By Ayn Rand
This is a difficult book to sum up. I have 89 pages of single-spaced, typed notes, made over the course of nine-weeks of reading. The one real strength to this book is that it makes me think. It presents a lot of ideas and a lot of arguments and it was the rare conversation in the last two months that did not involve the phrase, “that makes me think of how, in Atlas Shrugged, …”
In live-blogging our process through this book, Anna and I had a lot of thoughts.
Part I: Non-Contradiction
I. The Theme
II. The Chain
III. The Top and the Bottom
IV. The Immovable Movers
V. The Climax of the D’Anconias
(extra bit: first impressions)
VI. The Non-Commercial
VII. The Exploiters and the Exploited
(extra bit: VII. The Exploiters and the Exploited)
VIII. The John Galt Line
(extra bit: Atlas Shrugged theme)
IX. The Sacred and the Profane
X. Wyatt’s Torch
(extra bit: Kurt Vonnegut short stories)
Part II: Either-Or
I. The Man Who Belonged on Earth
II. The Aristocracy of Pull
III. White Blackmail
(extra bit: Atlas Shrugged in the news)
IV. The Sanction of the Victim
(extra bit from President Obama)
(extra bit on John Galt)
(extra bit on Greek Mythology)
V. Account Overdrawn
VI. Miracle Metal
VII. The Moratorium on Brains
VIII. By Our Love
IX. The Face Without Pain or Fear or Guilt
X. The Sign of the Dollar
Part III: A is A
II. The Utopia of Greed
V. Their Brothers’ Keepers
VI. The Concerto of Deliverance
VII. “This is John Galt Speaking”
VIII. The Egoist
IX. The Generator
X. In the Name of the Best Within Us
It would make a really fabulous book club book or the subject of a college seminar.
That said, it is also a book in desperate need of an editor to smooth out some of the rough patches and it showcases a conflict between two sets of irrational idiots: spoiled children on one side and vengeful true-believers on the other side. For the most part, I didn’t like or respect any of the characters. Both sides would come out with statements, some of which I agreed with, most of which I disagreed with, but would then back them up with the wrong arguments. Continue reading
By Ayn Rand
Chapter 7 broke me, people. I only got through it with a generous bribe of Starbucks. I would go into the Starbucks, get my mocha, and force myself to sit there and read Chapter 7 until I’d finished at least 15 pages. You are lucky that Rebecca recapped that section because my idea was to just post:
Atlas Shrugged (Part 3, Chapter 7): tl;dr
Anyway, I’ve gathered the shards of my broken psyche together enough to just get through the final three chapters for you, dear readers. They were actually pretty fast-paced and action-filled, and I would have enjoyed them a lot more before my aforementioned breakdown. Continue reading
Section 3, Chapter 7: “This is John Galt Speaking”
Writing up this chapter gave me a sharp reminder that this blog is a book-review blog rather than a philosophy forum. Anna has had to hold me back from writing a 500-page response rebutting this chapter, line by line. Reading this chapter was an exercise in patience, allowing a mixture of irrationality, hypocrisy, and lies to just pass on by me.
Section 3, Chapter 6: The Concerto of Deliverance
This chapter is a lot more palatable than the last one. The bad guys are just as irrationally hypocritical as the good guys, but they are acknowledged as bad guys, and someone finally addresses their logical flaws directly, verbally, and to their faces. Thank you! Reading this book and being inundated by irrational philosophy from all sides has really increased my argumentativeness (rarely in short supply to begin with.) This chapter, though, successfully refutes a lot of the proposed idiocy by itself without needing me to do so. For the first time in the whole book, there is a serious demonstration of someone promoting rationality and logic. I approve.
I think the first two-thirds of this chapter go up there with the scenes of the first train ride on the John Galt line and of Dagny’s aerial chase as being parts of this book that I actively enjoyed.
So, without further ado:
A summary of the events of the chapter, and then some brief discussion of a few specific points.
Part 3, Chapter 5: Their Brother’s Keepers
The sheer hypocrisy of this book is wearing me down. The reader is given in-depth looks at the thought-processes of our protagonists. The protagonists have full-life backstories and motivations and ambitions. The lack of similar detail for the antagonists and secondary/tertiary characters is not only reasonable but necessary given the limits of a book. But to then denigrate and scorn the antagonists/secondary/tertiary characters FOR THE EXACT SAME ACTIONS as the protagonists BECAUSE THEY LACK ANY STATED MOTIVE infuriates me.
Arg! This chapter is an illustration of the phrase: “We judge others by their actions but judge ourselves by our intentions.”
Anyway, first there is a description of the events of this chapter, and then a series of five brief rants, mostly centered around hypocrisy.
By Ayn Rand
Much appreciation for Rebecca, who took over for me for Chapter 2 this week since I fell so far behind in my reading because of my head cold. Also, I found Section 3’s first two chapters, set in Galt’s Gulch (yeah, that’s what they call it – try it out loud) almost unbearable. You know how hearing someone describe a dream is pretty much the most tedious thing ever? It was that for over a hundred pages.
This weekend, however, I was on a strict schedule of reading in order to catch up, and I’ve plowed through Chapters 3 and 4, which were thankfully back in the quickly decaying outside world and much more to my liking. Continue reading