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is James J Hill supposed to be Nat Taggart?

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Marty McFly
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James J Hill sounds like a great man. he Built a transcontinental railroad without any governmental help (in an era where government did help some railroad companies and there were lots of curroption in the construction companies) was Ayn Rand portraying the times of James Hill and Jay Gould etc?

The easy answer is: "Well, pretty much..." If you read biographies of the industrialists, it is easy to find analogs to Hank Rearden, Andrew Stockton, Midas Mulligan, and the others. It has been suggested that Hank Rearden was modeled on Henry Ford both in looks and personality. However, Nat Taggart did not look like James J. Hill and Hill did not go knocking on farmers' doors to raise capital.

Such speculations run contrary to Ayn Rand's theory of aesthetics. If she wanted to write a biography, she would have done that. The craft of writing fiction requires paying attention to people. After all, this is not computer documentation. The choice of the name Nathaniel Taggart might be easy to derive from her life. Was Eddie Willers Frank O'Connor? Was Cheryl Taggart an acutal shop girl? But, again, Ayn Rand's conscious aesthetic was to create people, not to copy them. From her Romantic Manifesto (which I read) and her journals (which I have not), she did not build her characters as pastiches or collages, but from the ground up. As far as I know, every good writer does this, creating full biographies of the characters, even if most of those details never appear in

the manuscript.

Edited by Hermes
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I am not saying that she copied th ereal people. but alot of her charachters resemble real people Toohey could be Eugene Debs and the Homestead PA strike could be Hank Rearden's steel company (Frick could be Rearden)Carnegie could be wanand, and Mrs. William Astor's gala ball of feb. 1892 could be that party where Fransisco D'Anconia gave the news that his stock fell etc. it's really cool when You read about the industrial era

The easy answer is: "Well, pretty much..." If you read biographies of the industrialists, it is easy to find analogs to Hank Rearden, Andrew Stockton, Midas Mulligan, and the others. It has been suggested that Hank Rearden was modeled on Henry Ford both in looks and personality. However, Nat Taggart did not look like James J. Hill and Hill did not go knocking on farmers' doors to raise capital.

Such speculations run contrary to Ayn Rand's theory of aesthetics. If she wanted to write a biography, she would have done that. The craft of writing fiction requires paying attention to people. After all, this is not computer documentation. The choice of the name Nathaniel Taggart might be easy to derive from her life. Was Eddie Willers Frank O'Connor? Was Cheryl Taggart an acutal shop girl? But, again, Ayn Rand's conscious aesthetic was to create people, not to copy them. From her Romantic Manifesto (which I read) and her journals (which I have not), she did not build her characters as pastiches or collages, but from the ground up. As far as I know, every good writer does this, creating full biographies of the characters, even if most of those details never appear in

the manuscript.

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