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About your first reading of Atlas Shrugged

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So I'm reading Atlas Shrugged with my girlfriend, who has never read Rand before. We got past part I, and we're reading Part II, Chaper 1, The Man Who Belonged on Earth...and she guessed that Galt was the inventor of the motor.

It happened when Stadler said that he knew a John Galt once, and he'd had a mind that, had he lived, the whole world would've been talking about him by now. She said, "I bet John Galt was the inventor of the motor."

Did any of you guess it at this point, or some other point in the book before Galt actually appeared in person? I don't remember guessing it.

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On a side note, at the part where Dagny was sitting in the John Galt Line office, and Galt almost entered, and she saw his shadow...my gf thought it was Rearden, since he was harboring sexual/romantic thoughts about Dagny at the time but "didn't dare entertain them". It had never occurred to me that it might be Rearden, but it makes total sense. (I also forgot that Dagny had asked him, later, whether it was him.)

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Just before the part where Dagny asks Stadler about the motor, it also mentioned that Stockton had been talking to a man deep into the night, right before he quit. I wonder how long it will be before my girlfriend guesses that that's Galt as well, and that Galt is the one talking to Eddie in the cafeteria. (Reportedly, Nathaniel Branden guessed that Galt was the worker, due to some juxtaposition in one of the exchanges, I forget which one.)

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I suspected that Galt was the creator of the motor, and actually the motor was what convinced me that John Galt was a real person. Up to that point I thought he was a metaphor, much like how the phrase “Who is John Galt?” was a metaphor, and that Francisco was the person who was talking men into leaving. The way Francisco was operating at once as “the Playboy” and giving the speeches that were the exact opposite led me to think his duel presentation was his ability to move in public while talking to industrialists. I also thought he was the person outside of Dagny’s door that night. The motor made me realize there was a new protagonist at work and it was Galt.

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I was completely clueless as to there even being a real John Galt. I honestly thought it was just a phrase. But my 2nd time through, it was so obvious I felt like it could hardly even be called a mystery.

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I figured Galt was going to be the man behind the disappearances and that d'Anconia's dissolution was some kind of protest gesture.

A novel, movie or play becomes a classic only if you can go back to it, already knowing how it turns out, and enjoy it.

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I was completely clueless as to there even being a real John Galt. I honestly thought it was just a phrase.

Me too.

I didn't want to read the book at all, actually. It was a requirement for a college scholarship, and I put it down after 50 pages or so out of boredom. I picked it up months later, after the scholarship was over, because I didn't like leaving a book unfinished (at the time, ha). In no time, I was so enamored by the philosophy, I didn't notice the plot much. There was just something I couldn't put my finger on. Not many pages later, I couldn't finish it fast enough and read through for weeks, nonstop, jumping from Rand's non-fiction back to the novel repeatedly. What an experience!

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There's something so great about sharing Atlas with someone you're close to.

Five years ago I told my wife all I wanted for my birthday was for her to read Atlas Shrugged.

She did, and while she was initially irritated by my request she later admitted she was glad I did because she said she never would have read it otherwise.

Edited by SapereAude

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We just finished the first chapter of part II. Recalling the disappearing producers, she said, "gee, I bet they're going to form their own secret utopia." in a mocking voice. Anyone call this one too? Makes me wonder whether she already knows.

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We just finished the first chapter of part II. Recalling the disappearing producers, she said, "gee, I bet they're going to form their own secret utopia." in a mocking voice. Anyone call this one too? Makes me wonder whether she already knows.

Have you considered that she may have looked the book up online and is fucking with you?

Most people I know who've never read Atlas know the basics of the story- largely because of all the mocking by liberal pundits and the mainstream media.

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BEFORE my first reading, I ran into my first anti-Rand critic, my English teacher, who had assigned us all to read '10-points' worth of books for the semester. I had just read Rand's interview in Playboy (I was a senior in '72/'73) and the teacher said she would give me 10 points for that one book, but the report had better be good--and she said in a tone dripping with disdain. I couldn't imagine why, until I began hearing how Ayn Rand's critics would say anything about her to discredit her. To the teacher's credit, she never said a word.

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I guessed he was a real person, but with so many characters already introduced, I wouldn't have been surprised if his future role was unrelated to the motor. The thing I didn't see coming was that the workman talking to Rearden was Galt.

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