Ayn Rand’s unflinching political confutation for socialism conveyed throughout her mighty work Atlas Shrugged is a passionate allegorical account relating to how one ought to exist only for the advantage of oneself. This concept is expressed through a selection of Rand’s primary characters, though none quite so clearly as Hank Rearden. “The general public excellent be damned, I will have no part of it!” In Rearden’s strong refutation of ‘public excellent’ at his trial, Rearden is dismissing the core ideology of socialism and stating himself an existentialist member of society.
At the novel’s start, Hank Rearden is a simple male trying to go far for himself in the metal industry so that he can support his household. He lives to content his unappeasable wife Lillian, a villain to the story’s existentialist styles, and discovers no joy in his interactions with her. We initially comprehend Lillian’s primary function as atrocious other half when Rearden presents her with the very first piece of his metal crafted into a bracelet for her to use. She dismisses his loving act, and this is the first circumstances where Rearden is seen as a lesser (41 ). Lillian’s main function in the book is to assist characterize Rearden’s conciliatory personality and show his preliminary failure to be egotistic. Selfishness, as viewed by Rand, is a favorable trait that causes the success in service and personal affairs. Rearden lastly acts upon self-centered desires when he falls in love with Dagny Taggart soon after his spouse’s discontent with his metal bracelet. The affair between Rearden and Dagny is selfish on both ends, but that is the reason why it makes them both so happy.
“I am happy that [Hank] has picked me to provide him pleasure which it was he who had been my choice. It was not– as it is for most of you– an act of casual extravagance and mutual contempt. It was the ultimate type of our admiration for each other, with full knowledge of the values by which we made our choice …” (318 ).
In the above quote articulated by Dagny when referencing his relations with Hank Rearden, she describes how being with each other was each of their own specific options. Rearden selected Dagny to satisfaction himself and vice versa; there were no outside forces pressuring them together besides the pure admiration for one another that Dagny recommendations. Through this, Rand is demonstrating that by ignoring the good of others and concentrating on the enjoyment of oneself, great things will emerge. Rearden does not comprehend this principle prior to his relationship with Dagny, however lastly has an egotistical epiphany at his trial where he contests the great of others and recommends existing for the good of himself.
Hank’s declaration, “The general public good be damned, I will have no part of it!” referrals the 2 coinciding themes of existentialism and egoism. The concept of existentialism, existing for oneself instead of for the higher good of others, is conveyed through numerous different outlets throughout Rand’s work. By supporting capitalism and shooting down communist principles, she expresses the significance of this style. Public excellent, as Rand sees it, aims to pursue the greater advantage of a community by drawing from others, while existentialism strives for the success of one’s self. This is crucial, as the looters take from those who are stronger. By boasting these words in such a public environment, the character experiences a shift where he goes from submission to the powerful figures that aim to manage his success to breaking out and declaring his lone wolf presence. As his trial commences, the judge concerns where Rearden’s absent defense is. Rearden replies, “I will not enact protecting myself, where no defense is possible, and I will not mimic the impression of handling a tribunal of justice” (442 ). With this declaration, he is refusing to conform to the expectations of the federal government and society, proving this point by standing on his own in court. Although he realizes he alone can not battle the power that the federal government will put in on him, he makes it extremely clear to the judge that he does not acknowledge nor think in any of the principles for which he is being tried for. The function of the publicity of this statement is to show his opposition to the concepts of socialism in a manner that can be heard by all. This is Rand’s method of interacting her philosophy through this growing character.
Rand likewise develops the philosophies of egoism and reason through Hank Rearden. Rand once mentioned that an “private ought to exist for his own sake, neither compromising himself to others nor compromising others to himself” (Duignan). This works together with the concepts of existentialism portrayed by Rearden as the unique progresses. Existentialism is the core idea of the valley a number of the characters find themselves in climatically. In order to remain in the valley, an individual should pledge an oath mentioning “I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never ever live for the sake of another guy, nor ask another man to live for mine” (670 ). This captures the main concept of Hank’s quote, merely rephrased.
To conclude, Rearden’s dismissal of public excellent brings the novel to a climax point; this is where Hank declares his realization that he is living for himself, and not to please anyone, consisting of the federal government and his dreadful wife Lillian. By Ayn Rand highlighting this outspoken epiphany, she is declaring her own beliefs motivating commercialism and preventing the idea that one needs to exist for the higher good of the community. After all of Rand’s terrible experiences with communism, she is showing that being an existentialist is the only way to true success and happiness.