Sunday, February 8, 2015

Question Commander – Daniel Choe

Student: Daniel Choe

Book: Anthem

Author: Any Rand

Role #1: Question Commander

Parts: 1 & 2

After reading the first pages in the book, I came up with multiple questions because of my curiosity on the book.

Question #1: Where are people located?

To start with, the reason I ask this question is because of the context clues we can get from the book. In the first paragraph of the book, the main character, which is mysteriously called Equality 7-2521, confesses that he did a horrible mistake. Adding on, he says that he went into a dark "underground" tunnel, and for him this is a terrible mistake because the people he lives with said that it is a violation of law for being isolated from people. This idea can actually be confirmed from the quote, "It is dark here. The flame of the candle stands still in the air. Nothing moves in this tunnel save our hand on the paper. We are alone here under the earth. It is a fearful word, alone. The laws say that none among men may be alone, ever and at any time, for this is the great transgression and the root of all evil." of the book. Furthermore, in the end of chapter one, this same exact quote is shown again. In my opinion, when the person thinks about being in a tunnel to stay away from people, and he knows it is a mistake, it usually means he is in prison. The reason being is because in any television programs, the thief that is put into jail normally escapes the prison doing an underground tunnel, and he always feels that it is a bad idea to do this as he might get caught. This is exactly what happens in the book. Equality 7-2521 is inside a tunnel and is reflecting about his life, and how this idea of being in the tunnel is not good as he might get caught. Going into the next idea, another point that might prove he is in jail is his name. Prisoners are always called by numbers and letters instead of his atual name. That being said, the name "Equality 7-2521" is far from being a name people normally use, and more likely for a police officer to use for the prisoners, showing that the character might actually be a prisoner. Even though these ideas prove my point, there is still a fact that disproves it. The idea is that the main character has a job. Equality has a job of being a Street Sweeper, and Prisoners do not have jobs while they are jailed, and because of that, my idea of a prison might actually be incorrect. Because of this point, I ask again: Where is Equality's civilization located?

<Image of a jail>

Question #2: Is the setting of this book about a dystopian or utopian place?

The reason I ask this question is because of lots of factors that happen in the book. One of the factors is that people choose the job for you, and to prove that this is actually in the book, a quote in the book proves it. The quote is, "They called the Students' names, and when the Students stepped before them, one after another, the Council said: 'Carpenter' or 'Doctor' or 'Cook' or 'Leader.' Then each Student raised their right arm and said: "The will of our brothers be done.'" To explain this sentence further, the Council is choosing the jobs of people in the future, and the children are forced to accept their fate, proving that people choose jobs for you. Now, looking at this information, this place looks like a dystopian place since the Council picks a random job for you, meaning that if they pick the job "doctor" for you, and didn't want to a doctor, you can't change it. Adding on, people choosing the profession for you is also something from a dystopian society since you have a small chance to get what you want to be, and this is terrible place because it shows that people do not care about you, but about what they are doing, and in the case of the book, the Council is only thinking about the jobs he is giving, and not the children's future. Now, there are still some parts of the book that proves the book is an utopia. Somewhere throughout the first chapter, the setting of the book shows how the authorities made laws that prevented anything bad, such as being alone. The reason why being alone is terrible is because if don't interact with other people, you don't have ideas to share, which makes the future of the place you are living stay the same as there aren't any new ideas since no one talked to each other about his or her idea. Now, because the authorities banned staying alone, it means that people created an utopian city for the civilization, which proves that the book is an utopia. As we can see, some information tell that the book is an utopia and some say that it is a dystopia, but we can't really tell which one of these the setting fits with. That is why I asked the question: An utopia or a dystopia?

<Image to show the difference between an utopia and a dystopia>

Question #3: Why does the character refer himself and "we" or "us"?

The reason why I ask this question is obvious. The whole book is consisted of this two words and this is what makes the book confusing. An example of these words is the quote, "We remember the Home of the Infants where we lived till we were five years old, together with all the children of the City who had been born in the same year." The reason this is an example of why these words make it confusing is because the quote talks about Equality remembering something, but it uses the word "we," meaning that two people had to have remembered the same exact thing. Using science, two people cannot imagine or remember the same thing with the same details because they are two different beings with different minds, making the "we" in the sentence really confusing. Also, if you substitute "we" for "I," it makes the sentence flow better because it is talking about the memory of one, and not two. So overall, the "we" and "us" makes it really confusing because it is talking about one person, and not two, and that is also why I asked this question.

<Image to show the confusion of "we">

Overall, I had a lot more questions, but these were the ones that most stood out.


  1. The questions you chose are very good to understand the concept better. For the first question, I think they still are in different countries, but like factions, and so my theory would be that each country would be a different faction, for example one being equality, and the other being International, and so on, so each country would be the name. For the second question I think that this book is about a dystopian society, because on the book it states that the humans were emerging from the dark age, and that for me sounded like a dystopia. For the third question, I think that the character refers himself as we or us, because they lost their individuality, and so as they lost their individuality, they now refer as us, because as individuals it was me or I, and now without individuality it is us or we.

  2. Daniel,
    I had the same question that you did while I was reading the book. The one I was most confused was the second one. Is it utopia or dystopia? For me the book was like The Giver by Lois Lowry because in Jonases society, they would chose you job too. So, I thought it was a dystopian book. Though, as you said they are banned of being alone which makes it utopia. In other words, I couldn't decide what type of book this was. Being that, I decided to research and Anthem is an actual dystopian novel. However, I really like how you give actual examples from the book to prove your saying. Adding, I really like your picture. In fact, I used the same one for my blog post. I thought it was very simple and at the same time more than one meaning. In other words, it is a very original drawing that I think can represent many things. Lastly, would you prefer to live in a society like in The Giver or Anthem? Both are similar and dystopian, but still are a little distinct.