Anthem is a novella written by Ayn Rand, designed to be a critique of socialism. The story takes place in a dystopian future in which the world has forgotten all singular personal pronouns (I, me, my) and is in a second dark age. The concept of individuality has been erased from living memory. People are assigned careers, serve the state, and are forbidden to ever be alone.
Anthem follows the story of a street sweeper named Equality 7-2521 who breaks the law and performs science experiments in solitude. He falls in love with Liberty 5-3000, breaking another law “The Transgression of Preference” and re-discovers electric light. The pair eventually run away together and rediscover the word “I.” Anthem is the story of the struggle of an individual to break free of “We,” and search for the so-called sacred light of individualism. Its premise is Ayn Rand’s flawed philosophy, objectivism.
My goal in typesetting this novel was to illustrate a “false clarity,” through bold typography. Ayn Rand’s rhetoric can sound very convincing at first read, but upon closer examination, is morally repugnant. Language is instrumental in restricting the novella’s main characters, and so I chose to use blocks of constricting, oppressive type to emphasize the struggle for “I” to emerge from “We.”