So I actually finished "Atlas Shrugged" a little while ago. What an interesting concept. In an earlier post, I said that I would forever attribute Barack Obama to James Taggart in this book, but I take that back now. The character in the book is a sniveling little weasel who doesn't know what he wants. I don't think that's the case with our president. But that's a whole different topic...
The book was SO long, but well worth the read. Ayn Rand's libertarian manifesto is so intriguing! It captures what the world would be like with unprecedented government rule, and with a world that frowns upon accomplishment, and tyrannically forces society to conform. There are a few problems with the book, though. Ms. Rand is the queen of the 10+ page monologue. The first and second monologues by separate characters were so redundant, that on each monologue following, I just skipped to the end. I found I didn't miss a thing. There were no plot points that I hadn't picked up, because when these characters start talking, their entire speeches are summed up in their first and last paragraphs. Everything in between are just reiterations; making the same point in different ways.
Another reason I had to skip through these pages and pages of monotonous speech, is because they are blatant lectures to the reader. The only problem is, the type of person who is actually reading her book, is not the type of person who needs to hear those lectures.
The other night, my Ma and I watched "The Fountainhead," the movie based on her first novel. Incidentally, the screenplay for that movie was also written by Ayn Rand. It was funny to watch, because the character composition is almost parallel to the characters in "Atlas Shrugged." EXTREME characters, on the far left or right of the norm. Each has a political view, and a deep-rooted psychological issue of some sort. They all seem to be mad ALL of the time, and participate in, how shall I put it... angry love?
I think Ms. Rand had some serious inner-turmoil. Both stories have very VIOLENT parts, (although the violence in Atlas Shrugged is far greater.) I only found one other thing about her stories that I didn't like, and that is that there were no characters that could be swayed. There was nobody who could listen to reason and change his or her point of view. There were those who had the point of view the reader should hold, but didn't identify it as such, until later. But there were no "bad guys" who would change their minds about any subject whatsoever. I thought it would be interesting if Ayn would write someone who was capable of change for the better.
LONG POST, I KNOW! The book is great. If you have like, 3 months to spare, I highly suggest you read it... not for the political or philosophical views, but for the amazing story, and what would happen to the world if the great thinkers went on strike. (By the way, "The Strike" was Ayn Rand's first choice for the title of the book.)