Atlas Blogged #18

September 7, 2010

Part 18 of blogging my way through my first reading of Atlas Shrugged. You can find the first part here.

Chapter 18: By Our Love

Something of a filler chapter this one, so I won’t spend too much time on it. Dagny has retreated to a country cottage following her resignation from Taggart Transcontinental. Of course, Dagny being Dagny, she’s rebuilt the cottage into a thousand-foot high fortress – or, at least, cleared the paths and reshingled the roof. She’s wracked with what I can only assume is Rand’s idea of what her industrial idols experience in the absence of their industry. Dagny’s behaving like a lovesick teenager, in other words.

d’Anconia comes to visit, ostensibly to reclaim Dagny now that she’s seen the importance of not working for the ‘looters’. He reveals that he’s been purposely destroying his own company to stop it falling into their hands, which would be more of a revelation if Rand hadn’t spent much of the book waving a banner saying, ‘LOOK! HE’S DESTROYING HIS OWN COMPANY WITH HIS OWN HANDS!’ Astonishingly, none of the characters in the book catch onto this until d’Anconia tells them. For all their vaunted industrial prowess, they really aren’t very bright.

Despite d’Anconia believing Dagny to be over the railway, the news of the destruction of the rail tunnel in the previous chapter forces her back to her office in New York, where she’s of course the only one willing to make decisions. Rearden calls, for the first time in weeks, and she tells him that they’re both shackled to production for looters by their love of production. That’s nearly poetic. You know, for Rand.

Analysis

Not much in this chapter; it seemingly exists because Rand couldn’t have her heroine simply quit once and for all, which would’ve allowed her to avoid at least a hundred pages. I can’t help but think this book would’ve benefited from a decent editor, and a less self-deceiving author.

Part 19 is here.

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