Sunday, October 12, 2014

Question Commander - Max H.

Anthem by Ayn Rand 
Part 1 & 2
Question Commander 
Rotation #1

After starting to read this text written by Ayn Rand, some questions popped up in my mind that I would like to personally answer, and share out to get others opinions.

1) What are some themes do you think so far are present in the book?

In my opinion, so far many themes emerged from the book. For instance, there is already a sense of the theme of identity. In this society, no one is identified to be equal. Everyone dresses the same, they are also expected to act the same, thought to look the same, plus they are given almost completely randomized names and numbers.  Truthfully, Equality 7-2521 always felt that he was unique and didn't fit in with his siblings. However, the way he thought that was basically forbidden, so saying it in public would make him get into huge trouble, maybe even imprisoned.  

An image that shows that everyone is equal and the same, that everyone realizes that they are exactly alike.

2) Why do you think the author hasn't given a precise location and time where the book takes place?

In my mind, the author hasn't told us, the readers, where the book takes place because she knows there isn't a place in this world that has, or might have such a community like this in the current world.  For instance, there isn't anywhere in the world where people are named by obscure names and numbers, such as Equality 7-2521.  As for the specific setting, there is also the possibility that Rand wants us readers to be thinking and imagining where such a community would be located, and whether it is currently happening in the world or maybe in the future.  Moving on, the author is probably attempting to share her philosophy and her opinions of a society that could potentially be something that could become a disaster because of the way everything is meant to be equal and the way the ''government'' wants it to be.
Abstract Paintings can give a sense to some people of thinking about something different other than what is physically there.
Image Source

3) In general, why do you think dystopian novels are becoming more popular, such as the Hunger Games, Divergent, etc.?

Generally speaking, I have this idea that people nowadays are possibly worried about the future and sometimes there are just these simple, or complex ideas of a perfect society in the world. Also, I think it is entertainment and level of interest plays quite a huge role in the popularization of dystopian novels. In the Hunger Games, there is lots of action involved, so that is already a huge attraction to many people who enjoy reading about it. Not only that, but there is also a sense of ''unfair'' government and ''overruling'' power in the society because of the way the Districts are divided and the way people are sacrificed as tributes.


  1. Dear Max,
    Great post! I really like your images, specially the first one, which is funny ad at the same time so related to the book we are reading. One of your questions really intrigued me, and it was the third one: 3) In general, why do you think dystopian novels are becoming more popular, such as the Hunger Games, Divergent, etc.?
    In my opinion, I think that this fairly new dystopian genre is becoming so popular because of how different they are from the real world. Examples such as Maze Runner, Hunger Games, Divergent, Uglies and The Giver are post apocalyptic, and the plot of all of those is somewhat similar. They have a society that is rebuilt to become a Utopia, but it has gone completely wrong. In addition, I think that many of these have also become popular because of their writing style, which for the most part is teenager-directed. For example, if you read Divergent, you realize that the language isn't that difficult to understand. Finally, all of these books have some kind of love story in them. The Hunger Games has Katniss and Peeta, Divergent has Tris and Four, The Giver has Jonas and Fiona, and so on. Clearly, all these things wrapped up in one make a dystopian novel so strong, and that now a days are becoming so popular.

  2. Max,
    I find that your questions are really deep and thoughtful, shown in the themes of the book; Identity. Everyone in this 'utopia' has to be the same. Everyone can not have a unique personality and identity, as for the Elders even pick your future for you, you're treating as a slave.

    I agree with you in Question #3, as for dystopian novels are becoming wildly popular and becoming best-sellers. We see that the future might be troublesome and we see the possibilities; death, pollution etc.

  3. Max,

    wow! What an awesome post! I was certainly impressed with the amount of depth and thinking that was put in it, good job!

    So, to start, I would like to answer your first question, which says: What are some themes do you think so far are present in the book?

    For me, I think the ideas of communism, apocalypse, and equality are popping up of the reading. In this society, it is as if everyone is acting the same and have no sense of individuality overall. However, the way the book describes it, this law enforced looks very unnatural for the civilians, as they get scared to act different from each other or even use the word "I" or they could be killed. Therefore, if no new ideas are expressed, nothing changes in the world and it will continue the same way forever. This for me looks quite interesting. As I read the book, questions such as, "why would they do this to this people?", came to my mind. My viewpoint on this aspect is that in order for such a drastic change like this to happen to society as we know it was due to a huge catastrophe that took place before this time. Due to this event, humans decided to "redo" the world and try again, now with this concept of equality between everyone. As I mentioned in my post, everyone is different in this world and have different opinions in everything. Here, this society completely erases this need of expression, making their citizens live like programmed robots with minds that think exactly the same. For obvious reasons, even though people have their own opinion, they keep it for themselves, differently from Equality. Probably, without being able to support this system, Equality is now being able to secretly pass on and write down her thoughts on this journal he is writing. This idea also relates to communism, of which in order for it to work, everyone would have to function the same way, which is actually against the human nature, as I cited previously. This might just be an altered simulator of Karl Marx's ideals. Anyways, as I see it, this idea of equality in any aspect is just a complete utopia and cannot be accomplished within the current human limitations. Based on this, I can infer that this city is soon going to fall apart in chaos soon because of the wrong concepts that are being executed in this world.

    Max, your post in general is extremely thought-provoking and interesting, and truly helped me push my thinking towards a next level of comprehension. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me!

  4. Max,

    I found your answers very analytic. To begin with, I really liked your questions because they made me think beyond and above. The question that most interested me was number 3, in general, why do you think dystopian novels are becoming more popular, such as the Hunger Games, Divergent, etc.? From my understanding, answer told me that the future is maybe to thought of a good thing, in most of times. I agree with you and I think that authors want to show people that the future may not be as utopian as many people have imagined it. It was time for authors to refresh everybody's mind about the future. My meaning of future is a setting where no one can tell what is going to happen. Therefore, people already seem to know what the future is going to be like because of the many fantasies there have been before. Consequently, the people that believe in the power of the future think that anything can happen.

  5. Max,

    I agree that this sense of equality amongst everybody is one of the themes that has been presented so far: names are numbers so there's nothing unique about "special" names, everybody lives a similar life, appearance is similar amongst who you usually see everyday, and etc. We can clearly feel that the running government doesn't pay much attention to single persons but rather divides people into different categories such as career, age, gender, and the beginning word of their name (possibly factions?). Also, we can see that people always do what they used to do. It is an extremely repetitive life. In part one, Equality 7-2521 narrates, "When the bell rings, we all arise from our beds. The sky is green and cold in our windows to the east. The shadow on the sundial marks off a half-hour while we dress and eat our breakfast in the dining hall, where there are five long tables with twenty clay plates and twenty clay cups on each table..." The author writes about two paragraphs of how a life would be if you lived in this utopian city. It seems like an extremely boring life. You wake up, eat work, visit some places, and sleep. All these factors meet up to support the theme of individuality being disposed through the support of group labor. It seems like the author is trying to show us the importance of individuality through this book. I can't be completely sure, but the book starts off this way. For example, Equality 7-2521's act of persuading his friends to studying independently in the tunnel shows us that Equality wants to be more independent and do something that doesn't involve group priority and dependence towards the government. Also, the fact that Equality's friends hesitated to do so shows that they have fear towards being independent and daring to disobey the rules. We can clearly see that the government keeps it's rules strict and solid. Max, do you think that the author is trying to tell us that the individual's priority is more important than a community/group's priority or the other way around? So do you think that the author believes individuals should be the primary consideration or no?

  6. Max,
    You made a great post, mostly with the second and third questions, as those can be put up to debate and discussion. I find the third one most interesting out of the three though, so I will contribute my thoughts into it. I agree with Lucas, I think people are so drawn to dystopian/utopian novels as it is so different from our world, and may want to be distracted from our world and troubles, and focus on a completely different lifestyle to entertain their minds. It may also be that they can connect with people in the book, dystopian/utopian books are aimed towards teenagers, and teenagers often feel misunderstood. If you notice, in those kind of books the main character is often different/original from all other people, helping the teenager and character relate.