Anthem | Study Guide

Ayn Rand

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Anthem | Chapter 11 | Summary



Equality 7-2521 has found the word "I." And in this word he has come to "the end of the quest." He stands on the summit of the mountain and declares his anthem to "I." He declares that he is his own guiding star. Happiness is its own goal, not the means to an end. He is no longer a tool for anyone else, only himself. He owes nothing to anyone. He chooses his own friends. He is "done with the monster of" the word "we." He has seen the face of God: it is one word: "I."


Chapter 11 is Equality 7-2521's anthem in praise of the word "I." He has discovered it in the books from the Unmentionable Times, and it has completed his transformation from cog in the collective machine to maker of his own destiny. With this word he fully embraces his own free will. "It is my will which chooses," he says, "and the choice of my will is the only edict I must respect." This personal declaration of free will and individualism is in direct opposition to the values of collectivism he grew up with. Where he was once simply a "tool," "servant," and "sacrifice" to the needs of others, he now owns his own self. This is freedom, and he literally shouts from a mountaintop about his new paradigm.

He understands the word "we" has been used to further the evil of his collective society. It is "the word of serfdom, of plunder, of misery, falsehood and shame." But, he also notes that it need not be. "We" can be spoken if it is "by one's choice and as a second thought." This allows for men to "join hands" when they wish to form a community, but never at the sacrifice of one's own self.

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