I tried my best, but there was so much of this book that I had problems with, and it was such a short book with so little plot it was very hard not to spoil it, so… spoiler ahoy in this review!
Anthem is a novel about a man named Equality 7-2521. Much in the style of other horrific Utopian novels he is one of many is a futuristic society, where everything is utterly controlled from education, to vocation, to sex, to death and (like Brave New World, 1984 and The Giver) the main character is seeking to throw off this yoke and go back to how things were before, though he hasn’t realized it yet.
For the first ten chapters he speaks in the style of Gollum, of Lord of the Rings. When he speaks of himself he says “we” and “us” for the collective is what is important, while individualism in any form breaks divine law. Everything is done for the betterment of all, for the will of many is greater than the will of the individual. The many’s needs are greater as well and therefore the individual must sacrifice himself for the many.
Equality 7-2521 is given a position as street sweeper and in his work finds two things that are his undoing: a beautiful woman, and an old underground sewer left over from the times before. He sneaks off there and writes his own private thoughts and does his own private research. But, the scientific discoveries he make are nothing next to the truth that he uncovers there.
Anthem is supposed to be a novel exemplifying Ayn Rand’s philosophy about individualism and collectivism and the pros and cons thereof. I have to say some of what she believes I don’t really agree with and actually reading the foreword (a fault of mine) kinda prejudiced me against her before I even got to the story.