Private: Reading Group Materials » Anthem

Discussion Questions

  1. In a world that places the good of society above all else, why is a man with a revolutionary invention that would benefit everyone forced to run for his life?
  2. Why is the hero willing to risk being burned at the stake in order to discover the meaning of the unspeakable word?
  3. What does Equality 7-2521 discover in the Uncharted Forest that removes his original dread of the place?
  4. Compare the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden with the story of Equality 7-2521. For what “sins” were each condemned? In what ways are Equality 7-2521 and Adam simi­lar? How do they differ?
  5. Anthem is set in a totalitarian future. But unlike the societies depicted in Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World, Anthem presents a future in which candles and glazed windows are the latest advances. What point about technology was Ayn Rand making by portraying such a primitive future, and how do the events of the story establish that point?
  6. For each of the following quotations, explain its role in the story and its wider significance:
    1. “It is a sin to write this. It is a sin to think words no others think.”
    2. “I wished to know the meaning of things. I am the meaning.”
    3. “I owe nothing to my brothers, nor do I gather debts from them.”

Biographical Material on Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life (DVD)

Ayn Rand, by Jeff Britting

Secondary Reading

Essays on Ayn Rand’s “Anthem”, edited by Robert Mayhew

If you plan on hosting a reading group on Ayn Rand’s novels, we are happy to provide you with posters and bookmarks to help with your advertisement. To request your free advertising material, or to request a guest speaker for your group, email