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Warning - this paper is not formatted ! Who Is I? In Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand provides a well-written explanation of objectivism in a monumental novel about those who hold the world on their shoulders. Her characters are a myriad of individuals, ranging from the highest achievement possible: a human, to one of the most horrid creatures on this planet: a once-human imbecile. She gives the reader insight into the psyche of society and the motivations behind our actions. In this novel, Rand’s most righteous characters are those with the most internal conflict. They must shed their conditioning that has been imposed on them by the earth’s people and leave behind what they value as most precious. There is one character that is held higher than the rest. A man of morality, introspection, and enigma, he begins the book and finishes it. So, who is John Galt? John Galt is Rand’s brilliant character that blends imagination and intelligence. John Galt can be described as having the same opinion on life that Henry David Thoreau does. They both believe you shouldn’t carry the world on your shoulders; they realize that in fact by giving things to the needy (Rand would use the word unworthy) you aren’t enabling them to become better people, but merely allowing them o feed off of other’s success. Their opinions differ in that Thoreau had good intentions for all and Galt is only interested in the very best for the competent and likes the idea of leaving saps in the dust. Galt brings Atlas’s people from the earth into their Olympus, Galt’s Gulch. There, these remarkable competent people are able to create their own utopia of industry and live without the weight of the earth’s incompetents. He, like Dagny Taggart, Francisco d’Anconia, and Henry Reardon, is a person of high ideals and standards. He values the dollar because he knows that the dollar is the highest commodity of respect a human can give to another’s ability. The actual sign of the dollar is the symbol of its country’s initials: for the United States, “the only country in history where wealth was not acquired by looting, but by production, not by force, but by trade… The symbol of man’s right to his own mind, to his work, to his life, to his happiness, to himself” (Atlas Shrugged, 637).
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The proof of Rand’s influence on America is very apparent. There is an Ayn Rand Institute, campus clubs at schools and colleges, objectivist groups, etc. She has given thought that capitalism is NOT evil and that altruism CAN be. She goes along with the almighty American dollar, not against it. She has helped the Russian-American relationship (immigrated…intermixing ideas from other cultures). In other words, she has most definitely changed many lives in this world. She is loved. She is hated, but she is real. In my opinion, real is the most moving characteristic that this world has to offer. Everyone is touched by her regardless if they agree with her opinions or not, simply because she enables the reader to find what they believe through her strong writings.
Rand, Ayn. Anthem. New York: New American Library, 1946.
Rand, Ayn. Atlas Shrugged. New York: Random House, 1957.
Rand, Ayn. The Fountainhead. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1943.
Rand, Ayn. We the Living. New York: New American Library, 1948.
Ayn Rand Institute. “Objectivism: the Philosophy of Ayn Rand.” www.AynRand.org online. America Online.