"It is a sin to write this. It is a sin to think words no others think and to put them down upon a paper no others are to see. It is base and evil. It is as if we were speaking alone to no ears but our own. And we know well that there is no transgression blacker than to do or think alone." --Ayn Rand

Find Ayn Rand's biography here and learn more about the author of Anthem. This biography will be essential when we explore the novella through the lens of historicism and take into account what was happening to, and around, Rand when she wrote Anthem.

Ayn Rand Biography

Fascism, Socialism, and Communism

Rand had strong views on Fascism, Socialism, and Communism, even commenting on the horror that was brought upon by the Nazi's in WWII and the Holocaust. These views played a key role in what she wrote about in her novels. Browse through this page and see how she comments on the role of the individual with these three regimes and how it ultimately suffers.

“To be a socialist,” says Goebbels, “is to submit the I to the thou; socialism is sacrificing the individual to the whole." By this definition, the Nazis practiced what they preached. They practiced it at home and then abroad. No one can claim that they did not sacrifice enough individuals." -- Ayn Rand

V for Vendetta

Many of you are probably familiar with this film, or the graphic novel series. We will be focusing on several aspects of this novel in comparison to Anthem. Most importantly, we will focus on V's speech that he makes to England after hijacking the "big brother" style closed-circuit television network. Click on "V for Vendetta" to see the text of V's speech as you watch this clip of it.

"Words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth." -- V from "V for Vendetta"


This poem, by William Ernest Henley, served as inspiration for Rand. We will analyze this poem, paying special attention to what Rand used and what she did not, if anything. You will receive a handout of this poem, but this online reference will be available if you need another copy to work from.

"It matters not how strait the gate/ How charged with punishments the scroll./ I am the master of my fate:/ I am the captain of my soul." --William Ernest Henley