This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Ayn Rand: We The Living Essay

1416 words - 6 pages

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness--this is what Americans identify as the full definition of “to live.” These were the ideas that attracted generations of immigrants to the shores of Ellis Island and Angel Island, hoping to find tangible dreams promised in the torch of The Statue of Liberty and in the cobblestone sidewalks of San Francisco. To the rest of the world, however, what does “living” really mean? As Kira Argounova, the protagonist, states: “Why do you think I’m alive? Is it because I have a stomach and eat and digest food? Because I breathe and work […]? Or because I know what I want, and that something which knows how to want—isn’t that life itself?” (399) We the Living by Ayn Rand creates a backdrop of communism in the Soviet Union, where the responsibility for one’s own survival and well-being is subordinated to a “duty” to others, which “forbids life to those still living” (189). However, when the communist government forces all citizens to sacrifice all of their property and freedom for the benefits of the State and Society, the three protagonists Kira, Leo, and Andrei unfortunately learn that despite how strong, independent-minded, and confident they are, staying alive demands the sacrifice of their biggest values.

The intrinsic values of communism rely on the basic tenet that all citizens will sacrifice individualistic ideals for the greater good of Society. Each member of society must sacrifice himself for the sake of others, resulting in a country where each citizen is effectively the same as others in terms of wealth, property, and class. Effectively, each member of society is but one part used to build an impressive machine: taken independently, each cog seems worthless, but in the context of the entire structure, becomes extremely important in the function and the foundation of the machine. Thus, because the strength of society depends on the law-abiding citizens, those who continue to horde their personal interests and values for the sake of individual success and happiness are viewed, in the eyes of the proletariat and the government, as enemies of the communist system.

This is how protagonist Kira Argounova fits in the scope of Rand’s novel. Kira was born with “the sword of a Viking pointing the way, and an operetta tune for a battle march” (51). Her character is best described as one filled with passion for living life, and with the determination to leave a positive and lasting mark on the world. With an interest in architecture, Kira resolves to enroll in the Technological Institute in order to accomplish her dreams: “I’m going to build because I want to build bridges...and skyscrapers” (41). However, she understands the communist system of Soviet Russia, and that it suppresses all the unique aspects and interests of an individual’s life. Under this system, Kira should be the woman in the household to offer stability in the family, taking care of the children and quietly obeying the male leaders in the...

Find Another Essay On Ayn Rand: We the Living

Ethical Egoism: The Problem with Ayn Rand

2516 words - 10 pages society, creating gridlock in the government and a deep division among the classes. In order to understand Ayn Rand’s theory on ethical egoism, first we need to understand her background and the era she was raised in. Born in St. Petersburg, Russia on February 2, 1905, Rand witnessed the Kerensky Revolution which she supported and the Bolshevik Revolution which she denounced. She changed her name from Alissa Rosenbaum to Ayn Rand in 1926

Objectivism in Ayn Rand´s The Fountainhead

992 words - 4 pages Objectivism is defined as “an ethical theory that moral good is objectively (based on facts rather than feelings or opinions) real or that moral precepts are objectively valid.” (Webster). Demonstrated by Ayn Rand in the book, The Fountainhead, objectivism seems to most, to be morally wrong, and socially impractical, despite seeming to be a stress-free way of life. In The Fountainhead, Howard Roark does not see relationships as necessary, but

Objectism in The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand

1111 words - 4 pages Standing as, perhaps, one of the most controversial and, simultaneously, innovative philosophies of the twentieth century, Ayn Rand's Objectivism philosophy has gathered an unprecedented following. Demonstrated and explained in detail through the use of the characters Howard Roark, Ellsworth Toohey, Peter Keating, and Dominique Francon in her infamous novel The Fountainhead, Rand creates a storyline that effectively portrays all aspects of

Ayn Rand´s Anthem: Failure in the Implementation of Marxist Ideals

787 words - 3 pages Ayn Rand, in Anthem, illustrates a futuristic, socialist society. In the novel, Rand destroys any sense of individuality and describes the social setbacks endured after living ‘only for the brotherhood’. The individual person fails to exist and is but a ‘we’ and recognized by a word and a series of numbers rather than a name. Additionally, she describes the horrors encountered within this different system of life: from reproduction methods

Ayn Rand

1964 words - 8 pages writing We The Living, which was published in 1936. (Baker pg.7 1987). "With the Hollywood success under her belt, Rand felt confident to take on Broadway..."(Baker pg.9 1987). Her play, Night of January 16th was a great success and ran for seven months. (Baker pg.9 1987). Ayn spent six years writing her next novel, The Fountainhead. (Baker pg.11 1987). In late 1935, Rand was finally able to devote all of her time to writing The Fountainhead

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

1600 words - 6 pages Objectivism established during her childhood in Russia, Ayn Rand would develop and cultivate her ideas further in each novel, culminating in her magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged. We the Living, The Fountainhead, and Anthem share the theme of Atlas Shrugged, and The Fountainhead and Anthem would join the masterpiece as staples of the Objectivist and Libertarian ideologies (Smith 384). Nothing could pose a greater contrast when presented in

Ayn Rand and Anthem

781 words - 4 pages In the book Anthem, individualism is taken away from a society and people put other peoples needs before their own; but this all changes when a man, Equality, realizes that he is alive to please only himself and no-one else. Equality, no longer caring about “we” and more “I”, realizes that he can be much happier if he puts his own self-interest first. Through this book, Ayn Rand shows the importance of objectivism and living for oneself.
 Alisa

Capitalism in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged

656 words - 3 pages Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, displays societal destruction caused by intense government economic intervention. Rand heavily stresses Capitalistic views, however straying from “public good” appeals. On the contrary, Rand views the public good as inconsequential and possibly detrimental when considering capitalism. Ayn Rand varies from Capitalist defenders supporting views disregarding public good and considering competition driven innovation

Ayn Rand and Today's Business Ethics

1850 words - 7 pages drastically their status of living making them struggle for the basic needs as everybody else at that time.Rosenbaum studied history at the University of Petrograd; however her goal was always to be a writer. She left the Soviet Russia in 1926 and came to America under an invitation of her relatives, knowing that she would never go back to Russia. As explained by Longley "In America, she took the first name Ayn (rhymes with "line") and the last name Rand

The De-Humanization of America

2082 words - 8 pages In order to understand the writings of Ayn Rand and her belief in ethical egoism, I believe it is imperative we also understand her background and the era in which she was raised. Born in St. Petersburg, Russia on February 2, 1905, Rand witnessed the Kerensky Revolution which she supported and the Bolshevik Revolution which she denounced. She changed her name from Alissa Rosenbaum to Ayn Rand in 1926 – around this time, she also abandoned her

Objective Objectivism

1810 words - 8 pages Objectivism is defined as “an ethical theory that moral good is objectively (based on facts rather than feelings or opinions) real or that moral precepts are objectively valid.” (Webster). Demonstrated by Ayn Rand in the book, The Fountainhead, objectivism seems to most, to be morally wrong, and socially impractical, despite seeming to be a stress-free way of life. In The Fountainhead, Howard Roark does not see relationships as necessary

Similar Essays

Evils Of Communism Exposed In We The Living, By Ayn Rand

891 words - 4 pages In We the Living, Ayn Rand describes a girl’s battle against Soviet Russia and the struggle to remain resolved amidst the conforming society. Though some believe Communism is noble in concept, Rand agrues the opposite throughout her novel. Ayn Rand argues in We the Living the theory of communism is innately evil by demonstrating its failure in implementation, corruption within the party, and embodying the very argument with Kira Argounova

Philosphy Introductory To Ethics By Ken Burgess The Essay Contains Three Questions That The Professor Asked And We Had To Discuss. Areas Of Interest That I Discussed Were Kant, Ayn Rand, Rawl

1512 words - 6 pages Ethics of Selfishness/Ethics of DutyCompare and contrast Kant and Ayn Rand on the issue of altruismAltruism is an unselfish act wherein one's intention is to benefit another. Within every act, three aspects must be considered: the motivation behind the act; the moral value of the individual carrying out the act; and the selfish consequences of the act itself. Both Kant and Rand agree on using moral values to make decisions on an act, however

The Power Of Ayn Rand Essay

1905 words - 8 pages regardless if they agree with her opinions or not, simply because she enables the reader to find what they believe through her strong writings.Works Cited:Rand, Ayn. Anthem. New York: New American Library, 1946.Rand, Ayn. Atlas Shrugged. New York: Random House, 1957.Rand, Ayn. The Fountainhead. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1943.Rand, Ayn. We the Living. New York: New American Library, 1948.Ayn Rand Institute. "Objectivism: the Philosophy of Ayn Rand." www.AynRand.org

The Fountainhead By Ayn Rand Essay

771 words - 3 pages The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand, shows the human ideal and a struggle to keep itself going in a decaying world. It depicts the fact that in order to be successful and remain that way, man must be moral and practical, not one or the other. In doing so, Rand has created two characters Peter Keating and Howard Roark, a foil of one another. They went to the same school, chose the same profession, and even lived in the same house. Throughout the novel