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A real-life peter keating

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Frightening. And then I hear people say that Rand's characters are all false, without a single thread of real people in them. This definitely was a Keating in the making.

Well, the only good thing I can say is, if you make it to the end you start to see the change in him because he recognizes how miserable and empty he's going to be if he doesn't do something to change his situation. So even though the whole thing is about the guy's depravity, it does have a happy ending in the sense that he pulls out of his tailspin by his own effort.

This story resonates with me somewhat because I'm an Ivy-Leaguer too, and even though Princeton of the early 80s was not Dartmouth of the mid 00s, there are still a lot of similarities between the scenes. I knew a lot of the elitist pricks he describes in his story, meritless aristocrats, and I knew some of the people like him too who had no sense of what they were doing and rushed blindly forward for achievement and affirmation.

My background is roughly similar to his, small town girl from PA instead of MN like him, and I was not allowed into the "secret club" either. I could have ended up like him, except for whatever reason when I was fairly young I realized that adults didn't know anything either so there was no sense in pleasing them, and I started doing things more or less purely for the purpose of achieving my own ends. I was able to make it all about me, and he missed the train on that one. Frankly, sometimes parents make these situations work. My parents, fortunately, were pretty mellow and were content to let me be pretty self-directed, but I know my mom especially did pressure me once or twice to take on some extracurriculars or volunteer or something and I basically told her "that's just not what I want to do, I'm not interested and I won't force it." But I basically spent eight continuous years in elite private schools (high school then Dartmouth) so the things this guy saw around him are very familiar to me.

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