Anthem | Study Guide

Ayn Rand

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Anthem | Chapter 10 | Summary



Equality 7-2521 and Liberty 5-3000 have found an abandoned house, appearing as a "white flame among the trees," from the Unmentionable Times. The house has small rooms and only two beds. The closets are full of colorful clothes. There is a room full of shelves and books. The couple declares the house to be for them and them alone. They pledge not to share it with anyone else. Then Equality 7-2521 goes out and kills a mountain goat for dinner while Liberty 5-3000 stands in front of the mirror for hours. Liberty 5-3000 falls asleep, but Equality 7-2521 stays awake and contemplates his purpose.


The house Equality 7-2521 finds is another fire of hope, like the flame Liberty 5-3000 sees in Equality 7-2521's eyes in Chapter 9. The house symbolizes his hope for an individual identity lived out far from the oppressive collective. For one, after having been forced to wear white all their lives, they now can choose from a closet full of colorful clothes to express their personal style. He notes that the house is large enough to fit "not more than twelve men," and with only two beds, only two people could have slept there. This astounds him after coming from sleeping in rooms with 100 beds. The house also contains rooms "full of light." This is both literal and metaphorical, as one of the rooms contains volumes of books full of knowledge.

Finding this house from before links him to the knowledge collected by those from before. He does not need to start over from scratch in creating the ideals of a society of individuals away from the collective; he can learn and build a future upon the ideas of wise men from the past. This marks him not only as an innovative scientific inventor but also as a great thinker concerned with philosophy and human understanding. Like the pivotal moment when Equality 7-2521 saw his reflection at the stream in Chapter 8, Liberty 5-3000 goes through her own catharsis of self-knowledge in front of the mirror in the house. She cannot get enough of looking at her own body and knowing herself.

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