Sunday, May 1, 2011
by Ayn Rand
completed March 2011
Life has been absolutely crazy for the past few months so I haven't posted for a month and a half. Hopefully I still have a few readers. I'm a little rusty so we'll see how it goes.
Atlas Shrugged begins in a world where the government is continually extending it's reach. Regulations on business are increasing, and laws are being passed based on back room deals. It's difficult to tell who can be trusted. The economy is collapsing, and unemployment is skyrocketing.
I'm a bit nervous writing about Atlas Shrugged. Discussions are generally politically charged so I'm going to try to come to it objectively. Not necessarily easy since we all have inherent biases. Political ideology aside, I was surprised to find that it read like a thriller. At points it was a real page turner. I was not necessarily shocked at how it ended, but I was surprised to see the journey that Rand took the reader through to get there.
One huge issue that I had with the novel was that Rand didn't trust her readers. I rolled my eyes more times than I can count when the characters would start their speeches. My goodness. Show me Rand; don't tell me. I'm intelligent enough to understand what you are saying without you having to spell everything out to the letter. Ugh. It was so tiresome, and I will admit that by the end, I skimmed through John Galt's speech. Was that really necessary? I just wanted to get back to the action.
I really loved the idea of some of the characters, but I felt they were a little flat. Hank Rearden, by the end, was my favorite. I started out hating him, but he made an amazing transformation in the book. Dagny was amazing in her strength and willingness to fight against the government. My one issue was that there was no characters that were in the middle. There were the gorgeous, fabulous good guys, and the ugly, fat evil guys. I don't think real life is like that. It's a little too simplistic.
As for her ideology, I don't want to get into it too much, but there is both good and bad. I'm all for capitalism. I'd rather the government not over-regulate. My issue with objectivism is that it completely eliminates the human element. I don't think you have to be cold to be successful in business. Rand treats everything as if it should be a equal arms-length trade, even personal interactions outside of business (including sex). She seems to think that those offering or accepting charity are weak. I whole-heartedly disagree. I think there is a fine line. People should learn to take care of themselves, but I don't think there should be any problem with helping people to get there.
Overall, I'm glad that I read it. It was interesting to read. I was caught up in the thriller aspect of the story and was really excited to see how it ended. I didn't necessarily agree with the ideology, but I think Rand makes some valid points. I just think her theory is a bit idealistic. I don't know if I would recommend it to someone who wasn't already interested in reading it. It is a huge time investment.
I read this as part of the readalong with Allie at A Literary Odyssey. Visit here, for more posts on Atlas Shrugged.
Posted by Kristi at 12:03 AM