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Eddie Willers

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There is no reason why they wouldn't go and get him "after" the end of the

novel. He has friends in Galt, Dagney, Reardon, and Francisco. But his

role in the story was the honest -"average" man and how his life is effected

by the prime movers of society. The average person is effected government

by actions against others.

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Any thougts?

The thing that I didn't understand is why he told Dagny that he couldn't be a railroad execuctive (from my memory Eddies last scene). If he had said I don't want to be, I would have understood it.

If WGD is correct, it would be the actions of the government on average people that removed this ability to be a reailroad exec.

huh.

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There is no reason why they wouldn't go and get him "after" the end of the

novel. He has friends in Galt, Dagney, Reardon, and Francisco. But his

role in the story was the honest -"average" man and how his life is effected

by the prime movers of society. The average person is effected government

by actions against others.

I'm not sure about this. At the end of the novel, the prime movers are actually talking about going 'back to the world', so they wouldn't have invited Willers to the valley.

And I don't quite see how eddie was just the best of an 'average man'. It would be safe to say that for the whole novel, he was Dagny's right hand man. Considering the greatness of Dagny, Eddie would have to be something more than just average to fulfill that role.

And even IF Eddie was just an average man, and only the prime movers get invited into the valley, then what explains the presence of the truck driver in the valley? You know... when Dagny sees someone who she thinks looks like a truck driver and asks: "And I suppose you're a professor of comparative philosophy?" And he replies: "No ma'am, I'm a truck driver. But I want to be more than a truck driver." (Or something to that extent).

Hmmmm....

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Concerto of Atlantis,

You already tocuhed on this yourself, only prime movers were taken to Gault's Gulch. Gault and his companions were not looking to help out others by taking them away, they were looking to stop the motor of the world. Eddie was not one of the sparks that drove that motor. He was usless to them.

You also mention that you dislike his fate by asking how could such a rational man come to such an end. I don't see his end in the novel to be such a bad one. Nothing bad happens to him, everyone from Gault's Gulch is headed to take back the world, I'm sure is fate would have been quite nice.

Eddie was a good hearted, hard working, self motivated individual but he was no Dagny or Gault. Guys like Eddie are a dime a dozen. Hes a great guy but so are the best of the average, right? Eddies is an average dude, hes is painted that way the entire novel. I never found myself wishing that Eddie would have been chosen to go to Gault's Gulch, but wishing that he would push himself a little further and become a greater man. I think Eddies is intended to be someone we can all relate to, that way we can see how nice it is to be a hard working man (or woman), but only an average one. To be greater you must want to be greatest. Eddie does not carry that charateristic. I think his fate in the book is very fitting.

The truck driver is something I'll have to look into. I will say that that part was quite funny and if there is no other reason for him to be there its to make that joke possible. When writting a novel there are other things to look at besides the plot, like keeping the reader interested and keeping the mood the way you want it to be, etc.

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It just seems like a contradiction. One small glitch like that really screws with the whole "Only prime movers are allowed into Galt's Gulch" idea.

Unless of course it isn't a glitch and there's something I'm overlooking. Keep the ideas coming...

I now accept that Eddie Willers was a representation of the best of the average, and therefore his fate seems quite logical, but the truck driver...

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I now accept that Eddie Willers was a representation of the best of the average, and therefore his fate seems quite logical, but the truck driver

The point is not that Eddie was an avearge, the point is that he never wanted to be greater than that. IIRC, his last words to Dagny were of the sort, "You could start a railroad anywhere you go, I couldn't."

The truck driver didn't always want to remain a truck driver. And therein lies the difference.

Instead of being a contradiction, this is one of the starkest examples of the pitiless justice of Galt. He is a man who doesn't fake reality in any manner whatsoever. Taking Eddie in would have been one. He was an avearge man, he wasn't a prime mover.

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My take on the issue is that Eddie, while possessing Objectivist virtues such as rationality and productivity, lacks an essential characteristic, self-esteem. Eddie is a second-hander who for his entire life derived his self-esteem from people such as Dagny, Francisco and Hank Rearden.

This is exemplified when Dagny asks him what he likes about Francisco after one of his summer visits. Eddie's response is, "He makes me feel safe." Dagny responds with, "He makes me feel excitement and danger."

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I don't know about Eddie being a second-hander.

I thought that the point was that Eddie continued working for the looters just like Dagny had been doing until near the end and that was why he met the fate that he did.

Maybe if Eddie had been willing to quit and recognized that what he was doing was feeding the looters, he wouldn't have ended up beached in the middle of nowhere.

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BlackSabbath,

It wasn't just that.  He never had aspirations to be the best.  He was a mediocre man and that was his fate.  Also being a second hander and supporting the looter are one in the same.  You are either for them or against them, there is no in between.

Eddie could still have gone on strike and Joined Dagny though.

I'm sure Ayn Rand's letters compilation has something to say about the point of Eddie's fate.

I don't have aspirations to be the best.

I do however do my best and strive to be good at my job.

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If you think Eddie's fate is what happens to the honorable average when the men of the mind go on strike, think twice.

...

Eddie Willers: "No transcontinental trains can leave San Francisco. One of the fighting factions out there-I don't know which one-has seized our terminal and imposed a 'departure tax' on trains. Meaning that they're holding trains for ransom. Our terminal manager has quit. Nobody knows what to do there now."

Dagny Taggart: "I can't leave New York"

"I know," he said softly. "That's why it's I who'll go there to straighten things out. At least, to find a man to put in charge."

"No! I don't want you to! It's too dangerous! And what for? It doesn't matter now. There's nothing to save."

"It's still Taggart Transcontinental. I'll stand by it, Dagny. Wherever you go, you'll always be able to build a railroad. I couldn't. I don't even want to make a new start. Not any more. Not after what I've seen. You should. I can't. Let me do what I can."

"Eddie! Don't you want-" She stopped, knowing that it was useless. "All right, Eddie. If you wish."

...

Eddie Willers was not rejected by the strikers.

He rejected himself.

Eddie knew that it was possible to rebuild elsewhere yet chose NOT to follow Dagny.

THAT is the tragedy of the honorable average.

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I don't have aspirations to be the best.

I do however do my best and strive to be good at my job.

One’s best = One’s maximum effort. (http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary)

Maximum effort requires not only physical labor but mental activity. In order for me to do my best I must try to be the best. My maximum effort requires that I learn everything I can to become the best that I can. This is who I am and I’d imagine all objectivists are the same way. One’s best is what they make it and is directly related to the extent of their goals. Eddies goals were nowhere near Dagny’s, therefore his best effort went only as far as it did. He could not bring himself to start a new railroad, he could only hang on to what was left of the original. That seams very typical of an average man to me, working hard at what he had already learned to do, keeping the railroad on track, he did not want to reach for the stars.

BlackSabbath, I imagine you try to be the best at something in your life. That doesn’t mean you have to reach it, not everyone can be the best but everyone can try. The goal and the effort is what separate the Gaults from the Eddies.

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Maximum effort requires not only physical labor but mental activity.  In order for me to do my best I must try to be the best.

Be the best?

There's nothing I can do about how well someone else does.

If someone else has more talent and outdoes me then well done to him or her.

I don't compare myself to others and the only person I try to outdo is myself yesterday.

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I think that Eddie didn't go to the gulch because he chose not to go. He know about the place and he knew about Galt. When he realized that he was deeply in love with Dagny, he also realized that his love was hopeless. He chose not to continue his relationship when he insisted on going to California.

While Eddie was not a prime mover, he would have been welcomed in the gulch. Remember that Reardon took his secretary, Gwen, and his plant foreman with him. Dagny would have taken Eddie, as well.

I also disagree that Eddie was just an average Joe. He was more than that. His "sin", if you will, was that he never defined his beliefs. He knew that he wanted to do "what was right", but accepted much of the prevailing morality without question. Because of this, he was left unprotected when faced with the ravages of the society in which he lived.

I think he is one of the saddest characters in the book.

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