Saturday, March 19, 2011

Atlas Shrugged Readalong: Part One Response

    This post is on part one (the first 330 pages) of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged and is for a readalong I am doing. The readalong is hosted by A Literary Odyssey, an amazing book review site based on 250 of the classics. You should definitely check out that site for some interesting insights into the classics. On to my thoughts on the first part of Atlas Shrugged!

    With the state of the economy in the past two years being as dismal as it is, it is not hard to imagine the world that Ayn Rand created. Failing businesses, unemployed workers, and people struggling to afford essential items isn't fictional, it's something that I see everyday. People are losing hope in our world, as in Rand's and some are plagued with thoughts that they will not be able to survive. (See the constant remarks as to "Who is John Galt?"). Because of this, I felt a lot more connected to the background of the story and could really relate to the setting. Even though it is a dystopian world, it was something that I could see happening in the future if the economy does not correct itself. With that being said, there is definitely a disconnect between me and the characters.

    Atlas Shrugged, for me, has been more like reading Ayn Rand's manifesto than a novel. Throughout part one, I've basically seen her use the characters as symbols or caricatures for ideas that see whats to express. Dagny, my favorite character so far, is an exaggerated view of capitalism and bases her choices on facts and what will yield the best results. As such, she isn't afraid to take a risk on an otherwise unknown company if research shows that it has the best product. Her brother, on the other hand, represents socialist views of doing things for the good of the whole community and helping out the "little guy." With the characters being so exaggerated to fit the type, it was difficult at times to relate to them.

    Despite this, I am looking forward to continuing the novel and seeing where it will go. I am also intrigued with the hint of something greater underlying the events that we've seen thus far. Something big is definitley going on, and I am looking forward to finding out more about what it might be.

To find out more about this readalong and others, visit A Literary Odyssey.
Happy reading,
The Book Nook


  1. It does seem particularly appropriate to read this novel now, doesn't it? I agree with you whole-heartedly about Rand's characters. If the book was satire it might be appropriate, but I can't escape the feeling of Rand's utter seriousness. I'm not entirely convinced-- though this comes as much from my other readinsg on Rand as from this novel-- that she doesn't see characters like Jim Taggert, Orren Boyle, etc. as actually being realistic.

  2. I've been so curious about this book, but always a little afraid to read it. I don't know, maybe it's too thick? or too political? Either way, I'll be interested to see your readalong posts.