Reading Log for Anthem


Read pages 22-40 of Anthem (Project Gutenberg PDF) and then respond to the questions below.

1. What happens to Equality 7-2521 in the Palace of Corrective Detention? Is this plot detail necessary? Why or why not?

2. On what premises or grounds have the Council of Scholars rejected Equality’s (Prometheus’s) contribution of electricity? (Explain their logic.) Is their argument logical or illogical? Why?

3. What is meant by this quote: “We have lied to ourselves. We have not built this box for the good of our brothers. We built it for its own sake. It is above all our brothers to us, and its truth above their truth” (28)?

4. There is a dilemma that society has often considered around the topic of knowledge and science for the sake of knowledge. For example, the Nazi party of Germany conducted science experiments on human subjects even if it involved confinement, disease, or death. For that matter, at times the U.S. has also conducted such experiments (look up Tuskegee syphilis experiment). In fact, Prometheus/Equality thinks “[a]nd both these joys [electricity and Gaea/the Golden One] belong to us alone, they come from us alone, they bear no relation to our brothers, and they do not concern our brothers in any way” (32). What do YOU think about the unfettered or unbounded pursuit of science? What obligation does an individual have to truth and knowledge? What obligation does an individual have to society?

5. What series of events leads to Prometheus’s discovery of his own physical and mental capabilities as unique and individual?

6. Prometheus thinks to himself, “[w]e have broken the law, but we have never doubted it. Yet now, as we walk in the forest, we are learning to doubt” (32). What does he mean by this? How does doubt or skepticism relate to critical thinking?

7. How does the Golden One’s/Gaea’s search for words to express love lead to Prometheus’s great discovery of ego? Does love require individuality and ego?

8. How does Prometheus feel about other people and their relationship to him by the end of the novella? What does he mean that his own happiness and freedom is his loadstone pointing the way to his goal and purpose?

9. Desiring freedom and individuality is pretty much woven into the fabric of U.S. culture, so it is likely enticing to most readers. However, some claims made by Prometheus can also be seen as problematic. What is at least one issue or topic brought up by Prometheus that is problematic to YOU?

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