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What's Your Favorite Ayn Rand Novel?

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What's your favorite Ayn Rand novel or novella?  

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  1. 1. What's your favorite Ayn Rand novel or novella?

    • We the Living
      1
    • Anthem
      2
    • The Fountainhead
      20
    • Atlas Shrugged
      31


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FH is the only one I have not read and, so far, Anthem is my favorite. Atlas Shrugged is great, but didn't quite evoke the emotions in me that Anthem did. Anthem is so powerful, to me, precisely because it's so short, even if it doesn't contain a full explanation of the philosophy like AS does. Last time I read Anthem, the first chapter when he uses the word "I" almost brought me to tears, as I sat there waiting for my class to start.

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The Fountainhead was the first Ayn Rand book I read. It remains my favorite.

Warning: There are spoilers about this book in this post.

It spoke so eloquently, consistently, brilliantly, accurately to so many things:

How I felt & how I thought life should be (Roark), how/why most of the people I had encountered seemed so dull & pointless, stumbling through the mistake they miscalled their life (Keating), how/why so many successful people I met or read about seemed so unprincipled/dishonest (Wynand), & how/why all the irrational things people believe get dreamt up & spread (Toohey).

I remember being quite taken with Dominique, but at the same time bewildered by her actions. The older I get, the more I understand how well her character is put together. I used to think she was a brilliant, necessary part of the novel, but she was perhaps too extreme in her renunciation to seem "fully real" compared to Roark, Wynand, Keating & Toohey. Over the last 20 years I have watched my earlier assessment gradually change into a fuller understanding of how much she (& her extreme character aspects) is the "direct connection" between all the men. We get to see the soul of each of them in their interaction with her & how she reacts to them. Amazing.

Howard Roark was my hero as soon as he explained to the Dean why the Parthenon was rotten. He remains my favorite fictional hero to this day.

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FH is the only one I have not read and, so far, Anthem is my favorite.  Atlas Shrugged is great, but didn't quite evoke the emotions in me that Anthem did.  Anthem is so powerful, to me, precisely because it's so short, even if it doesn't contain a full explanation of the philosophy like AS does.  Last time I read Anthem, the first chapter when he uses the word "I" almost brought me to tears, as I sat there waiting for my class to start.

That was the same for me, about Anthem. It was short, sweet, creative, and thus POWERFUL. That was a life changing book for me. Atlas Shrugged was good, and it made me think...but it didn't have the same power as Anthem. At some point I'll get to The Fountainhead.

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I remember being quite taken with Dominique, but at the same time bewildered by her actions.

I'm still in the "bewildered" stage, it would seem.

Searching the oo.net forums for the keyword "Dominique" yields LOTS of hits, but I've yet to find a thorough discussion of her character and her role in The Fountainhead.

Nor did The Journals of Ayn Rand provide the sort of explanation/attention that was goven to the Roark, Keating and Toohey characters.

Dominique Francon/Keating/Wynand and Dagny Taggart seem HUGELY different; the former seems to suggest that ideal role of woman is that of the "hero worshipping priestess", while the latter seems to suggest that women can be creative "heroes" in their own right.

Any guidance?

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Howard Roark was my hero as soon as he explained to the Dean why the Parthenon was rotten. He remains my favorite fictional hero to this day.

+100

That conversation is the first one that made me think: This is what a REAL individual, a REAL man should be.

My favorite quote:

Dean: But, who'll let you [build]?

Roark: The question is not 'who will let me'. The question is who will stop me.

<_<

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I'm still in the "bewildered" stage, it would seem.

It's not difficult to be "bewildered" by her, huh?

Nor did The Journals of Ayn Rand provide the sort of explanation/attention that was goven to the Roark, Keating and Toohey characters.

I remember an Ayn Rand quote, something to the effect of, "Dominique is me in a bad mood." However, I don't know if she considered that an off-hand humorous remark or an essentialization of the character.

Dominique Francon/Keating/Wynand and Dagny Taggart seem HUGELY different;  the former seems to suggest that ideal role of woman is that of the "hero worshipping priestess", while the latter seems to suggest that women can be creative "heroes" in their own right.

You might have a dichotomy of false alternatives there: "hero worshiper vs. hero". It doesn't have to be either-or. Any individual has the potential to be creative (regardless of sex/gender). Dominique herself displays a great deal of creative capacity in certain sections of the book. I don't know exactly where in the book you are, or if you have already finished it, but, she even mentions this to Wynand: (paraphrasing from memory now) "Gail, did you think I was a sort of kept woman incapable of hard work?"

Any guidance?

In what way? Can you be more specific? Otherwise the only advice I can offer is finish reading it if you haven't!

Roark: The question is not 'who will let me'. The question is who will stop me.

:)

Exactly! :)

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Definetely Atlas Shrugged.

I have yet to read Fountainhead (though I found my copy and it is next on my list), so maybe after reading that i will think it is better. But I do not think so. Atlas is far as i can tell, based on statements from Rand herself, many fans, and based on the nature of Atlas Shrugged itself, Rands magnum opus. It deals in great detail with pretty much every conceivable major ascept of her phiosophy, the philosophy of man.

From what I hear, Fountainhead is less comprehensive in this respect. Not that I beleive it does not do a great job of portraying Objectivism though.

I really like all of her nonfiction that have read. But I enjoy Atlas Shrugged more because it covers more of her philosophy (a larger range of her philosophy).

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Fountainhead's my favorite of all the novels I've read.

I didn't really feel the main character of Anthem. He wasn't a Roark or d'Anconia. It's not as epic, either.

I'm going to have to reread We the Living soon. I don't remember a lot, but I do remember not liking how Kira wasted time with her man (name?) long after he was "worthless."

AS is very good (my all-time #2.) It's even more epic than The Fountainhead, but AS doesn't have as good characters IMO. d'Anconia > than all by me, but I still prefer Roark to Galt, Wynand to Stadler, and Toohey to the baddies of AS.

AS also loses to The Fountainhead in terms of trials of the hero. Galt's "trials" aren't nearly so inspiring as Roark's are, and d'Anconia's, while comparable to Roark's, aren't depicted with the same fervor and depth.

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AS is very good (my all-time #2.) It's even more epic than The Fountainhead, but AS doesn't have as good characters IMO. d'Anconia > than all by me, but I still prefer Roark to Galt, Wynand to Stadler, and Toohey to the baddies of AS.

AS also loses to The Fountainhead in terms of trials of the hero. Galt's "trials" aren't nearly so inspiring as Roark's are, and d'Anconia's, while comparable to Roark's, aren't depicted with the same fervor and depth.

This is because the "Big" characters that are followed by the story in AS are Hank Rearden and Dagny Taggert.

I like AS the best, in part, because I VASTLY prefer Dagny to Dominique. Dominique was cool, don't get me wrong. But Dagny was AWESOME.

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Good points, JMeganSnow. The more I think about it, there are a lot of character comparisons to be had.

Overall, I think the Fountainhead characters are more fleshed out that the ASers, but I indeed didn't consider Hank and Dagny when making my prior post.

Dagny and Dominique? Hmm, I not sure how I feel about that. :) You've given me something to think about (though my gut feeling is toward Dominique.) Thanks for the food for thought! :)

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