Who do you consider the "most real" character in AS?


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I find Franscisco to be the "most real" character. Why? Because I have met people like him in the flesh. The character I consider "least real" is John Galt. I simply cannot get traction on his character.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Edited by BaalChatzaf
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I find Franscisco to be the "most real" character. Why? Because I have met people like him in the flesh. The character I consider "least real" is John Galt. I simply cannot get traction on his character.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Rearden is the most real. Francisco is my favorite. Galt is not a character, he's a cypher.

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I find Franscisco to be the "most real" character. Why? Because I have met people like him in the flesh. The character I consider "least real" is John Galt. I simply cannot get traction on his character.

Depends what you mean by the word 'real'. If we are talking about the descriptive sense, as in people we are likely to come across in everyday life, then I don't think any of the major characters are very real. That's kind of the point; Rand was a Romantic not a Naturalist. She wrote about what could and ought to be not what was.

That being said, I share your sentiment towards Galt. He didn't have much of a personality (a person isn't just a metaphysical statement). Again however, this was intentional on the part of Rand. Galt wasn't meant to be so much a person as the embodiment of her views on the ideal man. I think any fleshing out of individual quirks would have run the risk of diminishing this.

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That being said, I share your sentiment towards Galt. He didn't have much of a personality (a person isn't just a metaphysical statement). Again however, this was intentional on the part of Rand. Galt wasn't meant to be so much a person as the embodiment of her views on the ideal man. I think any fleshing out of individual quirks would have run the risk of diminishing this.

So, Rand's ideal man was a bland, featureless abstraction with green eyes? No, if the ideal is real, then it is fully concretized.

There is only one scene where Galt had a personality. Really only one sentence. When he told the torturer who to fix the persuader. That was worthy of Victor Hugo.

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Most parts of Dagny are drawn very well, but her attraction to Galt is unbelievable. A real person would prefer either Rearden or Francisco to him. Her need to track Galt down in his Manhattan flat was driven by the plot, not by good characterization.

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Dagny Taggart and Hank Rearden are the core characters, and limned in extraordinary detail and realism, especially in their inner dialogues. Francisco d'Anconia is closely behind them, but far, far more consciously stylized, which occasionally breaks the dramatic illusions around him. ("... a cape waving behind him in the wind"? Pleeeeease.)

I'd put several more of the positive characters, though, well before the walking abstraction that is John Galt, in depth of characterization and resulting resonance: Hugh Akston, Cherryl Brooks, Ragnar Danneskjöld, Ellis Wyatt, Jeff Allen the tramp, even Tony the Wet Nurse.

The only even partly or fleetingly positive characters I found completely lacking in resonance were two that were deliberate amalgams of moral virtue and poor decisions: Eddie Willers and Robert Stadler. They moved the story, but I found them nearly impossible to believe as having any even remotely "real-life" analogues, even in part. Their contradictions tore them asunder on the page.

The villains are nearly all walking caricatures. Most serve plot roles well, often with adept dialogue, but they possess no real resonance — as if Rand didn't quite believe in their importance even when she was outlining them. With one exception: Fred Kinnan, the labor leader, hitting all the right sardonic, manipulative notes.

And I'd call only one characterization in the whole book so utterly bad as to break the suspension of disbelief in Rand's narrative: Cuffy Meigs. She clearly modeled him on some thug or another she'd encountered in Russia, but he is far too ludicrously shallow to be believed. Even Balph Eubank (who has by far the worst suspension-breaking name in the book) had more of a connection to a recognizable type, the casual statist dilettante.

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I vote for Cheryl Taggart. Did you mean to restrict it to heroes?

No. I meant who is the "most real" among Rand's AS characters, be they heroes, villlians or other.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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I'm the character I find most real in Atlas Shrugged.

--Brant

What was your name in AS?

Ba'al Chatzaf

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I find Franscisco to be the "most real" character. Why? Because I have met people like him in the flesh. The character I consider "least real" is John Galt. I simply cannot get traction on his character.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Rearden is the most real. Francisco is my favorite. Galt is not a character, he's a cypher.

I would have said Galt is a place-holder.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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I'm the character I find most real in Atlas Shrugged.

--Brant

What was your name in AS?

Ba'al Chatzaf

Brant

The character I enjoyed the most was James Taggart; he's the only deliciously evil character in AS. You have to understand that this is the perspective of an actor; I've had training as an actor. And my favorite character is Rearden.

--Brant

Edited by Brant Gaede
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So, Rand's ideal man was a bland, featureless abstraction with green eyes? No, if the ideal is real, then it is fully concretized.

Okay so maybe John Galt was the blueprints for an ideal man, which Rand didn't wish to flesh out because any more content would be purely personal and not fully objective.

Edited by Sum Ergo Cogitabo
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So, Rand's ideal man was a bland, featureless abstraction with green eyes? No, if the ideal is real, then it is fully concretized.

Okay so maybe John Galt was the blueprints for an ideal man, which Rand didn't wish to flesh out because any more content would be purely personal and not fully objective.

Not even blueprints. Just assertion. Rand correctly argues in the Art ofFiction that one should show, not tell -- i.e., dramatize the acts, not describe them in exposition. Galt is pretty much all exposition given in the words of other characters. The problem is that Rand obviously had some sort of picture of him in her mind, but she didn't concretize it for the reader. I wonder if her affair didn't have something to do with this.

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The only even partly or fleetingly positive characters I found completely lacking in resonance were two that were deliberate amalgams of moral virtue and poor decisions: Eddie Willers and Robert Stadler. They moved the story, but I found them nearly impossible to believe as having any even remotely "real-life" analogues, even in part. Their contradictions tore them asunder on the page.

I really liked Eddie. During the early parts of the novel where Dagny is walking forlornly around New York mourning her loneliness and the barren cultural landscape, I wanted to grab her and shake her and say, "You bloody fool! Why aren't you dating Eddie? Or at least engaging in a social friendship with him! Go out for coffee together! Listen to the music of Richard Halley together!"

Judith

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This is interesting in that Stadler is supposed to come straight from Albert Oppenheimer, whom Rand interviewed in her screenwriting days, right down to the look of his office.

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This is interesting in that Stadler is supposed to come straight from Albert Oppenheimer, whom Rand interviewed in her screenwriting days, right down to the look of his office.

J. Robert Oppenheimer.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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The only even partly or fleetingly positive characters I found completely lacking in resonance were two that were deliberate amalgams of moral virtue and poor decisions: Eddie Willers and Robert Stadler. They moved the story, but I found them nearly impossible to believe as having any even remotely "real-life" analogues, even in part. Their contradictions tore them asunder on the page.

I really liked Eddie. During the early parts of the novel where Dagny is walking forlornly around New York mourning her loneliness and the barren cultural landscape, I wanted to grab her and shake her and say, "You bloody fool! Why aren't you dating Eddie? Or at least engaging in a social friendship with him! Go out for coffee together! Listen to the music of Richard Halley together!"

Actually, they should have been going at it full blast as teenagers. However, it would have no longer been the world of AS which is too many of the right men for Dagny and not enough sex regardless. And everybody takes a plus ten-year break because of The Strike. There's enough sex for the novel, though, and that's the main point. It's art!

I've said it before and I'll keep repeating myself: There is no way to substantially improve the novel without destroying it. The best way to improve the Willers character is give him an off-stage wife and life and forget the silly unrequited love. That'd buff him up without twisting the culture of the novel out of shape and whacking the plot to death.

--Brant

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I imagine that Ayn Rand herself would say that all the characters are real to her and that her most real character would be John Galt in the flesh. She had to envision him right from the start even though he is not revealed to the readers until his appearance when Dagny opens her eyes after crashing into Galt's Gulch.

I know his name is mentioned in the question in the very first line of the book and from time to time the question is asked with the flavor of "What's the use?"

Also there is the mysterious character in the cafeteria who questions Eddie Willers a few times, but he is clearly a nobody, just a track worker in the tunnels of the railroad.

Some one is almost caught watching Dagny when she takes up residence in a hovel of an office on the grounds of Taggart Transcontinental.

I know what you all mean by referring to John Galt as a blueprint of a man. One of you mentioned that Rand had a clear picture of him in her mind but didn't flesh him out for the reader. I agree with that.

We do know a few things about him. That he was a brilliant physicist who thought up a motor which derived its energy from the atmosphere. Also that he worked in a factory run by mystic, altruist collectivists and he identified the philosophical premises which have been an open secret for all to see in the long course of human history. Confronted with that as we are confronted with the very same statist theology in our society and the world today he decided to stop the motor of the world. Essentially that is what Ayn Rand decided to do as well. Rather than do what John Galt does in the novel she created the story in which he succeeds. Now the secret is out but only a relative handful of us hold the key.

John Galt's speech says it all in detail. In order for him to have done that Ayn Rand had to know it first. Of course John Galt is unlike most people you have ever met in this world. He does epitomize every virtue of which she speaks in his speech. There are men and women in this world who share and are loyal to those virtues, including virtually everyone here on this site.

If this world is to be saved and made safer for human beings to live as they should, free from the oppression of all forms of tyranny and despotism, Ayn Rand and John Galt have clearly shown what is wrong with the world and what the solution is for each person. John Galt made a decision as to how to bring about the change he wanted.

There must be a better way.

Edited by gulch8
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