Sunday, October 12, 2014

Risk Taking Researcher - Ji Won Jung

Anthem is a dystopian fiction novella written by Ayn Rand and the winner of the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award. Rand saw the first bits of the Russian Revolution and the Bolshevik Revolution, as well. There, her family escaped Russia to Crimea. Rand was fascinated by America during the last year of high school in Crimea. She studied philosophy and history in the University of Petrograd. She then entered the State Institute for Cinema Arts. After, she immigrated to America where she got a career. She spent her life in Italy, Nazi Germany, and in America. This story didn't start as a book, it used to be a play that Rand saw as a teenager. Rand didn't expect to write Anthem but reconsidered after reading a story in The Saturday Evening Post. She wrote the story in 1937, when she was taking a break from work for her following novel, The Fountainhead. The original title was Ego, but she wasn't satisfied so she ended up with Anthem. Ultimately, Anthem was influenced by Rand's life in Russia. 
Yet some even say that the 1921 novel, We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, shaped Anthem. Zamyatin also lived in communist russia. Research shows that there are many common subjects between these two books. For example, both novel takes a form of a secret diary/journal, people have numbers instead of names, and etc. Also, both books talk about individualism being discarded through the favor of collectivism.
Rand found collectivism-the idea that individuals should be controlled by the group and should sacrifice for it thus giving it more priority for it's own common good-as a moral evil but also as the essential cause of the political evils then sweeping the civilized world. Since she lived during the times when collectivism was a trend, the whole book is clearly about a male protagonist that is against collectivism and represents the spirit of individualism-the principals of giving an individual more priority. Already, we can read that the main protagonist is rebelling, not necessarily directly but rebelling against the government's belief of collectivism. 


  1. Ji Won,
    Your post shows great research and I was surprised that Ayn Rand live in Nazi Germany. I did not know that she based her novel on another book. Did she base the same content into her book? As she was a Philosopher, she made all her novels really philosophical - with the idea of Collectivism. I do not agree with collectivism and nor do the protagonists in the book.

  2. Dear Ji Won,
    Great Job on your post! I thought that you had very good details to support your reaserch, and overall it was really well written. Something that I fount interesting was something you wrote in the first sentence, how Anthem won the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award. I was surprised not because I didn't like the book until now, but because it was mentioned in class that this book was censored or even banned in some places. This reminds me of the classic book Animal Farm, which was also banned in some places. Until now on what we read, do you see why this book could have been banned?

  3. Ji Won,
    Good job in your post, it really looks like you did extensive research. I found it very interesting how you really dove into the book's past and Ayn Rand's. I didn't know anything about Rand before reading this, and I think I came out of this very well informed and better prepared to predicting and analyzing the book in a more efficient, well done manner. I also liked how you used properties of the "Connection Captain" inside your blog post, as you connected some ideas here and there to make your thoughts become more relatable and diverse.

  4. Hey Jibby, I enjoyed reading your blogpost, did you know that Rand was one of the first women to go to college in Russia. Your blogpost taught me many things, I never new she lived in Nazi Germany nor did I know she lived in Crimea. I would like to know more information of when she lived in America. Did you know she wrote a broadway show? She lived in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, the three major cities of the United States.