Monday, November 3, 2008

The Importance of Being Earnest

A) Absurdity

Oscar Wilde's farce, The Importance of Being Earnest, is a social satire on the absurdity of the upper class in the Victorian Era and on self-deemed members of "high society". Throughout the entire play, the characters, who remain static, simply talk of literary fluff; there is no weight whatsoever in what they say. The character Algernon is a prime example of someone who can't differentiate important situations in life from frivolous ones. When he talks to his "friend" (How they consider their argumentative relationship, a friendship is completely ridiculous) Jack, they always argue over foolish things, such as how to correctly eat muffins, how to keep possession of one's cigarette tin correctly, and so on. These characters satirize high society in that they always believe that they are right, no matter how absurd the conversation is. When talking about what they should do Jack simply replies how everything is horrible and the only great thing to do is absolutely nothing. And the absurdity by no means stops here. The characterization of Cecily and Gwendolyn lends further credence to the ridiculousness of this need for high social standing. Both appear outrightly the epitome of high class, in a physical sense, yet on the inside both are as dull as the numerous things they reject. Cecily is so bored with her life that she foolishly believes the lie about earnest and writes letters from Earnest addressed to her. She even goes as far as to buy herself her own gifts from "Earnest". The entire lack of any concrete storyline or characters helps Wilde project his opinions of a truly foolish class of society.

* * *

"Lady Bracknell: Well, I must say, Algernon, that I think that it is high time that Mr. Bunbury should make up his mind on whether he is going to live or to die. This shilly-shallying with the question is absurd. Nor do i in any way approve of the modern sympathy with invalids. I consider it morbid. Illness of any kind is hardly a thing to be encouraged in others. Health is the primary duty of life. I am always telling that to your poor uncle, but he never seems to take much far as any improvement in his ailment goes. I should be obliged if you would ask Mr. Bunbury, from me, to be kind enough not to have a relapse on Saturday, for I rely on you to arrange my music for me. It is my last reception and one wants something that will encourage conversation, particularly at the end of the season when everyone has practically said whatever they had to say, which, in most cases, was probably not much."

The flamboyant attitude and revolting opinionated character that is Lady Bracknell is Wilde's greatest implementation of satire from a singular character in this play. Bracknell's entire opinion is one that is incredibly ridiculous both in its logic and in its compassion. She expects someone to simply get healthier on request or die, which is absolutely absurd. Along these lines the made up practice of Bunburying is one that shows the frivolous nature of Jack and Algernon. They both use this practice as a shield to deflect any responsibility. At the end of the novel, however, the lies they formulate come back to bite them and they both momentarily lose the "loves" of their lives (which doesn't make even more sense as they all just recently met each other and Gwen and Cecily will only marry a man named, 'Earnest"). It is absurd comments and opinions like these that Wilde uses to better satirize the absurdity of the haughtiness of those in "high society".

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C) Like most farces, this was an enjoyable work in its hilarity and its simplicity. With a lack of need for character development, the entire play simply focuses on a hilarious situation with side-additions of wit. It was certainly a fun read in class ;), however, in terms of literary weight it simply can't compare to a full-blown novel such as A tale of Two Cities. Overall, i would give this book a 4/5 because although it was rather hilarious quick read, it didn't really lend as much literary weight as a novel. however, for 54 pages to convey at least some literary meaning makes this novel worth reading.

Oscar Wilde is just awesome like that.

A Tale of Two Cities

A) Dualism and the Doppelganger

Dickens's novel, A Tale of Two Cities, implements the literary theme of the doppelganger as a means of creating more vivid characters. The greatest situation of which comes from the clash of characterization between Sydney Carton and Charles Darnay. While both look alike, they are the complete foil of each other, which helps to amplify the traits of both characters. Carton is an alcoholic lawyer who works as the assistant to Mr. Stryver a less intelligent, but more ambitious lawyer. Carton is an idle and certainly uncompromising man who doesn't care how insolent he is. However, he knows exactly where he stands and is not afraid to admit that he is not a good person, yet he is unwilling and unable to change his ways. Darnay, on the other hand, is the epitome of a young gentleman. Charles is a former French aristocrat who renounced his title and now works as a French tutor in England. He is ambitious, courageous, and certainly not an alcoholic. This great contrast further portrays the characters in their actions. In fact, Carton envies Darnay as they both love the same woman, yet he knows that his personality, the complete opposite of Darnay's, will never win the love of Lucie manette. The most striking feature of this dualist relationship, however, is their nearly identical looks. it is this physical similarity yet great schism in personality that makes Darnay and Carton almost two facets of the same person, which in effect places Carton as a doppelganger. However, the greatest change in character occurs when Carton nobly switches places with Darnay and sacrifices himself for Darnay and ultimately, Lucie. He realizes that Darnay is undeserving of execution and switches with him to justify his own existence. Therefore, by sacrificing himself (Christ figure) he enables self-justification for his actions by performing this one great selfless act that he has gone through life being the complete reciporical of. It is this skillful use of dualistic characters that Dickens further embellishes the plot into something with more meaning for both Darnay and Carton.

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B) "When he was left alone, this strange being took up a candle, went to a glass that hung against the wall, and surveyed himself minutely in it.
'Do you particularly like the man?' he muttered, at his own image, 'why should you particularly like a man who resembles you? There is nothing in you to like; you know that. Ah, confound you! What a change you have made in yourself! A good reason for taking to a man, that he shows you what you have fallen away from, and what you might have been! Change places with him and you would be looked at by those blue eyes as he was, and commiserated by that agitated face as he was? Come on, and have it out in plain words! You hate the fellow.'
He resorted to his pint of wine for consolation, drank it all in a few minutes, and fell asleep on his arms, with his hair straggling over the table, and a long minding-sheet in the candle dripping down upon him." (Dickens 64)

This passage conveys the true character and desire of Sydney Carton. Sydney looks at the life he is in now: a scraggly drunkard with little passion for anything in life. When compared to Charles Darnay, he sees just far he has fallen from grace. This emotinal scene shows truly the futility of Carton's struggle and also provides a foreshadow for Carton's justification at the end by literally switching with Darnay and taking the blame. This perfect description of Dickens's most profound doppelganger creation in the novel portrays just how truly opposite these characters truly are and how when compared to each other, incites a great desire for emotional change from the fallen half of the doppelganger.

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C) While I usually recoil from the writing style of Dickens, it is one that makes him one of the most notable writers in history. While some of his description may be described by some as arduous and toilsome, in they end they truly blend together to form a perfect plot line with eloquent characterization and a rather emotional ending. Dickens's descriptive style, while time-consuming, provides such a clear and vivid image in the reader's mind, that it is truly remarkable in and of itself. His metaphors and allusions provide such great pieces of literary spice to the book that it felt realistic in and of itself. I have to say even I originally complained about reading Dickens, yet after reading this book, i recant on what I have said. As many say, "If you can master Dickens, you can master anything in literature." This novel deserves nothing short of a 5/5.

Typical student's reaction to Dickens

Cat's Cradle

"This is the way the world ends; not with a bang, but a whimper." -T. S. Eliot

A) The Pursuit of Happiness:

In Vonnegut's satirical novel Cat's Cradle, the small island nation of San Lorenzo becomes the contrast to Ilium, New York. San Lorenzo, an experimental utopia on a small caribbean island, becomes the reciporical for Ilium, the industrialized focal point of science and technology. However, while both may revolve around different ideals, inhabitants of both of these places are constantly in the pursuit of happiness. While Ilium revolves around the illustrious scientific genius, Dr. Felix Hoenikker, San Lorenzo revolves around the enigmatic Bokonon, the founder of the religion of Bokononism. Bokononism is founded on the on principles that appeal to human nature. For example, Bokononism is deemed illegal on San Lorenzo, therefore it appeals to the human psyche of reverse psychology. The first sentence of the book of Bokonon reads, "All of the true things I am about to tell you are shameless lies." This even further compounds the integration of the pursuit of happiness in this religion. While in other major religions, major components of the faith are often questioned, in Bokononism it is already spoken outright that this religion will not provide all of the answers, which ironically, is the answer many people seek to find.
The characterization in the novel helps lend further credence to the theme of the oursuit of happiness. A prime example of this is found in the children of Dr. Felix Hoenikker. The Hoenikker children, Newt, Angela, and Frank, who seem fairly harmless at first, simply want to be happy. However, their seemingly innocent attempts to gain an impossible happiness leads to the destruction of life on earth. Newt's futile quest for love from someone who shares the same disabilities as him leads to the Soviet Union acquiring a piece of the destructive Ice-Nine. Angela uses her Ice-Nine as a means to find her own love as well. Frank, however, who resembles his father the most, uses his Ice-Nine to gain power over San Lorenzo. However, when "Papa" Monzano passes, even Frank realizes he doesn't want this seat of power and simply wants to be happy; and so he relegates the power over to John, who is himself a sort of wayward magazine journalist that has also arrived at San Lorenzo for happiness. In this way, the Hoenikker children come to represent the people of the world searching for happiness. This search for happiness is viewed by some as perhaps the most universal of human endeavors and a noble goal. However, Vonnegut portrays this very humanistic effort as being neither as simple, or as moral, as it is generally perceived to be. Ultimately, this pursuit of happiness and lack of mature responsibility culminates in San Lorenzo and brings about the end of the world.

* * *

B) "Ice-Nine was the last gift Felix Hoenikker created for mankind before going to his just reward. He did it without realizing what he was doing. He did it without leaving records of what he'd done......Dr. Hoenikker had only to go calling on Laboratory neighbors--borrowing this and that, making a winsome neighborhood nuisance of himself--until, so to speak, he had baked his last batch of brownies." (Vonnegut Chapter 23)

This entire quote focuses on the true danger that belies something that is seemingly innocent. Dr. Hoenikker was a peculiar sort of person. A true savant, Dr. Hoenikker can only focus on one project at a time, which leads, overall, to the destructive power of his concentrated thought. While Dr. Hoenikker was a childish man who couldn't even look after his own kids, he was in the meantime a Nobel prize winner and father of the atom bomb and Ice-Nine. The utter destructive power contained inside such a tiny crystal shows the dark face of science. This entire quote is satirical in nature, as it is a major understatement of Dr. Hoenikker's invention. Comparing something exponentially more dangerous than the atom bomb with a "batch of brownies" displays just how ridiculously dangerous the entire situation is. Vonnegut stresses the theme of power throughout his entire novel. Overall, every character in the novel is given power by the Ice-nine they have, yet are definitely unsuited for the destructive power it holds. This entire novel portrays how a dangerous weapon, if fallen in the wrong hands, can lead to misuse and ultimately the destruction of mankind altogether.

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C) As a previous reader of Player Piano and Slaughterhouse-5, I had very high expectations for Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle. As the master of satire, I often enjoy his realistic yet, subtle approach to his literary motifs. Instead of writing a novel where he preaches on "the soapbox", Vonnegut delivers a clever situation laced with irony and connotation. I found this entire novel a pleasure to read and overall, a very well-thought-out practical novel. The entire chapter setup Vonnegut gives in this book makes it seem more easy to read, and yet informative as well. Many of the short chapter titles actually contain significance to major themes of the novel. Overall, I found Vonnegut's characterization, plot, and flow of the novel as up to par with his other literary masterpieces with a somewhat more tasteful and certainly more censored storyline. If I had to rate this novel, I would definitely rate this a 5/5 for a satire novel. Vonnegut's timeless presentation has earned him a mark of fame in the literary community and that aspect of his writing certainly shines in this novel.

Whoops, sorry........wrong Armageddon

Fahrenheit 451

A) Fire:
In Bardbury's novel Fahrenheit 451 there are many major symbols used throughout the course of the plot, the most illustrious of which, is fire. In the beginning of the novel, fire is used as a means of suppression, a form by which the government can cleanse all of the impurities from their society, the largest of which being books. The title of the first section, 'The Hearth and the Salamander" shows Montag's characterization with fire at the beginning of the fire. A Salamander, which is a mythical creature that is unaffected by fire, is the fitting definition for Montag as he happily goes about his occupation of fireman. The opening sentence of the novel reads, "It was a pleasure to burn, to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed." This opening statement personifies fire as a destructive entity implemented for censorship. As the novel progresses, this viewpoint of fire is amplified when it consumes the old woman who refuses to leave her books. This high-tension situation strikes a certain chord in Montag's mind that causes him to rethink about society's opinion on books. At the climax of the novel, fire is used in the ultimate form of purging by purging all of Montag's connections with his former society. When he burns down his house, it is symbolic of his rejection of all the material entities of the society and when he burns incinerates Beatty, it represents his rejection of the philosophical nature of the society. however, by the end of the novel, fire is dramatically changed in Montag's eyes. what was once a form of destruction becomes a form of necessity and comfort. When Montag escapes from the society, he discovers the importance of fire and its true use when the other men build one and cook their meal over it. This shows Montag how fire is also life-giving as well. This allusion is also paralleled by Granger's relation of humanity to the story of the phoenix. The phoenix dies by consuming itself in flames, yet in the end, a new phoenix is reborn from the ashes. The symbol of the phoenix's rebirth refers not only to the collective rebirth of humankind but also to Montag's spiritual resurrection. The final form of this cleansing actually occurs when the city is bombed and consumed by the fire, representing the destructive power of human ignorance. Throughout history man has viewed fire as friend and foe. It has killed lives, yet it has saved countless others. It has destroyed many aspects of human progress, yet it has also helped stimulate this same progress. In the end, this double-edged sword comes to symbolize the whole mindset and change in Montag's ways from a mindless drone to a free-thinker.

* * *

"Colored people don't like Little Black Sambo. Burn it. White people don't feel good about Uncle Tom's Cabin. Burn it. Someone's written a book on tobacco and cancer of the lungs? The cigarette people are weeping? Burn the book. Serenity, Montag. Peace, Montag. Take your fight outside. Better yet, into the incinerator. Funerals are unhappy and pagan? Eliminate them too. Five minutes after a person is dead he's on his way to the Big Flue, the Incinerators serviced by helicopters all over the country. Ten minutes after death a man's a speck of black dust. Let's not quibble over individuals with memoriums. Forget them. Burn all, burn everything. Fire is bright and fire is clean." (Bradbury 59-60)

This entire passage, spoken by Beatty and directed towards Montag, illustrates the empty ideal of censorship. Bradbury implements the discontent of different groups of people as the spark that incinerates the fires of totalitarian government regulation. As the old saying goes, "You can't please everyone", yet everyone in this society wishes to be happy and hollow rather than be offended and full of life. Mildred manifests these ideals by the actions she commits throughout the novel. She goes through every day a leech, living in a fantasy land created by a television screen, and ends up committing suicide every time she feels discontent. After which Montag has her blood repumped and she is primed for another day of pointless existence. Wash, rinse, repeat. This futile existence is further amplified by the mention of funerals in the passage. In the present day, a funeral is a time of great emotion and personal inquisition. It is a time where the dead are honored for their life accomplishments. In this society, however, the only thing remaining of a person 10 minutes after they've died is a "black speck of dust." This is a symbol as well for the emptiness and lack of worth in these peoples' lives. This passage is also yet another reference to fire as a cleansing agent. All of these ideals ultimately form into the dystopia that is Montag's society.

* * *

C) Fahrenheit 451 was a captivating read that kept me hooked until the final conclusion. Bradbury's blending of symbolism with rich dialogue is what makes this book a literary great. The profound transition of Montag's mind was most captivating to me and by the end, Montag became one of the most dynamic characters I have ever witnessed. The novel was easy to read, had a very simple yet genuine flow, and had a rather resolved ending in terms of Montag versus himself. Overall, I'd give this book a 5/5, a must-read for sci-fi/dystopia fans.

The Mechanical Hound is the premier killing machine

The Handmaid's Tale

A) Religion as a Front:
In Margaret Atwood's novel, The Handmaid's Tale there are many moral questions raised in the novel that are addressed by Atwood's stylistic symbolism, allusions, and connotation. The largest of these questions addresses the validity of religion. The Republic of Gilead, where the main character Offred is forced to reside in, is an extreme fundamentalist christian society. In this society, religion is taken to the extreme by forcing the separation of the sexes, forcing their religion upon nonbelievers, and subjugating and degrading women.
One central component of any religion is faith, which is one of the three religious virtues along with love and charity. One of the central symbols in the novel is the "faith" embroidered pillow. The pillow is dingy, used up, and the word "faith" is faded. This represents not only Offred's questioning of her own faith in this horrible society but also poses the question of the validity of faith in a radical sect of religion. However, Atwood subtly points out that the pillow is, "worn, but not used up". This shows shows how no matter how dire or hopeless the situation, faith will always be prevalent, even if it has been battered and bruised and is at the breaking point. Faith is the major component of religion and if faith is lost in the religion at large, then it is truly not a religion at all.
Some philisophers proposed that, "Religion was created by man as a means to control the masses." Atwood exploits this philosophy throughout the entire novel and questions if religion can allow personal freedom for all. One such way in which she poses this question is through the characterization of the Commander. In the beginning of the novel the Commander is percieved as a stern keeper of the "faith", with the greatest freedoms among any other members of society. However, as Offred gets to know the Commander, she sees the Commander is truly a man of appalling values who remains miserable, even with all of the freedoms he has. The Commander, who is the personification of the high command of society, reveals to Offred all of the hyprocisy and double standards the seemingly orthodox society have upheld as "sinful" actions. The lack of compassion even in other people such as the Commander's wife opens Offred's eyes to the true evil of the society. The fact that the commander mentions, "We had to break a few eggs to make an omelette" is a major understatement about a society where women are subjugated and forced to become walking uteruses.
Religion is something that should be heartfelt and true. Atwood questions just how heartfelt and true the religion is in the novel and in various extreme sects today when she introduces the Soul Scrolls shop. Soul Scrolls, a building where prayers are mechanically processed and ordered mock the devout parctice of prayer by making it into a comemrcialized, monotonous, and mechanized entity. These soul scrolls question just how valid the religion in Gilead can be if it isn't heartfelt.
Overall, while the novel appears to many a direct attack by Atwood upon religion in general, one must remember that the setting is in a fictional extremeist society. On the other hand, Atwood's novel is an attack on extremist sects of religion that promote some of the practices that many members of society find questionable. It doesn't proclaim how religion is bad, but how religion, when used as a front, can get out of hand and ultimately ruin the society at large. Atwood emphasizes the golden rule of religion, 'Do unto others as you would do unto yourself." Questioning the validity of religion in a totalitarian, hypocritical society allows the reader to connect with the novel and better sympathize with Offred's plight for change.
* * *
B) "It's a club?" I say.
"Well, that's what we call it among ourselves. The club."
"I thought this sort of thing was strictly forbidden," I say.
"Well, officially," he says. "But everyone's human after all."
......"Who are these people?" I ask him.
......"Well, some of them are real pros. Working girls" -he laughs- "from the time before. They couldn't be assimilated; anyway, most of them prefer it here."
"And the others?"
'The others?" he says. "Well, we have quite a collection........." (Atwood 237-238)

Throughout the entire novel, the Republic of Gilead is shown as a society of impregnable standards that not even the men appeared to be able to break. However, with the introduction of this quote, that entire buildup goes down the drain as the Commander explains how there can be exceptions to the rules. This helps attribute to the clause that Gilead implements religion in order to suppress the masses. Power corrupts. And Absolute power corrupts absolutely. This entire personifies the full-blown extent of hypocrisy in a society that suppress all sexual activity.
* * *
C) The setting of The Handmaid's Tale is one that to me was extremely too farfetched of a concept to deliver Atwood's message. While Atwood's motiffs were generally clear, they just simply couldn't be purveyed to me in such a bizarre setting. While Atwood rejects religious fanaticism, what ends up popping up in mind is the reassurance that this is a ridiculously figmented situation. Comparing such an extreme form of mysogyny to the treatment of women today is truly absurd and to me the message becomes muddled by Atwood's awkward attempt at making pseudo a world where she can direct her criticism on certain aspects of modern society by over-exaggerating the fake society in her book. Yes it is true that in the past that the world cultures were greatly mysogenic. And yes it is true that even today women aren't treated as equally as they should be. However, that doesn't deviate from the fact that the message Atwood sends is through a rather biased situation where she can implement over-the-top situations that just don't compare to the situations of our modern day society in the United States. While some may argue that in today's world a similar situation is happening in the Middle East, i am not denying that. I am simply saying that Atwood's setting is in the USA and that her idea of a radical and abrupt change in the USA's government is slightly airing on absurdity. While one could go off on a tangent about the objectible themes in this novel, it would simply drive one askew from enjoying the book.
In closing, I found the plot and the themes of this novel somewhat questionable. The disturbing nature of the entire novel definitely did not convince me to read another one of Atwood's works. Overall, I give this book a 2/5 for its failure to convey a thoughtful, moral statement in a far fetched setting.

General reaction to "The Ceremony" scene

Sunday, November 2, 2008


A) Individuality:

In Ayn Rand's novella Anthem the theme of human individuality is addressed. Throughout the enrite novel Equality 7-2521 is at odds with his society. He tried to conform to the standard the others set, but no matter how hard he tried, he was smarter and quicker than they were. However, Equality could never truly hide his intellectual gifts and ended up running away from the community. In a society where the gifted are suppressed, there is no forward progress whatsoever. For example, the world council of scholars, which dictates what technology can be used in the society, recoils at Equality's presentation of his lightbulb he has invented. Equality's dexterity and inventive genius leave everybody else in the community feeling belittled and so they ultimately reject what could have been a revolutionary invention. Meanwhile, the only light technology they have, the candle, took "50 years" to become approved. Rand uses this incredulously ridiculous circumstance to show just how backwards this society is. Equality realizes his full potential when he discovers the word "I" and realizes that he is the center of his own universe. In Equality's society, all the members are sapped of their energy and drained of their creativity until they become shapeless, faceless wastes made inarticulate by fear of rejection by the group. By contrast, those characters capable of thinking on their own, such as Equality, exhibit strength, fearlessness, and self-assurance. The biggest form of this fearlessness is in Equality's martyrdom. When he is discovered sneaking out of the theatre, he is put in prison and is beaten until he tells the other members of the society where he has been going. However, Equality feels no pain, only joy that he has not revealed the secret of the lightbulb. He even consents to stay locked in his cell until it is time to break out and go show his invention to the World Council of Scholars. In both cases, what matters to the martyr is not the pain but the ideal, which trancends all physical entities, and the ideal is always worth dying for. willingness to die for an ideal marks a hero and distinguishes him or her from the rest of society. Aother example is the Transgressor who spoke the Unspeakable Word. When he is burned at the stake in front of Equality 7-2521, the Transgressor of the Unspeakable Word shows no fear or pain, only great ecstasy in his knowledge of the word that the rest of society has forgotten. This martyrdom is the ultimate form of individuality and choosing one's ideals over the society's. This martyr feels nothing but joy at the discovery of his or her ideal and is willing to die for it, which truly shows the strength and importance of individuality.

* * *

B) “The word ‘We’ is as lime poured over men, which sets and hardens to stone, and crushes all beneath it, and that which is white and that which is black are lost equally in the grey of it. It is the word by which the depraved steal the virtue of the good, by which the weak steal the might of the strong, by which fools steal the wisdom of the sages. What is my joy if all hands, even the unclean, can reach into it? What is my wisdom, if even the fools can dictate to me? What is my freedom, if all creatures, even the botched and impotent, are my masters? What is my life, if I am but to bow, to agree and to obey?” (Rand 97)

This passage spoke to me as the overall anthem (no pun intended) of the entire motif of the novel. Once Equality 7-2521 read about the forbidden word “I” in his readings at the house he had chosen to reside in, his entire view on the society that rejected him and on himself changed instantly. He even changes his name which is a strong indication of his rejection of society. His old name, Equality 7-2521, was not even a name but more like a label assigned to him by the society he was forced to abide with. Even his assigned name is ironic as it is more of a simple principle among his society of “We” than it would ever be a name. His new name, Prometheus, is a fine choice as the ancient Greek myth of Prometheus mirrors, in a sense, his plight against society. Prometheus in the ancient Greek myth was the bringer of light to the unworthy human race while Equality 7-2521 brings his light of truth to the society. All of chapter XI is a period of reflection and meditation in Prometheus’s life after he has submerged into this psychological and intellectual windfall. This entire passage illustrates how he is disgusted that non-productive society uses laws manipulation to leech from the value that could be created by productive members of society, and furthermore even exalt the qualities of the leeches over the possible workers and inventors to be. His comparison of the forcible use of the word “We” in his society to lime truly opened my eyes to such a distinctive and accurate metaphor. Overall, Prometheus’s realization of the truth that was present in his life all along and suppressed by society couldn’t be spoken more clearly than in these two paragraphs.

* * *

C) Anthem is a a little-known literary gem shrouded by Rand's two better-known masterpieces, Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. This novel directly presents Rand's philosophy of Objectivism in a simple manner rather than in the intricacies mentioned in Rand's two other afore mentioned works. In this Dystopian society, the word "I" is banned and so for almost the entire novel the work is written with the words "we" and "they" replacing the subjective words of "I" and "You". This stylistic writing form, while difficult to grasp at first, played a major factor in the turning point of the novel. As Equality 7-2521 discovers the word "I" its introduction into the novel is stunning and captivating and even the reader is startled by this dramatic shift in perspective. The central message of the novel as a whole is easy to interpret and is very straightforward. The only section I personally found lacking was the ending. While it was comforting to reveal Equality 7-2521's newfound knowledge and mission to eradicate the world of ignorance, the ending was relatively open and left the me questioning whether Equality truly can succeed or if all hope is lost for humanity. While I personally prefer resolved endings, I feel that was a fitting ending for the entire novel since equality's true journey was his quest for knowledge and his war against the societal suppression of his gifted intellect. In closing, I found Anthem to be a captivating read that kept me turning page after page until it was all over. The only lacking facet is the novel's length, which really makes it more of a novella than anything. The span of about 100 pages leaves little room for minor literary intricacies to be laced into the plot that are normally found in lengthier novels. Overall, I would rate Anthem a 4/5 and would definitely suggest it as a good read for those not interested in divulging in the other lengthy works of Rand.

Alternatively, you can play Ayn Rand: the game (AKA Bioshock) where in the final level, you fight Ayn Rand