Monday, October 27, 2014

Historical Context Question

Ayn Rand
Chapters 3-4

Question: Which ideas in your novel are connected to its particular setting, and which ideas are still relevant today?

Everything starts out as something, but as time rolls on, it turns into nothing. All dystopias are meant to be perfect in the beginning, but they don’t always work out that way. Anthem is a dystopian novel, and it seems as if all of the laws are meant to go against the main character, Equality 7-2527. This can be connected to Ayn Rand, because she grew up in Russia, and her books are based on the events that occurred when she lived under Soviet tyranny. She didn’t agree with the laws of Russia, and probably thought of it as a dystopia, and wrote Anthem based on that setting.
To start off, Ayn Rand decided to make fiction writing her career at the age of nine, but at that time mysticism and collectivism were opposed in Russian culture. As you can see, many people she knew hated what she loved, and she probably felt alone. This is similar to Equality 7-2527 who was different from everyone that he knew. For example, on page nine, it says “It is not good to be different from our brothers, but it is evil to be superior to them.” He was considered evil just for being smart. This shows that in dystopias there is always at least one person that the rules don’t help.
Secondly, the idea of family has not changed a bit. In Russia, families are close and often get together. There are fights and misunderstandings, but that never stops the fact that Russians cherish their families. In Anthem, the men wake up and say “We are nothing. Mankind is all. By the grace of our brothers are we allowed our lives. We exist through, by and for our brothers who are the State. Amen.” You can find this quote on page eight. As you can see, they are taught that family is everything. All in all, the idea of family in Russian culture is very similar to the idea of family in Anthem. Everyone loves each other greatly no matter what.
Finally, people could not choose their jobs and/or were not accepted for their job decisions. As I said in the first paragraph, Ayn Rand was not accepted for her fondness of fictional writing when she was a kid. You can see a similar example of this in Anthem on page thirteen. “This was the only thing which moved, for the lips of the oldest did not move as they said: “Street Sweeper.” People were given jobs, they could not choose their career. The idea of not getting to be what you want, or not being accepted for being what you want are alike.
In conclusion, there are many ideas which are similar between the setting of Anthem and Russia in the early 1900s. This is surprising to me, because I never thought to connect the two places. However, after I did, I found many similarities.

I chose these two pictures to compare the setting of Russia and Anthem, because I think that that is what Ayn Rand is doing in Anthem. 

May/June Darker Realms Contest - Dystopia. Digital image. The Family That Slays Together Stays Together. VBulletin, 1 July 2012. Web. 27 Oct. 2014. <>.

Monument to Minin and Pozharsky on Red Square. Digital image. Bridge to Moscow. Moscow Events, 2014. Web. 27 Oct. 2014. <>.

"Biography of Ayn Rand." Ayn Rand Lexicon., 2014. Web. 27 Oct. 2014. <>.

"The Russian Family and Marriage." Russian Family and Marriage. Master Russian, 1 Feb. 2013. Web. 27 Oct. 2014. <>.


  1. Really nice post Mary! You definitely pushed my thinking forward. I liked how you compared Anthem with Rand's country that she grew up in, Russia. They do really have some similarities. I really liked how you shared that Rand, started writing at age 9. That does connect with Equality 7-2521, they both felt alone at times. That was a really good connection. I think that Anthem is similar to the The Giver. For instance in The Giver they were given jobs and couldn't choose them, just like in Anthem. If you have read The Giver, do you think it's similar with Anthem?

  2. Lexi,
    Thank you for the compliments. I read The Giver last year for humanities, but I didn't see the connection at first. It is interesting when you find similarities between the books you read!