We The Living by Ayn Rand


Per. 7


Book Report


The idea of communism was/is that everyone is treated equally and that no one is left behind. In the 1920’s, Russia was recovering from a brutal civil war that had killed many people and separated many families. The Czar and his family had been wiped out and the Red Army had control. (Just for historical purposes, this is the same Czar family from which the story of Anastasia came.) The book, We the Living by Ayn Rand, shows the after math of the war. It paints a picture of a girl and her husband, her secret lover, and the struggle to get by where cold nights and cold coal are the normal. It shows that no matter how bad life is, people still try to survive, even if it means that they don’t necessarily live.


Kira Argounova was a little girl when her parents moved them out of their large house and into a shack hundreds of miles away. They left a rich lifestyle in order to wait for the Communist Army to be defeated. Not knowing the magnitude of the situation caused the Argounovs to be unprepared. “Galina Petrovina had not allowed Alexander Dimitrievitch to take a winter cote along. ‘Why, he thinks it’s going to last a year!’ she had laughed, referring to the Soviet government. It had lasted five years,” (Rand, 22). When they returned to their mansion, it was already being occupied. Houses and apartments were split up in order to make room for everyone. Bread cards were passed out to communist employees and students. Kira had always wanted to be an engineer so her work would be admired. She wanted to build a bridge out of aluminum. She applied at the Institute and was accepted. The school was run by the reds, but she didn’t care, she just wanted to learn. She went to lectures and went home. She met a man in the park one evening on the way home. She was despite for money and was going to sell herself. But as they started talking, they fell in love. His name was Leo. Leo wasn’t a well respected man, because his father had served in the red’s opposing army. They got married and Kira moved into Leo’s house. Kira meets a man name Victor at the Institute. He is a red but Kira doesn’t care. She starts to fall in love with him too but at the same time wants to be loyal to Leo. Leo becomes sick and the only way for him to get better is if he leaves the city and goes down south to a heath clinic where it is warmer. Kira tries really hard to find money for him, and once she does, Leo is set on his way. Leo is down there for months, and Kira gets to know Victor better. They sleep together and fall in love. Victor wants Kira to leave Leo and marry him, but Kira just can’t. Leo returns with some woman that he had met and he says they are just friends. Leo has become an ass during his stay but Kira loves him just as much as she did when he left. Leo starts a company that takes “damaged” imports from the reds and sells it on the market. Leo risks his life with this company, but he is making lots of money. Leo gets drunk at a party one night and Kira decides that he no longer loves her and she needs to let him go. After they separate she goes and sees Victor. Victor wants to marry Kira but she says she can’t because she still loves Leo. Victor takes this really hard, and with his social position falling, he takes a gun and kills himself. The newspaper the next day reads “The Leningrad Committee of the All-Union Communist Party sorrowfully announces the death of Comrade Andrei Taganov,” (Rand, 428). Kira takes his death really hard because she feels that it is her fault. At this point, she has brought her social position up and has become more communist everyday. She feels that her life in this country is going no where so she plans