Study Guide

Anthem Society and Class

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Society and Class

Anthem takes the classic idea of the clash between an individual and his society to a new extreme. The society in this novella controls every aspect of its members' lives, from their daily schedules to their sexual partners to when they're allowed to smile. Individuals are told they exist only for the sake of serving society, and have no other purpose. It's society which chooses what they'll do with their lives, assigning them permanent life careers called "Mandates" which rigidly determine not only their occupation but also with whom they'll live and socialize. The novella's main character, Equality 7-2521, finds himself in a constant struggle with the attempts of his society to force his individuality into a mold it just won't fit.

Questions About Society and Class

  1. What would you say is the main value of the society depicted in Anthem?
  2. What holds together the society portrayed in Anthem? Why do people follow its rules? How easily would it fall apart?
  3. How many of the people who belong to the collectivistic society depicted in Anthem genuinely want to live in it? Most of them, few of them, all of them, or none of them? Why might some people want to live in it and not others?
  4. Why do you think the people in Equality 7-2521's society live only forty years?

Chew on This

The society depicted in Anthem is held together by fear, but there is nothing for anyone to fear.

Most people in Equality 7-2521's society would prefer to live in it than to be free.

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