Anthem- Ayn Rand


We consider a life lived for others as the best kind of life that can be led. In Anthem, a book by Ayn Rand we see the reality of such a life. There a man lives only for his brothers, he cannot prefer one over the other this means no relationships of any sort other than that of brotherhood which he must feel for all his brothers. He has no voice, no opinion. Even his thoughts are not free of societal expectations. Love in it’s  true sense does not exist but he must love all of his brothers and sisters. Why? Simply because they have been born.

But the biggest crime is uttering the forbidden word. At first I was expecting it to be something like ‘love’, or ‘hope’, or ‘rebel’ but the word was a much simpler one ‘I’.  But it makes so much sense, you cannot express your love for someone without using the word ‘I’. Who will you rebel for if not yourself in a world where you live for everybody but yourself.

The leaders shredded any sense of individualism, by not even allowing them to have a name. A word followed by several numbers dehumanize them. At the same time it’s difficult to consider someone human when he has no sense of individuality or even self. In a world where we are all trying to figure out who we are, ripping away our very essence seems to be the worst thing that someone could do.

Eventually our protagonist does learn to think for and about himself, shall we say that he learns the virtue of selfishness. He finally stops using ‘we’ when referring to himself and finally begins using ‘I’. I don’t think that I have appreciated a word more than ‘I’ at that very moment.  I think that in a way he learnt of his existence when he learned the word ‘I’. He learns that the transgression of preference is not a transgression at all and that he is not obligated to love anybody.

After finishing the book I have read a little bit into her philosophy of objectivism. A philosophy that seems to celebrate the existence of man. There is no point of morality if it does not ensure happiness. Reason is a habit that we must culminate in ourselves and of course the importance of think for and about ourselves. A true objectivist build businesses, invents technologies and creates ideas.

In this philosophy selflessness is not a virtue but a vice. A man wants what’s best for himself and he’ll do anything to get it. After all your happiness does not come at the expense of others happiness. But in the world that we live in and not some dystopian future do we need more people who think only for themselves or do we need more people who are willing to live for others?


What fiction has taught me

This is the first time I’m writing for the Teens Can Write Too blog chain and I’m glad that it’s for such a great topic.“What works of fiction have taught you by example, and what did they teach you?” Reading has been such an important part of my life and for so long that it’s difficult to say exactly what each book has taught me but I’ll try to at least cover the main ones.

As clichéd as it is Harry Potter. It has been so important in my life, it taught me to love reading. It taught me that it’s important to stand up for what you believe in and that if you think that something isn’t right you should do something about it.Every time I reread it ( and I’ve done that quite a few times) I discover something new in the story. Most importantly it taught me the importance of being different.

The Giver by Lois Lowry taught me the importance of being your own person, the importance of questioning. It also made me realise how lucky I was living in the world that I live in. It made me appreciate colour, music and the fact that I can make my own choices.

1984 by George Orwell taught me the importance of language and more precisely the importance of the sheer number of words we have that have the same or very similar meanings. Can you imagine a world where a word can only mean one thing and the opposite of good is ungood. Where no piece of literature is open to interpretation and everything has to be taken literally.

The last book that I’d like to mention here is A Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni as it made me realise that way a book has been written and perspective that it has, can change your opinion on the story entirely. It drastically changed the Mahabharata for me.

Anyways here is the rest of the blog chain.





















25th – [off-day]





30th and

31st – (We’ll announce the topic for next month’s chain.)