We The Living
By Ayn Rand
Kira Argounova arrives in Petrogard as an 18 year old girl living under the Communist grasp. She struggles to find a way to make ends meet for her self as well as provide enough to help her family. As a teacher she spends her time at the school and only is able to obtain whatever is given out by the Communist party. She falls in love with a man named Leo whose father was of a counter revolutionary and were both wanted by the Communist police. They live together for some time until the government determines who they are and they are dismissed from their jobs as well as from their education programs. Leo is diagnosed with incipient tuberculosis and they have no way to pay for his treatment. Kira begins having an affair with a Communist Officer named Andrei who she met while a student at the institute of technology. Kira tells Andrei who is in love with her, that she needs the food for her family when in reality it is being used to help Leo with his TB. Leo finds out about the affair and leaves Kira to live with a rich woman who agrees to pay for his treatment as Kira attempts to find a way to leave Russia. She uses a fake travel permit in order to take the train to the border where she must then sneak across. In the process of this she is shot and fatally wounded and dies before making it across.
This book dives into the world of not only the ideals of communism but the struggles that many of those who found themselves trapped within the system faced on a regular basis. From the challenge to survive on minimal food and necessities for an entire family or being watched constantly and guarding your thought each of these slowly crushed hopes, dreams and spirits. This book sends a very powerful message focusing on what Communistic society is really like in the way that people are forced to live. It does not focus necessarily on the politics alone but on the individuals, their struggles to survive, and what happens to those who do not follow along the same ideals.
Why is this book “dangerous?”:
This book is considered dangerous because of the in depth look that Ayn Rand takes into the world of Communism as a collective as well as the struggles with each individual. This book clearly is in argument with Communism as it constantly points out the hardships and struggles that go along with this collective ideal that was so sought after for so long in the USSR as well as other parts of Asia. This book was more than likely encouraged by people in the US due to its view of the red scare of communism that was considered to be everything that the United States was against although it was also more than likely not allowed at all in any country that followed any sort of ideals of communism.