Monday, April 14, 2008

Reader Response Questions

Reader Response Questions for Anthem

You must write a one page response for one of the questions below. You will complete two papers total. These two are due on April 10th and April 16th for A-Day. These are due on April 11th and April 17th for B-Day.

1. Why did Ayn Rand name her main characters “Prometheus” and “Gaea”? Look these names up in a book on mythology. Compare the myths about Prometheus and Gaea to the story of these two characters.

2. In her Foreword to Anthem, Ayn Rand summarizes her political views. What laws that we have today do you think she would agree with, and which would she oppose?

3.What might it be like to live in a society where there are no “selves”, and “we” has replaced “I”?

4. Prometheus’s intellectual activities are illegal in his society. Throughout history, many great innovators, such as Copernicus, Galileo, Watt, and Fulton have faced ridicule and even legal attacks. Research the struggle faced by one of these individuals. Write a dialogue between that person and Prometheus. How would Prometheus try to encourage that person?

5. Why did Prometheus try to convince the Council of Scholars that his invention merited their support? If a government council thinks that an invention will not benefit the community, should the invention be banned? Compare the situation in the novel to such government agencies as the Federal Drug Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration, which allow new products or new air routes only if they will “benefit the community.”

6. For Prometheus, life in the Uncharted Forest is quite different from what he has known. Write two brief messages that Prometheus might want to send to any two characters who are still in the city.

7. Read about a “positive” utopia, such as in Plato’s Republic, or Thomas More’s Utopia, and compare with them with Anthem.

8. Compare the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden to the story of Prometheus and Gaea. For what “sins” were each condemned?

9. What is “collectivism”? Which of our laws today are collectivist?

10. Ayn Rand held that freedom is a prerequisite for economic progress. Is this view confirmed by the histories of the U.S.S.R and the People’s Republic of China?