The theme of We the Living is the evil of the collectivist state. The book conveys that theme by showing in grim detail how the novel’s characters are suffocated and crushed under Soviet communism. In this lesson — the second of two lessons analyzing the characters of We the Living — you’ll focus on the three main characters of the novel: Kira Argounova, Leo Kovalensky and Andrei Taganov. What principles animate the actions of these three characters? What explains their fates, and how do their individual stories support Rand’s theme?

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