Lesson: Anthem II: Individualism

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Lesson Objective

Students understand the individualist philosophy of Ayn Rand and analyze it for its realistic value. Students understand the author's intent in writing the novel "Anthem."

Lesson Plan


Class set of both graphic novels

Attached Vocabulary Notebook

Attached Anthem Question Packet

(If using only one copy of novels for the whole class, you will need a document camera to project the text.)



Social Studies 12.10 Students formulate questions about and defend their analyses of tensions within our constitutional democracy and the importance of maintaining a balance between the following concepts: majority rule and individual rights; liberty and equality; state and national authority in a federal system; civil disobedience and the rule of law; freedom of the press and the right to a fair trial; the relationship of religion and government.

English Language Arts 11-12LA3.9 Analyze the philosophical arguments presented in literary works to determine whether the authors’ positions have contributed to the quality of each work and the credibility of the characters. (Philosophical approach)


Anticipatory Set:

Discuss with students what they have gathered of the rules and values of the collectivist society as portrayed by Ayn Rand. Does it seem like Rand is going to promote collectivism?



Direct students to the designated static area of the board. Review the definitions and the purpose of the unit.


Guided Practice:

Review vocabulary from yesterday. Draw a picture of words in a random order and solicit definitions. If students don’t guess right away, provide an example or definition as they look at their notebooks.


Independent Practice:

Students read novels/graphic novels according to classroom system. Students complete questions in Question Packet.


Input (again):

With students, open to pages 117 & 118. Carefully go over each statement in these pages carefully. It is a good idea to “translate” them overhead into their broader and more colloquial meaning. For example, “I will it,” a crucial statement, will make more sense to most students when rephrased as “I want it,” or, more to the point, “I do what I want.” List the main ideas on the overhead as you read through, then review them. As a class, craft a definition of Rand’s individualism. This can be narrative or framed as a list of points that one adheres to if they adhere to this belief.



Ask students to reflect for a quiet moment on what would happen if everyone only did what they wanted and didn’t have any responsibility to others. Ask them to write on some scratch paper any pros or cons they think of. A prompt to help is asking what will happen to someone who gets cancer and can not farm for food? What will happen to someone who lives in a city where they can not grow food, so they work in a store or factory for money? Allow time for ideas to sink in. If discussion stalls, point out that the food you would buy at the store would not be protected by any laws saying it has to be fresh, and there would not be any laws saying that children can not work until a certain age. Allow students to speculate reasonably about how this would turn out.


Present students with these recent comments about Ayn Rand.  Which worldview do you think each speaker holds? How much do you agree with each comment?

“I have to say I found Ayn Rand’s philosophy laughable. It was "a white supremacist dreams of the master race," burnt in an early-20th century form. Her ideas didn’t really appeal to me, but they seemed to be the kind of ideas that people would espouse, people who might secretly believe themselves to be part of the elite, and not part of the excluded majority.” -- Artist Alan Moore, in Comic Book Artist #9 (August 2000) "The Charlton Comics Story: 1945-1968" by Jon B. Cooke



Nathaniel Brandon: Ayn Rand is the greatest human being who has ever lived. Atlas Shrugged is the greatest human achievement in the history of the world. Ayn Rand, by virtue of her philosophical genius, is the supreme arbiter of any issue pertaining to what is rational, moral or appropriate to man’s life on earth.


Lesson Resources



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