Anthem

by: Ayn Rand

Chapters III–IV

Summary Chapters III–IV

The conversation between the Golden One and Equality 7-2521 is rife with biblical imagery, both in their naming of each other and her giving him water to cool him. Naming, the original power of man in Genesis, makes the Golden One and Equality 7-2521 more intimate with each other and establishes their possession of each other. Interestingly, though Liberty 5-3000 is referred to throughout Anthem as “the Golden One,” the name Equality 7-2521 assigns to her, her name for him does not appear again in the text. Feminists argue that this disparity marks the fundamental inequality in Rand’s view of men and women, though Rand might say that the issue is entirely stylistic: after all, Equality 7-2521 is writing the text, and it would be hard to incorporate the Golden One’s name for him into the text in a meaningful way.

The offering of water is important both because it represents the Golden One’s assumption of the role of caretaker and also because it is laden with biblical imagery. In offering water to Equality 7-2521, the Golden One adopts a role as caretaker and comfort-giver—a role feminists might argue Rand prescribes for her out of a heightened sense of the traditional roles of women. The offering of water is significant also, however, because it is an image very common in the Judeo-Christian Bible. According to the New Testament, Jesus Christ often asked and received water from townspeople he met in his travels, and the sharing of water is considered to be a virtue, as it represents the giving of life-sustaining respite from the heat and weariness of travel. Notably, Christ usually made followers of those who gave him water to drink. In this case, the Golden One’s giving water to Equality 7-2521 accompanies her conversion into obedience of him, represents her comforting of him, and is also shot through with sexual overtones. As she nurtures Equality 7-2521, he desires her and she desires him shamelessly for the first time in the novella. Rand seems to be conjoining the conversion experience and the sexual experience into one baffling moment of ecstasy.