When born into the world, you are sheltered and nourished. When the appropriate age is reached you begin your schooling. Once your education is complete you are employed and work with complete security in your trade. At forty years of age you retire and spend the rest of your days with your peers, with everything requested provided for you. That is as long as you learn at the same pace as everyone else. If you're too bright you will be punished. And as long as you don't ask too many questions, the overly inquisitive are beaten. As long as you don't care who you are told to sleep with, because we know who your genes are most compatible with. And as long as you don't believe you are any different or any better than anyone else is, because that will cost you your life. You aren't granted a name or an identity or a soul. There are no individuals; there is only the collective. This is the world of Anthem. Ayn Rand composes Anthem in an almost lyrical fashion and the majority of the text embraces poetry more faithfully than it does prose. This does little to affect the storytelling, but it encourages the reader to view the novella as an extended poem which detracts from the seriousness of the piece. Rand presents her tale of a man who dares to make individual choices, to seek knowledge in a dark age, to love the woman of his choice. In a society in which people have no names, no independence, and no values, he is hunted for the unpardonable crime: having the courage to stand above the crowd. Rand's own beliefs and her philosophy are most obviously seen through the protagonist, Equality's, struggles. By having us bear witness to this oppression, her opinion on the detrimental effects of collectivism is projected to us. The world described in Anthem is a primitive one, although it is set in the future. All technological development has been lost, because "What is not done collectively cannot be good," and, "What is not thought by all men cannot be true.