Having started a study of Ayn Rand’s Anthem in my first period gifted class, I find myself pleasantly surprised. I and my students are learning much from this exercise. I think I could classify this novel as dystopian, and since we had already studied Animal Farm and Fahrenheit 451, my young scholars are picking up the “ideas” of this novel quickly.
As you likely know, the novel’s protagonist lives in a world of the collective we. There is no I. He had separated himself from the “mindless human herd” in that terrible world he lived in. I think this is extremely relevant for my students as they too live in an age that ostracizes and persecutes individuality. Being smart, being passionate, being anything different from the status quo will cause one to pay a terrible price. Gifted teachers are trained to notice, encourage, and develop individual interests and talents, but in this day of standardized tests, we are not really encouraged to do so. In addition, the apathy and ignorance of this present age is so deep that I wonder what can be done to reverse it. To borrow the wording of Anthem‘s back cover, I don’t want my students to grow up in or live in a “world that deprives individuals of name, independence and values.”
I’m sure I will write more about this book in later posts.