Atlas Shrugged Rand’s Use of Vowel-sounds and Colors as Clues to Characterization

A fascinating repeating of vowel sounds in characters’ names takes place in Atlas Shrugged, which mirrors how Ayn Rand feels (and desires the reader to feel) about each person. Note the striking variety of brief “a” (/ ă/) sounds in her brave characters’ names: Dagny Taggart (two brief a’s), Hank Rearden (1 short a) Francisco D’Anconia (2 short a’s), Hugh Akston (1 short a), Ragnar Danneskjold (2 brief a’s), Richard Halley (one short a) and Ken Danagger (2 short a’s). There are some exceptions, obviously, such as James Taggart (who shares the short-a last name with his sister, though he is by no means an exceptional character), and Robert Stadler (one short a), who was as soon as a fantastic physicist and teacher of John, Francisco, and Ragnar at Patrick Henry University prior to he was seduced by the collectivist government. Considering the wealth of vowel sounds in proper names in English, it seems likely that this was an intentional option on Rand’s part. An associated sound, (the revc vowel noise, as in the a in the American pronunciation of “talk”), which is the sound in the very first syllable of the second word of the very best hotel in New York (where both Francisco and Hank stay ), the Wayne-Falkland, and the vowel noise in the surname of John Galt, appears in the names of individuals and locations that the author especially likes. The name Rand picked for herself, to replace her own Alissa Rosenbaum, includes a short a (Rand). By contrast, the names of some of Rand’s unabashedly wicked characters, such as Wesley Mouch, Mr. Thompson, and Chick Morrison have no short-a sounds. It is not a total secret to characterization, however the short-a noises, and their relatives, definitely happen regularly in characters Rand authorizes of instead of those she does not.

There are some certain hints to characters’ natures in the significances, or implied significances, of their names. Wesley Mouch (and Rand uses the homonym “mooch” numerous times in the unique to describe people who take free ride) has perhaps the most detailed name, specifically calling him a burglar and a sponger. The surname Taggart bears some resemblance to the word target, and because Dagny invests most of the novel pursuing and attaining her goals, this is apropos. Also, due to the fact that Dagny is a romantic interest of three of the main characters of the novel, the similarity to “target” takes on a different meaning. The silly nicknames offered to a few of the looter federal government officals, such as Cuffy Meigs and Chip Chalmers, are indicated to cast these males as outrageous figures. Orren Boyle, the head of the corrupt Associated Steel, has a name which suggests an unsightly skin problem. Cherryl Brooks, whose quick and unhappy life ends because she can not bear the state the world has actually pertained to, is undoubtedly, to Rand, a “dear” (cher in French methods “dear” or “darling”). Her innocence and stability could not survive her marriage to Jim, and his upside-down morality.

Color is an important hint to Rand’s mood in relation to characters. Dagny and Hank, particularly, are constantly drawn in cool colors, and Rand is especially enamored of the metallic. Dagny is usually imagined in a dark or grey suit, and Hank Rearden’s eyes are usually compared to metal or ice. Rearden Metal, that unparalelled product of the reasonable mind, is blue-green in color. John Galt, the objectivist superman, is explained thusly, “his body had the solidity, the gaunt, tensile strength, the clean precision of a foundry casting, he looked as if he were poured out of metal, but some dimmed, soft-lustered metal, like an aluminum-copper alloy, the color of his skin mixing with the chestnut-brown of his hair, the loose strands of the hair shading from brown to gold in the sun, and his eyes finishing the colors, as the one part of the casting left undimmed and roughly lustrous: his eyes were the deep, dark green of light glinting on metal” (700 ). It is not an accident that the objectivist superman, John Galt, is explained with the colors of cash: green and gold.

Warm colors often represent evil in Atlas Shrugged. The color yellow is only connected with wicked or weak characters. Lillian Rearden uses a yellow gown to her anniversary party (131) and Mr. Meigs, the Director of Marriage who is sent out to supervise Taggart Transcontinental, wears a “big yellow diamond that flashed when he moved his stubby fingers” (840 ). Yellow, a warm color and typically the color of cowardice, is not related to the “producers” (Dagny, Hank, Galt, et al.,) but with the looters. If a yellow color is pointed out in conjunction with Rand’s excellent characters, it is invariably referred to as “gold”, which would suggest intrinsic value. Similarly, red and pink seem to signify unrestrained decadence to Rand. Officials of the looter federal government are frequently referred to as “pink”, and when Lillian comes to Jim Taggart’s house for a tryst she wears a “wine-colored supper dress” (893 ).

Rand’s importance in vowel sounds is an unusual gadget for character identifying, however it is a reliable one in a novel consisting of so many characters. The length and scope of a novel which tries to define numerous people in an imaginary society requires some sort of clue for monitoring characters. Color importance, by contrast, is typically utilized gadget, and offers fast hints to the reader of a character’s function. Rand’s usage of it is generally simple and quickly determined, giving the reader a clear distinction in between the right and wrong characters.

This div height required for enabling the sticky sidebar