Sunday, October 19, 2014

Historical Context- Gaetano Cremoux

Anthem by Ayn Rand
Parts 3 & 4
Historical Context

How did historical events influence the ideas in the novel?  What cultural issues may have influenced, challenged, or inspired the author?

First of all, to make this simpler, let us refer to "Equality 7-2521" simply as Jackson.

A picture of Ayn Rand
I think that this book is greatly influenced by historical events, especially since it was written during a time that is similar to the one presented in the novel. One of the huge connections that I can find between the author and her opinions and the ideas in the book is the idea of Happiness and Freedom. In the second chapter, Jackson meditates on the idea of happiness. He appears to think that happiness involves fear and freedom. Rand, on the other hand, disagrees. She thinks that happiness is impossible without freedom, and having freedom expunges any type of fear. I think it's very interesting how she created a protagonist with such a contrasting mindset from hers'.

One thing that I think was greatly influenced by historical events is the government. More specifically, the book dwells into the roles of the government, and how they are defined. The reason this book is so government-oriented is because of how Rand grew up. A combination of living in Communist Russia as well as being an intellectual allowed Rand to really think deeply about the type of totalitarian government that was ruling over her. The reason this book was even written in the first place was because of her experiences as a child with the communist government. To show the differences and similarities between the the communist government the Rand grew up with and the type of communist-totalitarian state that she created, lets create a compare and contrast chart.

As you can see, although Rand has tried to, at least partly, mimic the type of government she grew up with, she has clearly made it more totalitarian and extreme. In conclusion, although this book clearly bears resemblance to Rands childhood and the historical time-period in which it was written, it is most definitely not a carbon copy of it.


  1. Gaetano,
    I agree with you and I think your blog post shows great depth.

    You can clearly see that Anthem is based on historical events, especially the communism period in Russia. I do not think that Anthem was written at the same time period as it is said as the unmentionable times. The 'unmentionable times' were before the 'utopia' (dystopia) was created, as electricity is un-created and everything leads back to square one. Individuality is banned from society, which makes the book somewhat controversial; is our world perfect? In a way, she does somewhat 'copy' the communism from Russia, but in a way changes it. The characters/citizens do not know that they are being ruled over as ants being crushed and eaten by ant-eaters.

  2. Gaetano,

    Firstly, Congratulations on your post, it really pushed the thinking forward.

    I hadn't really realised that Anthem was based on historical events, to be completely honest, so it was really nice to realise that it was. Now that I know what "Anthem" is based on, I wonder if Rand wrote the novel as a form of criticising the government she grew up in, since she clearly used a lot of hyperboles to make the writing even more dramatic than it is, therefore, exaggerating a tad bit on it with her objective being to inform the reader of how this type of government was.

    However, I also find it curious that Rand placed this novel in the future, specifically in a dystopian setting, pointing out even more negative factors of the society she created. If the novel is based on the past, why write it in the future?

  3. Hey Gaetano, have you ever thought Rand's fictional government as a post-communist government, where, for example, the Russian government slowly transforms into a similar government to the on Rand is portraying in Anthem? I like to think of it as a possibility that could occur if the government continued with communism. Not only that, but her extreme ways of displaying the government makes me feel like she has even more disagreement towards it. I feel like Rand has brought in Russian communism and given it a twist or two not only to display hatred towards the government, but also to show a negative outcome to using communism as a government.

  4. Gaetano,

    I thought your connections were really peculiar. From what I understood, Ayn Rand takes some of the experiences she had in her times and connected it create this dystopian world. In my opinion, I would have never thought of something so reflective because my only thoughts were based on the book only. However, you took your thinking further out into reality and based it on Ayn Rand's personal history. Therefore, I agree with you in terms of how you connect the idea of freedom and happiness to the Russian history (The Emancipation of the Russian Serfs, 1861: A Charter of Freedom or an Act of Betrayal?). I found out that people in Russia weren't as happy with the amount of freedom the got to live during their lives; as a result, that was the only thing Ayn Rand could write about. For example, if your mom only taught you to say "Thank You" and not "Thanks", then the only thing your mind would get to is "Thank You". Consequently, the author only wrote down what she lived and learned.

    "The Emancipation of the Russian Serfs, 1861: A Charter of Freedom or an Act of Betrayal?" History Today. Web. 18 Oct. 2014. .