Have you ever wondered what would happen if Atlas – the man holding the world on his shoulders – shrugged? Atlas Shrugged is Ayn Rand’s objectivist masterpiece that takes place in a world in which the titans of industry decide to abandon the working class, forcing them to rot in the world of twisted morals they have unintentionally created for themselves. This extraordinarily long novel is at the same time a gripping story of a woman trying to find a place for herself in the all-male railroad industry, a commentary on America’s social structure, and a lecture on the unique philosophy of objectivism.
The novel begins with industrialist Dagny Taggert, a woman in control of one of the nation’s largest railroads: Taggert Transcontinental. She struggles with a declining economy, dwindling resources, and the president of the company – who just so happens to be her weasel of a brother, Jim. Rand introduces us to powerful characters such as Francisco D’Anconia, a leader in the copper industry, and Hank Rearden, inventor and head of the steel industry, both of whom are in love with Dagny. Romance is a complicated thing in the world of objectivism and Rand introduces an intriguing look at sex and relationships in this story. Objectivists such as Dagny are only capable of loving men who are extraordinarily driven and powerful – and the greatest pleasure for her is knowing that she is the one bringing such a man to his knees. Beware: spoilers ahead!! Continue reading