CliffsNotes Rand's Anthem

By Andrew Bernstein | Go to book overview

Chapter 8

Summary

Equality 7–2521’s first day in the forest is astonishing to him. His first impulse is to leap to his feet as he has every day of his life, but then he realizes that no bell has rung. The forest has no Councils to tell him what to do, no authorities that must be instantly obeyed. He experiences joy when he realizes that no activity is denied him any longer.

For the first time in his 21 years, he is free. He walks with no destination, but not aimlessly; he enjoys the freedom of movement. He keeps walking and comes upon a stream. When he kneels to drink, he stops. For the first time, on the water before him, he sees the reflection of his face. He notices the taut lines of his body and the countenance that arouses no pity. In this regard, his face and body are unlike those of his brothers. Theirs are bowed and defeated, evoking in him a general sense of pity. But his features are straight and healthy, generating the feeling of pride. He realizes that he can trust this man he sees before him in the stream; he has nothing to fear.


Commentary

For anyone, the first day of freedom is exhilarating. For Equality 7–2521, who has been subjugated in a slave society for 21 years, the right to pursue his own happiness is akin to the first bite of food to a starving man. For the first time, he can do as he pleases and is not subject to the commands of the Councils. He spends his first day of freedom discovering his body and its capabilities. He climbs a tree, hunts and cooks his own food, sees the image of his face for the first time. This pleasure is far more than that of someone enjoying the luxury of a hard-earned vacation; it is the exploration of a man released from a lifelong imprisonment, free now to discover himself. His time in the forest is a voyage. In one way, he journeys physically from one place to another—from the city to the home he eventually finds in the mountains. But in a more profound way, he travels a long path of selfdiscovery, and he learns quickly. He has been limited to sweeping the streets, but now he engages in hundreds of different activities and learns his own diverse abilities.

-37-

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CliffsNotes Rand's Anthem
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Table of Contents iii
  • How to Use This Book vi
  • Life and Background of the Author 1
  • Introduction to the Novel 5
  • Critical Commentaries 16
  • Chapter 1 17
  • Chapter 2 22
  • Chapter 3 26
  • Chapter 4 28
  • Chapter 5 30
  • Chapter 6 32
  • Chapter 7 34
  • Chapter 8 37
  • Chapter 9 39
  • Chapter 10 42
  • Chapter 11 44
  • Chapter 12 50
  • Character Analyses 56
  • Critical Essays 64
  • CliffsNotes Review 77
  • CliffsNotes Resource Center 81
  • Index 84
  • Ayn Rand Essay Contests 88
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