Anthem Study Questions by Chapter

Chapter 1

  1. In this chapter, Equality states that it is very unusual for men to reach the age of 45. Offer several possible explanations as to why life expectancy is so short in his society.
  2. Clearly, Ayn Rand intended Equality to stand out from his "brothers". Explain how she accomplishes this by contrasting Equality's physical qualities and character traits to those of his fellow men.
  3. 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.
  4. How would your teachers react if you had Equality's "curse"?  Why do Equality's teachers disapprove of his quick mind?
  5. At this point in the novel, does Equality accept the moral teachings of his society? If so, why doesn't he feel shame or remorse when he knows that he's committing a crime? Find textual evidence to support your answer.

Chapter 2
  1. Re-read the account of Liberty 5-3000 on page 38. Which character traits are revealed in this brief description?
  2. Contrast Equality 7-2521 with the rest of the men living in this society (46).
  3. Of the whole range of feelings possible to man (joy, excitement, anger, embarrassment, etc.) why is fear the prevalent emotion in this society?
  4. What word is Equality struggling to recapture on page 49?  In your opinion, why is mentioning this word the only crime punishable by death in this society? How does this word contradict the ideals of this society? What could its rediscovery possibly lead to?

Chapter 3

  1. What does Equality discover in this chapter?  How important is this discovery? Describe 4-5 ways in which it would help society, and make life easier or more enjoyable.

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.
  2. In your opinion, why is Equality 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 prisoners never tried to escape. Why not?

Chapter 7
  1. Outline four of the Council's reasons for rejecting Equality's invention.  What are the real reasons behind the Council's rejection and fear of the gift?
  2. What does Equality mean, at the beginning of the chapter, when he says, "We are old now, but we were young this morning" (68)?
Chapter 8

  1. What is Equality experiencing for the first 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. In this chapter, Equality questions the morality of his former society. Contrast what he was 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 Equality make in this chapter?
  2. What does Equality now realize is the proper goal and purpose of his life?
  3. Re-read the incident with the Saint of the pyre (50). What was he trying to communicate to Equality?

Chapter 12

  1. Why do the main characters take the names Prometheus and Gaea? Why weren't they allowed 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 free of his brothers" (118). Cite several examples from Anthem that illustrate the truth of this statement.