Anthem by Ayn Rand Essay Topics

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Anthem by Ayn Rand

Essay Topics

Read about a “positive” utopia, such as in Plato’s Republic or Thomas More’s Utopia, and compare with Anthem.

Read about a “negative” utopia (or dystopia), such as in George Orwell’s 1984, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, or Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and compare with Anthem.

Compare Equality to one of your favorite literary heroes. Discuss the qualities that they share and argue which one, in your opinion is most heroic. Consider the quality of his soul, the severity of the opposition, and the significance of his battle.

Compare the idea of equality as used in the Declaration of Independence (and, therefore, in our country today) to the idea of equality as practiced in Anthem.

In her Foreward to Anthem, Ayn Rand summarizes her political views. What laws that we have today do you think she would agree with, and which would she oppose?

Ayn Rand held that freedom is a prerequisite for economic progress. Is this view confirmed by the histories of the USSR and the People’s Republic of China?

Is Anthem a realistic portrayal of life in a totalitarian society? Compare the fictionalized society of Anthem to a real dictatorship, past or present. Some options are Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Cuba, China, Cambodia.

At first glance, most characters in Anthem appear to be near-automatons, blindly conforming to the rest of society. Upon closer study, however, we see that all of the characters in the novel make decisions that affect their lives and their futures, for better or for worse. Discuss the conflict of free will versus pre-ordained destiny as manifested in the book, and compare it to the conflict depicted in other works of literature, philosophy, film, or television.

Suggested length: 3-5 pages (typed, double-spaced, 12-point font), plus bibliography

Date due: Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Primary source requirement: one (Anthem by Ayn Rand)

Secondary source requirement: at least two (some suggestions:, Utopia, The Road, 1984, philosophy essays, texts from your history class, Declaration of Independence…see me for more assistance)

Sample Citation: Rand, Ayn. Anthem. New York: Signet, 1961.

Sample Integration of Quote: Rand utilizes several allusions to Greek mythology in the final chapter of the novel, thereby likening her protagonists to heroes of epic proportions. Equality’s lover renames him Prometheus, after the mythical figure who discovered fire: “I have read of a man who lived may thousands of years ago, and of all the names in these books, his is the one I wish to bear. He took the light of the gods and he brought it to men, and he taught meant to be gods…His name was Prometheus” (Rand 98-99). The name is a fitting choice, as Equality designs a light bulb to bring to the Council of Scholars; he is a veritable “light-bearer” for his people, literally and figuratively.

American Literature Mr. Ambrose

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