Ayn Rand: Anthem

Last night, I finished my reading of Ayn Rand’s novel Anthem. It was a timely finish for two reasons: First of all, my gifted students had “requested” to read it over the weekend so we could discuss it today; and second of all, I finished before 8:00 p.m. so I could watch the HBO series, Rome. I am completely addicted to that series. I’ve always been fascinated with ancient Roman history, and this series–though admittedly the writers get some of their facts wrong–has an edge and puts human faces (some of them very pretty) to men and women of history. Back to Anthem.

I’m wondering how Anthem will affect my gifted students. I am confident it will in some way, but I’m not sure what theme will most get to them. Will it be the fact that the protagonist dared to love the woman of his choice in a loveless world? (The romance of the “Golden One” and “The Unconquered One,” who later call themselves Gaea and Prometheus, is a touching romance.) Will my students appreciate books more? The power of science? Will they understand the potential cruelty of man and the devastating power of ignorance?

Maybe at least the novel will motivate them to have the courage to “stand alone.”