The central idea Rand sought to convey in We the Living is the individual versus the collectivist state. How did she translate that idea into the story of particular characters pursuing particular courses of action? In this lesson — the first of two lessons analyzing the story of We the Living — you’ll explore the basic conflict of Kira Argounova versus the communist state, and how Rand develops that basic conflict into an intricate and dramatic web of conflicts involving all three of the novel’s main characters.

Spoiler alert: This lesson assumes that students have read We the Living.