“It is a sin to write this.”

To provide some context for 1st period students curious about my favorite book opening (mentioned fleetingly in class today), here is the entire first paragraph of Ayn Rand’s book Anthem:

It is a sin to write this. It is a sin to think words no others think and to put them down upon a paper no others are to see. It is base and evil. It is as if we were speaking alone to no ears but our own. And we know well that there is no transgression blacker than do do or think alone. We have broken the laws. The laws say that men may not write unless the Council of Vocations bid them so. May we be forgiven!

It’s been years (over a decade) since I’ve read the book, but as I recall it was this paragraph’s immediate establishment of setting that drew me into it. I had recently read George Orwell’s 1984 for the first time and was hungry to read more literature like it;  consequently, Rand’s first paragraph enticed me to read all of Anthem in one sitting.

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