Teaching Collectivism and Individualism for Anthem by Ayn Rand


The two philosophies of collectivism and individualism are heavy throughout Anthem by Ayn Rand. When I decided to teach this book, I researched both ideas and knew that if I wanted the kids to understand these heavy concepts, I was going to have to simplify and condense.

And what better way to simplify and condense then pictures!?

As the kids came in, I had this picture of V from V from Vendetta on the board:

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Those that have already seen the movie knew the reference, and it got the wheels turning.

I then showed the kids several pictures of people doing things alone. With some discussion they were able to grasp the theme that I was going for.

I switched over to several pictures of people doing things in groups. This one was easier to get at because they could already see the patterns we were making.

Then I gave them the definitions for individualism and collectivism. They wrote them down in their notebooks. We discussed a little and by the end they understood that the basic tenants of each represented opposite ideals: we do what’s best for the group vs. we do what’s best for the individual.

Time for assessment. I had them watch the November 5th Speech from the movie V for Vendetta. Actually, we watched it a few times so that they could catch everything, even the Hitleresque iconography. I also wanted them to analyze his cadence (it is a good example of pathos)… and by the third time it becomes really obvious. I created a handout for them with open ended questions where they had to use text evidence so that I could really access their comprehension.

If you’re interested in the handout I created, you can find it here.

Happy Teaching!