The Conflict in Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged skillfully effectively introduces us to a setting where actions and values are placed on a scale and compared to each other. Although the author also deals with many side struggles, her primary conflict is that with human action. Rand is able to add dramatic effects to her writing as she integrates the theme of “the role of the mind in human existence.” Atlas Shrugged focuses on the concerns of values and issues that are then further expressed with actions. Rand does an amazing job at interpreting actions using wide abstract principles that can be seen throughout the conflict which unravels through the conflict. Atlas Shrugged introduces us to the plot-theme from the beginning as it centers its attention on getting the audience to understand how the theme and the main conflict are linked back to the action that takes place in human existence. Going more into depth, Rand specifies that the abstract theme is focused around “men of the mind going on strike against an altruist-collectivist society.” This truly comes to prove that Rand’s hope for the book was to give attention to the highly important situation we have at hand which she expressed through her abstract theme of how the mind plays an enormous role in our lives and how every action results in a reaction.
The main conflict of Atlas Shrugged is presented indirectly by Rand as she states it in terms of action. This creates a smooth transition throughout the reading which slowly prepares the reader for the moment when the conflict arises. She is able to transmit the theme and thus introduce the conflict through her efficient use of strong characters in this case the creators and looters. They play a detrimental role in Atlas Shrugged because they are in fact in moral conflict with each other. Rand actually uses this conflict to express how the characters action play into the overall theme.On the other hand, the creators, Dagny Taggart and Hank Rearden, are portrayed by the author as extremely against the looters both willingly and morally. However, in a way she contradicts herself for they support them in action. Rand does this again further in the reading as Dagny and Rearden oppose Galt and the strikers in action, but agree with them morally. This comes to show how actions and morals are separated in the story which adds on to Rand’s argument that actions are the drive of human’s existence.
Throughout the story Rand portrayed the heroes as the source of the success. In the story it was them that had the power to control the world and carry the burdens that came with it on their shoulders. She gives special emphasis to Dagny and Hank for they are shown to take initiative and matters into their own hands resulting in their own happiness. Although they are mesmerized, some of the characters such as the producers are dramatized as only taking initiative whenever the situation deals with matter having to do with themselves. The author’s heroes are portrayed to be extraordinary people that are above others. The most crucial events in Atlas Shrugged are clearly dramatized. These events actually occur before the eyes of the readers as Rand uses literary devices such as flashbacks in order to convey the importance of key events relating back to the central theme and thus the cause of the conflict of the story.
In addition, Rand introduces the conflict with society which is mainly derived by position and level. Dagny is placed under public scrutiny and is criticized for what she stands for as a person as was done with James. Dagny’s personality is portrayed as cold, but in her own mind she sees her actions as good. Also, it can be seen that it is difficult for her to make decisions on the capitalism when she feels like she’s being pressured. The society expresses that they want to be made a part of the current economic system, but when she attempts to open their eyes she faces backlash. It is evident that humans are resistant to change even if this means that they continue to stay in the dark on important matters of the world although this can be affecting their own society. Change forces humans to step out of their comfort zone and can be uncomfortable at times because it is difficult to do something that others might see as strange. It is shown in Atlas Shrugged that they are stubborn and against change.
Atlas Shrugged depicts how opposition and conflicts from society oppose what’s good morally and physically in action. Throughout the book, the embodiment of honesty is differentiated from the embodiment of corruption. At the end it is clear that the solution to the conflict at hand is that despite the looter efforts to hurt the mind, Galt finds a way to be successful through intellect. Showing that intellect has the power to change lives.
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