Ayn Rand American Literature Analysis
Rand’s fiction embodies the philosophy of Objectivism. She wants to provoke a philosophical response from her readers, to make each one choose a side. Objectivism asserts an uncompromising individualism, in which human beings’ rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are paramount, and their primary social obligation is to respect the rights of others. Rand believed that in modern times, the greatest threat to freedom is collectivism, the belief that the state, whether Communist, Fascist, or democratic, can control humans, especially by infringing on the right to hold property and to buy and trade freely. She supported capitalism as an expression of the highest freedom and loved the United States for its commitment to individual rights.
In keeping with this philosophy, all of Rand’s heroes and sympathetic characters are self-reliant and self-starting. They are frequently tall, lean and hard with strong, craggy names like Howard Roark, Dagny Taggart, and John Galt. They are makers and builders: architects, inventors, and industrialists. They love their work and respect competence above all. Rand’s villains, often referred to as second-handers or looters, tend to be pudgy, formless, and weak with names such as Wesley Mouch or Ellsworth Toohey. They live parasitically off the labor or ideas of others, to which they feel entitled. Frequently they support government programs to redistribute wealth from the producers to weak people like...
(The entire section is 2207 words.)
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