Dear Teen Ink,
In today’s world, teenagers are growing up in different ways than in the past. They are often more involved with other people their own age rather than with their own families. Young people of today are often more concerned with celebrity gossip, than the knowledge of our ancestors. Sometimes, teenagers are influenced by other children their own age with disastrous consequences. Anthem should be read by many teenagers because it addresses many of the important issues plaguing our generation such as discrimination, and peer pressure.
We must understand that it is human nature to disagree, but we must attempt to understand, not discriminate. In Anthem, Equality was different from his brothers and so he endured many hardships that some teenagers deal with on a daily basis. This was evident when Equality was in the Home of the Students. His teachers and fellow students avoided him because they believed he was different. “This is a great sin, to be born with a head which is too quick. It is not good to be different from our brothers, but it is evil to be superior to them. The Teachers told us so, and they frowned when they looked upon us,” (Ayn Rand, Chapter One). People will always disagree, but our generation needs to learn how to do it honorably. Everyone has their own opinions, which we should respect. We cannot oppress someone’s own ego simply because they have different dreams, they worship a different god, have different levels of intelligence, come from a different place, or look different. It is simply not right, and I believe that discrimination is one of Anthem’s most important themes for teenagers to understand.
Peer pressure is an especially important and difficult problem to deal with. It can be as small as a group of young people influencing the fashion industry, or as large as one country warring another because their people worship a different god. Some would argue that peer pressure is not necessarily a bad thing, for example, a person with a good group of friends might be influenced in a good way, and together they might succeed, but that is not usually the case. Teenagers are more easily persuaded by their peers because they are at a vulnerable time in their lives. So, they can be pushed by their peers into situations that are dangerous, and can cause them to end up in jail. Peers can also pressure other teenagers in to using drugs, or into having sex at a young age. “These drugs do not have to be smoked, injected, or snorted, which makes them easy to conceal or hide. It is as easy as popping a pill or taking a drink. The rave culture promotes acceptance, which can be very appealing to a teen that does not feel like they fit in, or does not have very high self esteem.” (Teendrugabuse.com)
Young people’s opinions are influenced by many other people, particularly their parents and idols. It is important for teens to be able to discern their own feelings, and beliefs from those that they love. Otherwise, there comes to mind a truly frightening prospect. Is the human race forever doomed to make the same mistakes as our forefathers? Will we never learn our lessons from our own history and think for ourselves? In Anthem’s final chapter, it speaks of a few men who wanted to continue to govern their own lives. “Perhaps, in those days, there were a few among men, a few of clear sight and clean soul, who refused to surrender that word. What agony must have been theirs before that which they saw coming and could not stop! Perhaps they cried out in protest and in warning. But men paid no heed to their warning.” (Ayn Rand, Anthem, Chapter 12). I believe that that is Anthem’s most important message. We have a will, and we must not forget that, no matter what our peers say. We must think for ourselves, and we must be governed by our own morals, not someone else’s. We must fight for what we believe in, because if we don’t, no one else will. “And here, over the portals of my fort, I shall cut in the stone the word which is to be my beacon and my banner. The word which will not die, should we all perish in battle. The word which can never die on this earth, for it is the heart of it and the meaning and the glory.
The sacred word:
EGO,” (Ayn Rand, Chapter 12)
Anthem is a book full of messages that address many of the important issues that our generation is dealing with today. The many powerful messages contained in that text are very important, and more people should understand them. Anthem’s anthem should be remembered for all time. We are in charge of our own lives, not our peers, and we must take responsibility for our own actions, for we alone are in charge of our own destiny. I believe that all teenagers should read Anthem because if every teenager truly understood the anthem contained in the text, they would be well prepared to live their life the way they please.
Rand, Ayn. Anthem
Club Drugs. No Author listed. Teen Drug Abuse. No Organization listed. 14 September, 2003.