Thursday, August 16, 2012


Yesterday on Minnesota Public Radio I heard a commentator ask, “Where are the liberal Ayn Rands?” It was an interesting complaint, though not the aim of this blog entry to answer. (I assumed the question being asked was referring to contemporary writers.) I did, however, wonder how many writers might have been offended at not being considered the answer to this question.

Last night, while filing some notes I came across a folder titled Anthem. Because of the above referenced comment I was curious what its contents were. As it turns out, the folder contained the several assignments pertaining to Ayn Rand’s vivid novella. Our children were homeschooled for several years and in addition to teaching them writing I occasionally helped develop assignments and quizzes. One of the books covered in their studies was Anthem.

I was first introduced to Ayn Rand by my grandmother, captivated first by Rand's powerful ideas and prose in Fountainhead and later this small volume, her unforgettable offensive against socialistic collectivism. My daughter was 14 and son 16 when the assignments below were developed, approximately the same age I was when first introduced to Rand.

Here are the assignments I presented, based on the background materials provided by the curriculum.


Questions for students on meanings contained in Ayn Rand’s Anthem.

Assignment One

Find and read the Greek myth about Prometheus.

Write a one paragraph summary about the story.

Then answer this question:

Was Prometheus right or wrong for what he did and why?

Assignment Two

Write one paragraph answers to the following questions about Chapter one:

1. When does this story take place -- past, present or future? How do you know?

2. What are some of the “sins” or crimes of this culture?

3. Why do you think the Council of Vocations assigns Equality 7-2521 to the task of Street Sweeper? Was it a mistake or intentional?

Assignment Three

1. In what ways is Equality 7-2521 different from others in his society?

2. What character traits do we see in Liberty 5-3000 based on the brief description we have of her in this chapter?

3. Create a glossary or journal with the following topics on separate pages. Write whatever you learn about each one on the appropriate pages. Phrases, words and incomplete sentences are O.K. You may also write your own thoughts or feelings about the notes you write. (Put your own thoughts and impressions in parentheses like this.)

• The Great Truth
• The Unmentionable Times
• The Uncharted Forest
• The Evil Ones
• The Great Rebirth

Assignment Four

1. What was it that Equality discovered in chapter 3? How important was this discovery?

2. What does Equality finally understand about his society when the Council threatens to destroy his invention?

Assignment Five

Define the following terms. (use any resources you can find....and write a paragraph in your own words for each.)

1. Collectivism

2. Individualism

3. Altruism

4. Egoism

5. Conformity

6. Independence

I find it interesting how I just happened to stumble upon these notes last night because originally I was planning to write a short blog entry today titled, "I'm Unique... Just Like Everybody Else."

I also find it interesting how the 1930's produced several novels with visions of the future that have both similarities and contrasts. Orwell's 1984, Huxley's Brave New World, C.S. Lewis's That Hideous Strength make for a great trilogy of futuristic study. Rand's stands at odds with these other in at least one respect. The others see technology advance. Anthem portray's the demise of technical achievement when totalitarian rule is complete.

Well, just a little seed sowing here for your mind farm. Make the most of your day.

You're invited to visit my art blog as well, The Many Faces of Ennyman.

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