Sunday, October 12, 2014

Question Commander - Thiago Rossi

Book: Anthem
Rotation: 1
Student: Thiago Rossi
Role: Question Commander

While I read the initial parts of this book, many questions and thoughts came up to my mind.

Image representing an unknown future
#1: To begin with, how do these dystopian novels tell us about what people used to and still do think about the future? Why is it important to think about this?

To think about it, it is truly incredible how humanity progressed (and regressed) over the last 200 years. The advances are all around us. The light bulbs, cars, telephone, TVs, and, most importantly, internet and computers. Just to think of what is going to happen over the next 200 to come is impressive. We could make predictions from massive nuclear wars to the biggest advances of history to come. In different perspectives and points of view, we can see clearly some think it will be a complete disaster, as the world is constantly changing, or it will transform into a much better reality to live in. For instance, the movie Planet of the Apes of 1968 transmits a message that the world would end in an atomic war, spreading destruction all around the world. The way I see it, for me it is very important for people to have this vision of what could possibly happen with the world if it continues to do certain things. If you think of it, these dystopian genre is mainly created for people to express their ideas and opinions of the society they are (or were) living in because, in one way, it always criticizes many aspects of government, development, and philosophical and theoretical concepts. 
Image symbolizing equality amongst humans

#2: What aspects do you think this novel criticize and what main ideas are emerging from the reading?

To start, I would like to say that this read really reminded me of the idea of communism simply because it says that everyone has to be the same. In the communist ideal, everyone would have to behave and act the same for it to work, just like here. In this case, you cannot have a voice and be different from everyone else because the main idea here is for all to work only as one, which actually is against the human nature. You see, I have my opinion, you have yours. I think in one way, you think in another. Don't you realize? We are all different. In this reality, you cannot express your will or anything that relates to your personal affairs. The only thing you have to do is to follow what everyone else does, making everyone be the same. Last year, when I was reading a poem in Portuguese class, I came across one that was quite interesting, in my eyes. Its name was "Argument" and the only thing written in the context was: "But if all do it." This transmits the message that if everyone does the exact same thing and have no voice for a change, we cannot progress as a society. If no one comes up with a new idea, nothing new is presented, making us stuck in the same place, without any progression. In a communism, there is also no expression of ideas; otherwise, the person would be brutally tortured, jailed, or killed, as we can see by the cases in Cuba, North Korea, and, in the past, the Soviet Union and China. As I was saying before, having a sense of property is natural of any animal. For example, when an acorn falls from a tree, the squirrels gather them as if they were theirs. When someone enters the lion's territory, they will try and will defend their property. You can see powerful nations that tried to execute this "philosophy", which, in the end, failed horribly. This whole governmental-conceptual system for me, both as in the novel and the idealism of Karl Marx, is a complete utopia and cannot be achieved in a real-life situation in my point of view, as it could possibly create an even worse condition. 

#3: What do you think happened with the world we see today for it to end up the it is in the novel? What is this "rebirth" time that Equality mentions so much?

As I was talking earlier about how the future is unpredictable, this gave me an idea to come and actually predict what happened with the reality we know for it to be so drastically changed in the book. In my opinion, this "rebirth" time period so mentioned in the beginning is when this world-changing revolution happened, of which shaped the fate of humanity. Probably, this was made in a short period of time, as we could see Equality mentioning that the elders sometimes talk about this other type of place they used to live in, which would be this time we are living in. Most likely, the world would have changed so much over this short period of time because something has truly gone wrong in the world. Ideas were out of control, technology was out of control, and chaos spread throughout the lands. Therefore, in order to contain this and prevent further disgrace, people decided to redo the current existence and restrict anyone from expressing their beliefs or ideas. Instead, the people were to work as one, without change, as it could lead to the problem starting over again. Nevertheless, in spite all of the change, since it is not natural to be equal for humans, our main character, Equality 7-2521, is most likely the one to express and bring new ideas to this monotone world and create plenty of disorder, as this is a dystopian novel. In general, it still remains quite mysterious why such a reality was created, but, as it stands right now, I think something really extreme must have happened in the past to create such a change.


  1. Thiago,

    As I have read over your post, all three questions were actually very thoughtful and were able to provoke and share a deepening idea in your post, which made it very insightful to the reading. Out of the three questions, I decided to give my opinion on question number 3:
    What do you think happened with the world we see today for it to end up the it is in the novel? What is this "rebirth" time that Equality mentions so much?

    As stated in the book, there were the Unmentionable Times, where people were not allowed to talk, speak, or discuss of it in any form whether it is through simple chat or even writing. In the beginning, we are introduced to the character Equality 7-2521, whom is the narrator of the story, as if it were his journal.and he writes everything that seems important to him in this booklet. Equality 7-2521 already begins to state that he isn't supposed to be writing this, and it is against the law. Plus, he had a candle that was stolen from someone else, meaning that if he were caught with this, he would be imprisoned for quite a long time. Not only that, but as we see, Equality 7-2521 mentions that he feels much different from his brothers and sisters, which isn't supposed to be the case and because of that thinking, saying it aloud would get him into deep trouble. Relating back to the question, I agree with you that something in the past happened that completely went out of control of the humans, and possibly people had to come back together in order to recreate a society where everybody is equal, and a community in which there are many restrictions that we don't really see today in the modern world. There are many ways that the society was created. Before, maybe their was a disease, or war that caused this to happen. Connecting to another book, the City of Ember is an example of a book, that there was a disaster, that lead people to be living underground. i think that people are giving time for the normal world to recover before people will have the chance to be different, and not have to follow rules, like being the same as everybody else. Overall, i think that your post was very thoughtful, and showed a deeper comprehension of the reading.

  2. I like the post, it was good, I agree with everything you said, it was very creative and helped me think further about the book.