CliffsNotes Rand's Anthem

By Andrew Bernstein | Go to book overview

Chapter 11

Summary

“I am. I think. I will.” So opens the chapter in which Equality 7–2521 re-discovers the lost and holy word, the forbidden idea for which the Saint of the Pyre was burned at the stake. The acquisition of this knowledge fulfills the intellectual quest on which Equality 7–2521 had embarked as a 10-year-old—the attempt to discover and understand the Unspeakable Word.

He had searched for meaning in life, and now realizes that he is the meaning. He had wished to find a warrant for being, but now understands that he needs neither warrant nor sanction. He is the warrant and sanction of his existence. He is overcome with the emotional experience of his intellectual realization: he has a right to his own life. He is not a mere appendage of a group. He can choose his own path in life— his own interests, his own profession, his own wife, his own home. He is a free man, able to choose his goals, and then work strenuously to achieve them. Related to this is his realization that no individual— neither himself nor any other human being—is a tool to be employed by others for some end they seek to accomplish. Humans are not servants, he claims, to bow and scrape before society, to render obedient service. An individual is “not a sacrifice on their altars.”

Equality 7–2521 realizes, after studying the books of the Unmentionable Times, what the proper relation is between individuals. He owes no unchosen obligations to his brothers and sisters, nor do they owe him such. He states that he is neither a friend nor a foe to others, “but such as each of them shall deserve.” Love, he claims, must be earned—and that requires more than the sheer fact of being born; it requires the attainment of virtue.

Equality 7–2521 will choose friends from among his fellow humans, but neither masters nor servants. He says that he will love and respect his friends, but neither command nor obey them. And when humans come together in friendship and in love, they will join hands only beyond each one’s “holy threshold,” and each will respect the personal boundaries of the other. Looking back on his past life in the city—and thinking sorrowfully of those innocent people still trapped there—

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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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