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Anthem by Ayn Rand: Discrimination Theme Essay


Anthem is a fiction book written by Ayn Rand. The book highlights the theme of discrimination. In the book, a certain category of people is treated as inferior and lacking any rights, and they are required to serve the interests of others. This is the perfect definition of discrimination in society, and this shows that the author is clearly abreast of the theme of discrimination. For the reader, taking this topic to the end was an effective way to present the theme; here, the book comes out as focused, allowing the reader’s mind to concentrate on one topic.

Here, it is important to point out that through this focus on one topic, the book deals with the theme in the most extensive way. From the book, one can indeed learn all which relates to discrimination, and as an example, this book teaches that with discrimination, a group’s basic rights are denied. This is presented in the book from the way the narrators are denied the chance to advance in learning as well as excommunicated when they make the discovery. Analyzed this way, the conclusion is that this book is informative. It teaches the whole topic of discrimination for anyone to fully learn it.

The theme of Discrimination in Rand’s Anthem

The use of symbolism by the author is also important to note. According to the author, those discriminating used politics as well as social structures to continue the same. In the book, these elements of discrimination include, among others, ‘palace of corrective detention…council of the home, home of scholars, homes of the useless among others (Ayn 14). In the book, these names represent forms of leadership that are supposed to treat people equally but which have been framed to continue discrimination and persecution on the category of those who are discriminated against.

The use of symbolism in the book achieves three objectives. First is that it makes the reader get the connection between leadership in this country (setting) and the leaders themselves. Reading the book, and coming across the symbols of discrimination used in it, the reader discovers that discrimination was being hatched by leaders and also implemented by the same group. To this end, symbolism in the book helps the reader to understand the theme of discrimination. They also help the leader to connect the different elements of the whole theme of discrimination.

The thematic correctness of the book is also worth something; this is clear when liberty, as discussed in the book, is considered. In the book, the theme of liberty is presented as the opposite of discrimination, and there is a category representing liberty in this book. As presented in the book, this group does possess an important quality of confidence (Ayn 14). Analyzed against what is known of liberty heroes, one concurs that this is a true description of liberty heroes. No hero walks with his head down. The group of liberty, as described in the book, indeed highlights the motivation of freedom.

In the book, they are described as having no guilt. This should be the case, and to fight for liberty is basically a resolve, which means a determination to bring down an aggressive system. This, in the end, means that there should be a full belief in what one is doing and a complete lack of second thoughts. For the group of liberty to be presented this way, the author must have thought of the trends in the personality of freedom and human rights advocates. The decision to present the truth about them is a correct step that allows the book to be trusted for a read. In the book, many things are presented in the way one would expect them to happen if the incidences were happening for real.

Besides seeking to be true, the author also seeks to make this book only an act of art. The author does use the technique of narration to bring about the events, as they would be ordered (Ayn 13). In the book, the narrator suffers the brunt of discrimination as the author views it. In this sense, the narrator is lashed, locked up, banished, and receives such harsh treatments because the author believes such is what discrimination and authoritarian systems do. This is artistic on the part of the author as he makes the book emotional. As the reader suffers from the narrator, the author achieves the objective of teaching the intended message that discrimination and authoritarian is not good. Basically, no one reading this book will fail to be emotionally affected; anyone will feel pity for the narrator and anger to the perpetrators.

This is what is intended in the book by being a good strategy of appealing to the emotions of the reader. By this strategy, the book comes out as achieving the impact of being owned by the reader. It makes each reader passionate not only on the incidences in the book but also on the theme of discrimination and authoritarian discussed. The suffering which the narrator goes through is used in the book to create a somber mood. For the book, this somber mood helps in creating a desire to help the narrator and others in the same category of persons discriminated against.

This is analytic terms, which means that the book achieves the impact of bringing about awareness on civil rights as it connects the reader with the need to fight for equality in employment, education, and in other areas of social participation. As the reader reads this book, he or she becomes aware of civil liberties and how much can exist as denied. He or she becomes aware of the point that education is a right that should be given to all. He or she also learns that employment for the sole benefit to the employer and never for the economic benefit of the employee is a form of discrimination. All these make the book a good read for civil rights awareness in society.

The author, in discussing this theme of discrimination, also makes a connection of the same to an idea or a possession. In the view of the actions in the book, in the case of discrimination, possessions are usually denied even when they are unalienable. In teaching the idea, the book ensures that it sinks through appealing to the emotions of the reader. Here, the author highlights an incidence that depicts strong emotions relating to possession of a place; here, the narrator identifies readiness to die for this place. The book is clever in using this technique; it not only presents a true picture of a true activist but also brings about a sense of nationhood towards civil changes. This considered the book itself could be defined as a force of activism.

Corporal punishment has been described by the author as the epitome of this discrimination by a dictatorial and authoritarian system. In the book, corporal punishment is depicted by detention in poor conditions as well as lashing. The book also presents a true scenario here; this is because the reality of this happening is there. These (punitive) strategies have been used for many decades by authoritarian leaders. Seeing that their leadership has been exposed to its negatives (discrimination), such leaders usually take to fear instilling techniques.

They take to punishing the lowly in the cruelest manner such that they would not desire to take the path of finding their state (Reisigl and Wondak 131). From the book, this is the dimension on which activism is created. The book is of activism in nature basically because this section of the book highlights advice to those who chose activism. The book does advice them to expect suffering and repulsion from the leadership promoting discrimination.

Looking at all these stylistic and thematic good of the book, one could easily be tempted to conclude that the book has no mistake. This is not true. The first is from the presentation of the content. The book does not mention any theme. It only discusses actions and scenes relating to themes. This approach creates many gaps. Overall, one does not really know the exact theme being discussed. It creates room for much of guesswork from the reader. Besides the content, the symbolism used is also hard to understand. For the reader, the book may come out as very vague when discussing these symbols of leadership and dictatorship (Kellough 98).

This book is an artistic production that is supposed to depict how society is. It depicts how society views discrimination and heroes. It identifies how politicians would behave in such systems. This, however, does not mean it is true. The political state today is that discrimination on any ground is not abhorred and can even lead to loss of votes or political oblivion. It does not matter which side one comes from; discrimination means political suicide. This considered.

Thus, the book comes out as out of reality because, unlike divide and rule, which is suggested in the book, today’s leadership is driven by strive for inclusion (McCauley et al. 144). This way, in all the developed counties today, leaders who come out to publicly or privately discriminate are not given that chance to lead. In addition, as opposed to the book where the international community lends a blind eye to the process of reforms, the situation in the world today is that the world cannot tolerate discrimination in any country. In many cases, it is the international community which brings about liberty.


As discussed, this book is effective in teaching on the theme of discrimination. As discussed, the symbolism used as well as the activism approach taken on by the book, is important in making it effective in this role of teaching and influencing beliefs on civil rights in a political system. As discussed too, the book fails on presenting the reality of leadership and political approaches today, because, unlike in the book where discrimination rules, inclusion is the case today.

Works cited

Ayn Rand. Anthem. Paris: Feedbooks, 1938. Print

Kellough, J E. Understanding Affirmative Action: Politics, Discrimination, and the Search for Justice. Washington, D.C: Georgetown University Press, 2006. Print.

McCauley, Cynthia., et al. The Center for Creative Leadership Handbook of Leadership Development. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 2010. Print

Reisigl, Martin, Wondak, Martin. Discourse and discrimination: rhetorics of racism and anti-semitism. New York: Routledge, 2001. Print

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Anthem by Ayn Rand: Discrimination Theme'. 6 June.

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