individual who wanted to be genuinely happy, and considered the defense of individual freedom morally essential. She also saw freedom as constantly under threat from collectivism, which tries promotes individuals serving their society or the greater good. In Anthem, Rand depicts a nightmarish society in which collectivism has won completely and real freedom no longer exists. Individuals are not allowed to do anything without the explicit permission of society, and they're especially forbidden from ever being alone. The struggles of the main character against the bonds of society, and his eventual escape from them, form the plot of the book.
Questions About Freedom and Confinement
What are the principle ways in which Equality 7-2521's freedom is restricted in Anthem?
Can you identify a single moment at which he is liberated?
According to Equality 7-2521, what is freedom? Why does he define it the way he does? Do you agree with his definition?
What is the relationship between freedom and happiness in Anthem?
Why would anyone give up their freedom, according to Equality 7-2521? Do you agree with him?
Chew on This
Equality 7-2521 becomes free only when he learns the word "I."
Freedom is the condition that makes happiness possible.