Ayn Rand's books are inspiring and intellectually challenging. They can also be financially rewarding for jr. high and high school students. The Ayn Rand Institute sponsors annual essay contests that offer 600 prizes and $100,000 in prize money every year. Mr. Redden's eighth grade English class and sophomore English II classes entered their own essays into the Ayn Rand national essay contest recently. Both classes are focusing their papers on Rand's novella Anthem.
Mr. Redden's classes have entered thirty-seven entries this year. In the story the main character, Equality 7-2521, discovers the joy of individuality and freedom. While people in our society tend to display our differences proudly, for Equality the very thought of being different in any way goes against the foundation of his entire society, where "... all men must be alike." He comes to understand through the novella that he has his own identity. Gradually, he moves away as thinking as himself as a member of "the great WE", to thinking of himself as "I" and valuing his own uniqueness. The English students enjoyed learning about Ayn Rand's opinions and philosophy through her great dystopian novella, Anthem.
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