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Sparknotes For Anthem

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OldGrayBob
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I purchased the Barnes and Noble version of Cliff Notes, called SparkNotes, on the novella Anthem. The SparkNotes contained an attack on the novella based on the fact that the Golden One was not a full character that only supported her man. To judge a story written in the 1930's and published in the 1940 on today's PC standards is just beyond belief! I am just glad that I reviewed the SparkNotes before sending it to my grand-daughter and that Barnes and Noble accepted the book for return. I finally found the Cliff Notes on the novella, reviewed it and found it to be quality. This I sent to my grand-daughter.

I have heard of radical PC people that believe that no acceptable books were written before 1970, but I did not believe it. Now I do.

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Just as an add-on, my (step) grand-daughter is 13 but thanks to indifferent public school system in the Detroit area she is becoming one of the schooled uneducated. I send her books that challenge her to think without over challenging her reading abiity. Anthem fits the bill perfectly. Initially, I wanted to send Cliff Notes on Anthem but could not find it in either Borders or Barnes and Noble so I got the SparkNotes. I am glad I read it before sending it to her.

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It is surprising to see such a strong negative opinion of a character played out in a spark note, but Anthem is a fairly mediocre literary work. All of Rand’s works are much better in terms of philosophy them in terms of literary quality. A more apt idea of The Golden One would probably have been to call her a poorly developed character, who we seem to have no real sense of throughout the book, and who acts in a fairly inexplicable way.

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A more apt idea of The Golden One would probably have been to call her a poorly developed character, who we seem to have no real sense of throughout the book, and who acts in a fairly inexplicable way.

:confused: Care to expand on this? I disagree entirely.

All of Rand’s works are much better in terms of philosophy them in terms of literary quality.

(With this, too.)

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A more apt idea of The Golden One would probably have been to call her a poorly developed character, who we seem to have no real sense of throughout the book, and who acts in a fairly inexplicable way.

I think the Golden One is a well-developed character, whom we have a real sense of throughout the book, and who acts in perfectly understandable ways.

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I'd like to mention that throughout the U.S, Highschool sophomores are required to read Anthem.

I have a friend who believes her enviornmental and socialist healthcare theology can follow along the ideas offered in Anthem. Even though Anthem achieves it's goal, I wish Rand would of wrote alittle more to elaborate for people my friend. I never did explain to her that the same collectivist ideology of socialism and most likely the enviornmental policies being proposed today could bring man to such a stage like in Anthem.

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First on the subject of the Golden One. While at least with the main character we see a gradual process that leads him to assert his individuality, though 50 pages is hardly gradual. With the Golden One she with very limited contact with the hero decides to run off and join him. Considering the extent to which Rand pushes the point about social conditioning in the book this seems very unlikely. During the book we get some limited insight into what the protagonist is thinking to help explain his transition, but without any real insight into the Golden One she comes across as very flat. Flat because the only sense of her in the book is that of the main character’s desire for her. It is hard to get a sense of the Golden One as a real person and not just of an image in the protagonists head.

My point that Rand’s works are much better philosophically the literarily, is a more complex one best made on a book by book basis. So to limit the scope I’ll only deal with Anthem and won’t draw any lager conclusions.

My single biggest problem with Anthem is the incredibly obvious way the plot unfolds. Almost as soon as the book begins it’s fairly obvious that the protagonist is going to eventually rebel against and leave the society. Furthermore the book is far to obvious in its criticism of the society. While Atlas Shrugged slowly draws out how some ideals lead to the ruination of society Anthem tries to work backwards, to much less effect. It is harder to see that this would happen when you start with a world already in shambles.

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...My single biggest problem with Anthem is the incredibly obvious way the plot unfolds.

"Dan", the literary genius, should have no trouble then writing similarily "obvious" novels that sell millions of copies, becoming modern classics, and translated into dozens of languages.

I'll just note that it apparently wasn't obvious to any other dystopian novelist that a future collectivist society would sink into a technological "dark ages" with previous knowledge lost. None of them would then be capable of grasping what would be required to bring civilization back, i.e. the great courage of a few men - of which Anthem is a profoundly moving and brilliant symbolic representation.

It is not a coincedence that in 1938, at the height of Naziism in Germany and Stalinism in the Soviet Union, along with the "Red Decade" in the USA, that the book was almost totally ignored. I guess it wasn't obvious to people at the time that Anthem had anything of significance to say.

Fred Weiss

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With the Golden One she with very limited contact with the hero decides to run off and join him. Considering the extent to which Rand pushes the point about social conditioning in the book this seems very unlikely.

Very limited contact? It is important to keep in mind that Ayn Rand wrote in the first person, and the main character was a heavily brainwashed collectivist throughout the first part of the story.

Chapters 2 & 4 are devoted to the Golden One. For many days Prometheus and the Golden One exchange knowing looks and gestures. When the finally speak, she responds positively to Prometheus. She gives him the name of "The Unconquered." She is obviously his match in intelligence, thinking similarly to him, and having been attracted to his uniqueness and boldness in pursuing her.

Out of the whole damned society, Ayn Rand supposes two truly heroic souls, and you think that is "unlikely"?

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  • 2 weeks later...
My single biggest problem with Anthem is the incredibly obvious way the plot unfolds. Almost as soon as the book begins it’s fairly obvious that the protagonist is going to eventually rebel against and leave the society.

Wait, I'm confused. Do Rand's characters act in inexplicable ways, or obvious ways? Which is it?

I think neither.

Sure, it's probably pretty obvious to many readers from the beginning that Prometheus is going to rebel against society. But the outcome, and--just as importantly--the path of that rebellion, are not at all obvious. I think Prometheus' journey of self-discovery--which is the real heart of the story, in my opinion--is a journey that many readers enjoy taking along with him.

Furthermore the book is far to obvious in its criticism of the society.

Then how come no one--including prior dystopian novelists such as Zamyatin and Orwell, as Fred already mentioned--managed to identify that criticism before Ayn Rand? Sure, it's obvious to someone who's already read Atlas Shrugged, but judging it from that perspective is a bit anachronistic, don't you think?

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