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Atlas Shrugged

Atlas Shrugged sat unread on the shelf, mocking me.  One thousand sixty-nine pages, fifty one hours and fourteen reading sessions later, that monument lies in smitherines at my feet.

Such a picture of accomplishment is appropriate for a novel like Ayn Rand’s since Rand was all about the glorious nature of human achievement. Born during the days of upheaval in early 20th century Russia, she never embraced the tenets of communism. Later emmigrating to the United States, she developed a philosophy of her own called “objectivism.” At the center of her vision is an heroic image of the individual who can accomplish anything he or she sets her mind to achieve. In that sentence, the key word is “mind.” For many pages toward the end of the novel, Ayn Rand becomes Ayn Rant as she excoriates those who have neglected the mind to favor either the body or the soul, observing: “Man has a single basic choice: to think or not, and that is the gauge of his virtue” (969-70).

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