April 2, 2012
We The Living
In We The Living, Ayn Rand writes “about Dictatorship, any dictatorship, anywhere, at anytime, whether it be Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, or which this novel might do its share in helping to prevent a socialist America” (Rand XV). The novel portrays the effects of the Russian Revolution focusing primarily on three individuals who turn against the norms of society. Rand emphasizes the right to live their own lives and follow their own desires. Though her writing is about Soviet Russia, Ayn Rand’s novel is based primarily about “Man against the State” (Rand XIV). Ultimately, Ayn Rand helps the reader truly understand what it means to be a citizen of the freest country in the world.
Ayn Rand was born on February 2, 1905 in Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire (Daily Bell). At the age of 12, Rand lived through the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the rise of Bolshevik Party. During the Russian Revolution, Rand’s family fled to Crimea and returned to Saint Petersburg which later was named Petrograd (Daily Bell). Surviving under the harsh conditions of the Russian Revolution, Rand opposed the very ideas and beliefs of collectivism and statism (Daily Bell). The setting, themes, characters and symbols are important in We The Living for it is a reflection of Rand’s experience and beliefs on the Russian Revolution.
Perhaps the most obvious themes in We The Living are self-attainment and the hunger to live. Every individual has at least a few specific personal goals that they want to achieve in their lives. Finding a method in accomplishing these personal goals develops a sense of achievement. In We The Living, the goals and desires of each character vary from realistic to that of extraordinary. Leo Kovalensky finds his sense of accomplishment with money and it becomes clear that nothing else matters to him near the end of the novel. Although Leo and Kira have endured hard times due to the shortage of food and no jobs, Leo feels...
Cited: "Biography." The Daily Bell. 2 May 2007. Web. 01 Apr. 2012. .
Brizee, Allen, and Case Tompkins. "Welcome to the Purdue OWL." Purdue OWL: Literary Theory and Schools of Criticism. 16 Mar. 2009. Web. 01 Apr. 2012. .
Foster, Thomas C. How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines. New York: Harper, 2003. Print.
Rand, Ayn. Letters of Ayn Rand. New York: Plume, 1997. Print.
Rand, Ayn. We the Living. New York, N.Y., U.S.A.: Signet, 1996. Print.
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