preview

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Better Essays
“I swear – by my life and my love of it – that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine” (Rand 979). The last lines of John Galt’s speech in Atlas Shrugged declare the fundamental principle of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism. Her ideology plays an integral role in her literary pieces, functioning as the motor driving the actions, goals, and beliefs of the protagonists. From the first strains of Objectivism established during her childhood in Russia, Ayn Rand would develop and cultivate her ideas further in each novel, culminating in her magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged. We the Living, The Fountainhead, and Anthem share the theme of Atlas Shrugged, and The Fountainhead and Anthem would join the masterpiece as staples of the Objectivist and Libertarian ideologies (Smith 384). Nothing could pose a greater contrast when presented in juxtaposition with Rand’s doctrine than the Communism of her childhood. Ayn Rand’s experiences living in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic led her to create Objectivism; through her fictional works, she showcases her philosophy which is centered on the struggle of the individual versus the collective by emphasizing different aspects in each of her novels.
Ayn Rand entered the world as Alice Rosenbaum, a middle-class Jewish Russian living during the era of leadership under the czars (Heller 2684). A young Rand opposed the inadequacy of civil rights guaranteed to citizens under the czars, and the faint stirrings of thought that would later become Objectivism initiated during this period (Branden , B. 18). In 1917 the Rosenbaum’s pharmacy was nationalized following the victory of the Communists during the Bolshevik Revolution (Heller 2684). With the lo...

... middle of paper ...

... Fiction. Ed. Carl Rollyson. Volume 6. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Salem Press, 1983. 2684-2687. Print.
Hubbel, Jeremy W. “Criticism.” Novels for Students. Eds. Michael L. LaBlanc, and Ira Milne. Volume 10. Detroit: Gale, 1987. 14-17. Print.
McGann, Kevin. “Ayn Rand in the Stockyard of the Spirit.” Contemporary Literary Criticism. Eds. Jean C. Stine, and Daniel G. Marowski. Volume 30. Detroit: Gale, 1984. 302-303. Print.
Perkins, Wendy. “Critical Essay on the Fountainhead.” Novels for Students. Ed. David M. Galens. Volume 16. Detroit: Gale, 2003. 111-112. Print.
Rand, Ayn. Atlas Shrugged. New York: Signet, 1957. 722-779. Print.
Stine, Jean C., and Daniel G. Marowski. “Ayn Rand: 1905-1982.” Eds. Jean C. Stine and Daniel G. Marowski. Contemporary Literary Criticism. Volume 30. Detroit: Gale, 1984. 291. Print.
Get Access