By Ayn Rand


English 10 Study Guide

50 homework points


Suggested method of study: This book is not even 100 pages. It is, however, a rather different book that will probably confuse you at first. That is why I suggest that you read the entire book and then re-read it while completing the study guide questions below. One tip I can give you as you read it for the first time: when the narrator says “we,” he is merely referring to himself. In our society, the correct word would be “I.” As you read, consider why that word, along with other elements of society as we know it, have disappeared.


Answer the questions on notebook paper.


Chapter 1

  1. Describe the society in which Anthem is set. Include information about political structure, social relationships, technology, quality of life and education.
  2. In this chapter Equality states that it is very unusual for men to reach the age of 45. What are some possible explanations for why the life expectancy is so short?
  3. Clearly, Rand intended Equality to stand out from his “brothers.” Explain how she accomplishes this by contrasting Equality’s physical qualities to those of his fellow men.
  4. Why does the Council of Vocations assign Equality 7-2521 the job of street sweeper? Is it due to error, incompetence, or a more sinister motivation? Explain.
  5. When dos this novel take place—in the past, present, or future? How do you know?
  6. How would your teachers react if you had Equality’s curse? Why do Equality’s teachers disapprove of his quick mind?
  7. At this point in the novel does Equality accept the moral teachings of his society? If so, why doesn’t he feel shame and remorse when he knows he’s committing a crime? Find a quote to support your answer.
  8. Would you want to be friends with someone like Equality 7-2521? Why or why not?


Chapter 2

  1. Re-read the account of Liberty 5-3000 on page 38-39. Which character traits are revealed in this brief description?
  2. Find several examples of the ways in which this society tries to obliterate each individual’s mind (and self) by squashing personal choices, desires, and values.
  3. Contrast Equality 7-2521 with the rest of the men living in this society.
  4. Of the whole range of feelings possible to man (joy, sorrow, excitement, anger, embarrassment, etc.), why is fear the most prevalent in this society?
  5. Start a personal glossary in which you explain the following terms:

Š      The Great Truth

Š      The Unmentionable Times

Š      The Uncharted Forest

Š      The Evil Ones

Š      The Great Rebirth


  1. What word is Equality 7-2521 struggling to recapture on pages 49-51? In your opinion, why is mentioning this word the only crime punishable by death in this society? How does this word contradict all the ideals of this society? What could its discovery possibly lead to?


Chapter 3

  1. What does Equality 7-2521 discover in this chapter? How important is this discovery? Describe 4-5 ways in which it would help society, and make life easier and more enjoyable?
  2. Outline some of the Council of Scholars beliefs, and Equality’s rejection of htose beliefs.


Chapter 4

  1. Discuss the appropriateness of Equality’s new name, Unconquered.


Chapter 5

  1. Equality understands that his invention will benefit mankind greatly; however, this was not his main motivation in conducting his experiments, and it is not the primary source of the great joy he experiences. Discuss why.
  2. In your opinion, why is Equlity so interested in seeing his own image at this point in the novel? What emotion is he feeling?


Chapter 6

  1. The old locks and lack of guards in the Palace of Corrective Detention indicate that the prisoners never tried to escape. Why not?


Chapter 7

  1. Outline four of the Council’s reasons for rejecting Equality’s invention.
  2. What are the real reasons behind the council’s rejection and fear of the gift?
  3. What does Equality mean, at the beginning of the chapter, when he says, “We are old now, but we were young this morning.”?


Chapter 8

  1. What is Equality experiencing for the fist time in this chapter, and what does he feel as a result?
  2. Explain why Equality laughs when he remembers that he is “the Damned.”
  3. What does the Uncharted Forest symbolize in Anthem?


Chapter 9

  1. On pages 82-83, Liberty contrasts Equality to his fellow men. Paraphrase this passage.
  2. In this chapter Equality questions the morality of his former society. Contrast who he is previously taught about solitude, good, evil, and joy to what he now believes.


Chapter 10

  1. Describe the house and its contents in your own words, and explain why Liberty and Equality find it so strange and unique.


Chapter 11

  1. What great discovery does Equliaty make in this chapter?
  2. Explain the following quotes in your own words, and idscuss how they can be applied to your life:
    1. Whatever road I take, the guiding star is within me?
    2. For the word “we” must never be spoken, save by one’s choice and as a second thought.
  3. What does Equality now realize is the proper goal and purpose of his life?
  4. In what way is “I” like a god?
  5. Re-read the incident with the Saint of they pyre (page 50 or so). What was he trying to communicate to Equality?


Chapter 12

  1. Why doe the main characters take the names Prometheus and Gaea? Why werent’ they alloed to choose their names in their old society?
  2. What does Prometheus plan to do in the future?
  3. Prometheus reaches the important realization that “To be free, a man must be of his brothers.” Cite several examples from Anthem that illustrate the truth of this statement.



Ayn Rand Institute 2000