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Themes and Colors
Individualism Theme Icon
Collectivism Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Power Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Anthem, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Love Theme Icon

The collectivist culture Equality 7-2521 is born into appears designed to eliminate meaningful interpersonal relationships. People are afraid even to speak their minds to one another, “for all must agree with all, and they cannot know if their thoughts are the thoughts of all.” Deep personal connections are eliminated in the name of equality and impartiality; even the intimate act of sex is reduced to a shamefully impersonal once-a-year trip to the “Palace of Mating.” The profound love that Equality 7-2521 finds and shares with the Golden One is a large motivator of his decision to escape from society, and her choice to follow in search of him.

Thus, Rand asserts that the relationships that develop under collectivism are shallow and unfulfilling, and that truly dignifying relationships require the assertion of the individual ego. Rand criticizes collectivists for turning concepts like freedom and equality into meaningless bromides; she also seems to argue that collectivism diminishes love in much the same way. Upon realizing the power of his own ego, Equality 7-2521 proclaims, “I am neither foe nor friend to my brothers, but such as each of them shall deserve of me. And to earn my love, my brothers must do more than to have been born. I do not grant my love without reason, nor to any chance passer-by who may wish to claim it. I honor men with my love. But honor is a thing to be earned.” In this way, Rand’s individualistic ideal allows for powerful interpersonal connections, rather than the demeaning one-size-fits-all approach that collectivist society imposes.

Love ThemeTracker

The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Love appears in each chapter of Anthem. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
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Love Quotes in Anthem

Below you will find the important quotes in Anthem related to the theme of Love.
Chapter 1 Quotes

International 4-8818 and we are friends. This is an evil thing to say, for it is a transgression, the great Transgression of Preference, to love any among men better than the others, since we must love all men and all men are our friends. So International 4-8818 and we have never spoken of it. But we know. We know, when we look into each other's eyes. And when we look thus without words, we both know other things also, strange things for which there are no words, and these things frighten us.

Related Characters: Equality 7-2521 (speaker), International 4-8818
Page Number: 14
Explanation and Analysis:

As a young man, Equality befriends a man named International 4-8818. In Equality's society, friendship of any kind is a sin, because it violates the principles of collectivism: to be friends with somebody is to prefer them to other people, and therefore to disrespect the basic rules of collectivism.

In general, the passage paints a picture of the contrast between individualism and collectivism. In spite of the fact that Equality's society strives to wipe out all traces of individuality by rewriting the rules of language itself, Equality continues to feel individualistic inclinations. Even if there's no word for the bond between himself and International, both he and International feel the bond. Society may try to wipe out individual thought and love, but in the end, Equality's individualism wins out.


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Chapter 2 Quotes

We do not wonder at this new sin of ours. It is our second Transgression of Preference, for we do not think of all our brothers, as we must, but only of one, and their name is Liberty 5-3000. We do not know why we think of them. We do not know why, when we think of them, we feel of a sudden that the earth is good and that it is not a burden to live.

Related Characters: The Golden One
Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:

Almost right away, Equality becomes interested in a woman named Liberty 5-3000. Although Equality lacks the proper terminology to describe his own emotions, we can tell that he's falling in love with Liberty.

The passage defines Rand's most basic critique of the collectivist society. A society that celebrates unity and group identity violates mankind's most basic emotion--love--by substituted a bland, vanilla "love for one's fellow man" for genuine interpersonal love. In spite of society's prohibitions on love, Equality continues to feel attracted to Liberty, suggesting that ultimately, the human spirit and basic instincts are stronger than society's clumsy attempts to censor freedom and individual identity.

Twice have we been sent to the Palace of Mating, but it is an ugly and shameful matter, of which we do not like to think.

Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:

In Rand's futuristic society, sex is an ugly, disgusting thing. Because citizens are forbidden from choosing their sexual partners, they're forced to have sex with people chosen by the state. The state recognizes the importance of sex--without "mating," the species will die out--but because the state is unwilling to accept love between two individual people, it's forced to order people to have sex with strangers.

The passage illustrates the clumsiness and incompetence of Equality's futuristic society. In a collectivist world, the most natural parts of life--having sex and bearing children--become a tedious problem, which the state must solve by establishing a Palace of Mating. Collectivism, Rand suggests, is ultimately a suicidal ideology--without the basic human emotions of love, curiosity, and friendship, society is always on the verge of dying out altogether.

Chapter 4 Quotes

"Our dearest one," we whispered. Never have men said this to women.

Related Characters: The Golden One
Page Number: 40
Explanation and Analysis:

In this scene, Equality tells Liberty--whom he calls "The Golden One"--that she's dear to him. Equality is frightened to say these words to the Golden One, because they express love and a personal ego, both of which are forbidden in his society.

The passage is important because it illustrates the power of the forces of love and the power of individualism. Even though Equality knows that he could be executed for daring to express his love to The Golden One he does so, anyway--his desire for individual happiness is far stronger than his fear of a collectivist society. And notice that the passage mentions both men and women (seemingly for the first time in the entire book!). Rand reminds us that Equality's forbidden love for The Golden One is rooted in the fact that he is a man and she is a woman; in other words, in the basic facts of (heteronormative) biology. Equality's society tries to prevent love, but it can't fight human nature.

Chapter 9 Quotes

We shall follow you wherever you go. If danger threatens you, we shall face it also. If it be death, we shall die with you. You are damned, and we wish to share your damnation.

Related Characters: The Golden One (speaker), Equality 7-2521
Page Number: 66
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Equality reunites with The Golden One, the love of his life. Equality, who'd feared that he'd never see The Golden One again, is overjoyed to be with his love. In this scene, The Golden One tells Equality that she'll be with him forever--even if staying with him endangers her own life. In short, Equality and the Golden One love each other--they're willing to sacrifice their own happiness for each other's sake.

The passage is crucial because it responds to the most common criticism of Rand's style of individualism--that such individualism is incompatible with love and cooperation. As Rand argues here, true love is only possible with Randian individualism. It's perfectly possible to be a rugged individualist and also love someone completely. Indeed, love becomes more valuable when it's reserved for a handful of other people, rather than being doled out to everyone. In short, Rand implies, the man who loves people in general loves no one in particular.

We looked into each other's eyes and we knew that the breath of a miracle had touched us, and fled, and left us groping vainly. And we felt torn, torn for some word we could not find.

Related Characters: Equality 7-2521 (speaker), The Golden One
Related Symbols: “We”
Page Number: 71
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Equality and The Golden One confess their love for one another--they say, "We love you," but notice that their words sound wrong. Equality and the Golden One feel that they have yet to become true individuals--they're still thinking in terms of the group, as evidenced by their use of the word "we."

In spite of the fact that Equality and The Golden One aren't yet complete individuals, the passage gives a vivid, almost religious account of the "miracle" of individualism. As Rand sees it, Equality has been blessed with an incredible gift--the gift to think for himself and pursue his own interests. Equality's story is a coming-of-age tale, in which he discovers his gift (the gift of individualism) and then proceeds to develop his gift to the point where he can utter the "sacred word" ("I") and become a true individual.