>Some folks still erroneously believe that sex is on the rise. What? We didn’t have sex scenes in great books before this? That’s just not true. The classics had sex scenes, and that includes Shakespeare and Atlas Shrugged which was published 54 years ago.
I will print some of the most intense drama anywhere, found in the Fifth Chapter of Atlas Shrugged written by Ayn Rand who was an American born in Russia. She is one of the best dramatic writers of all time in my opinion. Yes, I said of all time! Her drama is both beautiful and staggeringly full of conflict. You won’t find more beautiful metaphors and story line anywhere. I’m sorry she passed away a few years ago.I would liked to have had a chance to interview her.
Oh, I guess at my age I did have that chance, I just didn’t get involved in dramatic fiction until eleven years ago. All my life, however, I’ve loved to read the great ones and I did read Atlas Shrugged years ago but forgot the great story line pitting Capitalism against Progressivism, freedom versus tyranny. We see a lot of that today in Washington D.C.
Great Atlas Shrugged Statements
Near Bottom, Page 87, speaking to Reardon, the steel magnate: She had forgotten her brother and his National Alliance. She had forgotten every problem, person, and event behind her; they had always been clouded in her sight, to be hurried past, to be brushed aside, never final, never quite real. This was reality, she thought, this sense of clear outlines, of purpose, of lightness, of hope. This was the way that she had expected to live – she had wanted to spend no hour and take no action that would mean less than this.
She looked at him in the exact moment when he turned to look at her. They stood very close to each other, she saw, in his eyes, that he felt as she did. If joy is the aim and core of existence, she thought, and if that which has the power to give one joy is always guarded as one’s deepest secret, then they had seen each other naked in that moment.
He made a step back and said in a strange voice of dispassionate wonder, “We’re a couple of blackguards, aren’t we?”
“We haven’t any spiritual goals or qualities. All we’re after are material things. That’s all we care for.”
The following is the protagonist Dagny in New York speaking to her lover Francisco d’ Anconia (of d’Anconia Copper of Mexico)
One small incident remained in her mind as a shock, It did not fit him. She saw him standing at the window of his office, one evening, looking at the brown winter twilight of the city. He did not move for a long time. His face was hard and tight. It had the look of an emotion she had never believed possible to him: of bitter, helpless anger. He said, “There’s something wrong in the world. There’s always been. Something no one has ever named or explained.” He would not tell her what it was.
When she saw him again, no trace of that incident remained in his manner. It was spring and they stood together on the roof terrace of a restaurant, the light figure of her evening gown blowing in the wind against the tall figure of his black clothes. They looked at the city. In the dining room behind them, the sounds of the music were a concert etude by Richard Halley; Halley’s name was not known by many, but they had discovered it and they loved his music. Francisco said, “We don’t have to look for skyscrapers in the distance, do we? We’ve reached them.” She smiled and said, “I think we’re going past them…I’m almost afraid…we’re on a speeding elevator of some kind.
“Sure. Afraid of what? Let it speed. Why should there be a limit?”
He was twenty-three when his father died, and he went to Buenos Aires to take over the d’ Anconia estate, now his. She did not see him for three years.
He wrote to her at first, at random intervals. He wrote about d’ Anconia Copper, about world markets, about issues affecting Taggart Transcontinental. His letters were brief, written by hand, usually at night.
She was not unhappy in his absence. She, too, was taking her first steps toward control of a future kingdom. Among leaders of industry, her father’s friends, she had heard it said that they had better watch the young d’ Anconia heir; if that copper company had been great before, it would sweep the world with what his management promised to become.
She smiled without astonishment. There were moments when she felt a sudden, violent longing for him, but it was only impatience, not pain. She dismissed it, in the constant knowledge that they were both working for a future that would bring them everything they wanted, including each other. Then his letters stopped.
She was twenty-four on that day of spring when the telephone rang on her desk, in an office of the Taggart Building. “Dagney,” said a voice she recognized at once. “I’m at the Wayne-Falkland. Come to have dinner with me tonight. At seven.” He said it without greeting, as if they had parted the day before. Because it took her a moment to regain the art of breathing, at that moment she realized for the first time how much that voice meant to her. “All right…Francisco,” she answered.. They needed to say nothing else. She thought, replacing the receiver, that his return was natural and as she had always expected it to happen, except that she did not expect her sudden need to pronounce his name or the stab of happiness she felt while pronouncing it.
When she entered the hotel room, that evening, she stopped short. He stood in the middle of the room, looking at her—and she saw a smile that came slowly, involuntarily as if he had lost the ability to smile, and was astonished that he should regain it. He looked at her incredulously, not quite believing what she was or what she felt. His glance at her was like a plea, like the glance for help of a man who could never cry. At her entrance, he had started their old salute. He had started to say, “Hi—“ but he never finished it. Instead, after a moment, he said, “You’re beautiful, Dagney.” He said it as if it hurt him.
He shook his head, not to let her pronounce the words they had never said to each other—even though they knew that both had said and heard them in that moment.
He approached. He took her in his arms. He kissed her mouth and held her for a long time. When she looked up at his face, he was smiling down at her confidently, derisively. It was a smile that told her he was in control of himself, of her, of everything, and ordered her to forget what she had seen in that first moment. “Hi, Slug,” he said.
Feeling certain of nothing except that she must not ask questions, she smiled and said, “Hi, Frisco.”
She could have understood any change, but not the things she saw. There was no sparkle of life in his face, no hint of amusement; the face had become implacable. The plea of his first smile had not been a plea of weakness; he had acquired an air of determination that seemed merciless. He acted like a man who stood straight, under the weight of an unendurable burden. She saw what she could not have believed possible: that there were lines of bitterness in his face, and that
he looked tortured.
“Dagney don’t be astonished by anything I do,” he said, “or by anything I may do in the future.”
That was the only explanation he granted her, then proceeded to act as if there were nothing to explain.
She could feel no more than faint anxiety; it was impossible to feel fear for his fate or in his presence. (page 110) When he laughed, she thought they were back in the woods by the Hudson; he had not changed and never would.
Page 110, chapter 5
The Wayne Falkland was the most distinguished hotel left on any continent. Its style of indolent luxury, of velvet drapes, of sculptured panes and candlelight, seemed a deliberate contrast to its function: no one could afford it’s hospitality except men who came to New York on business, to settle transactions involving the world. She noticed that the manner of the waiters who served their dinner suggested a special deference to this particular guest of the hotel, and that Francisco did not notice it. He was indifferently at home. He had long since become accustomed to the fact that he was senior d’Anconia of d’Anconia Copper.
But she thought it strange that he did not speak about his work, she had thought that it was his only interest, the first thing that he would share with her. He did not mention it. Instead, he led her to talk about her job, her progress, and for what she felt of Taggart Transcontinental. She spoke of it as she had always spoken to him, in the knowledge that she was the only one who could understand her passionate devotion. He made no comment, but he listened intently.
A waiter turned on the radio for dinner music; they had paid no attention to it, but suddenly a crash of sound had jarred the room, almost as if a subterranean blast had struck the walls and made them tremble. The music was loud during these series of stanzas, but the shock came not from the music’s loudness, but from the quality of the sounds. It was the great Finnish Composer Jean Sibelius’ epic war cry, “Finlandia,” written in the late nineteen thirties when Russia invaded Finland.
(No, I added that because I love “Finlandia” so much. Frisco and Slug heard the music of a composer they called Halley, and to “Halley’s Fourth Concerto.”)
The man seated across from the beautiful blond lady from Longbeach Key was almost one-hundred percent Finnish and Swedish.
(again I couldn’t help but give you my take on this scene and the following are my words, not Rand’s but they are in the same vein.)
A shock of pride shook his body and ran up his spine every time he heard this classic anthem. To the woman, it sounded great but she was not so closely attached to it and did not understand its history.
They sat quietly, listening to the sound of rebellion—the anthem of triumph of the victims who would refuse to give up their country to the big Bear to the East.
Francisco listened, looking out at the city.
Without transition or warning he asked, his voice oddly unstressed, “Dagney, what would you say if I asked you to leave Taggart Transcontinental, and let it go to hell when your brother takes over?”
“What would I say if you asked me to consider the idea of committing suicide?” she answered angrily.
He remained silent.
“Why did you say that?” she snapped. I didn’t think you’d joke about it. It’s not like you.”
There was no touch of humor in his face. He answered quietly, gravely, “No. Of course. I shouldn’t.”
She brought herself to question him about his work. He answered the questions; he volunteered nothing. She repeated to him the comments of the industrialists about the brilliant prospects of d’Anconia Copper under his management. “That’s true,” he said, his voice lifeless.
It was long past midnight when she awakened in bed by his side. No sounds came from the city below.(obviously that was years ago in NY when it wasn’t known as the city that never sleeps). The stillness of the room made life seem suspended for a while. Relaxed in happiness and complete exhaustion, she turned lazily to glance at him. He lay on his back, half-propped by a pillow. She saw his profile against the foggy glow of the night sky. He was awake, his eyes were open. He held his mouth closed like a man lying in resignation in unbearable pain; bearing it; making no attempt to hide it.
She was too frightened to move. He felt her glance and turned to her. He shuddered suddenly, threw off the blanket, he looked at her naked body, then he fell forward and buried his face between her breasts. He held her shoulders, holding onto her convulsively. She heard the words, muffled, his mouth pressed to her skin:
“I can’t give it up, I can’t.”
“What?” she whispered.
“Why should you give it up?”
“Dagney, help me to remain. To refuse. Even though he’s right.”
She asked evenly, “Refuse what, Francisco?”
.She lay very still, conscious of nothing but a supreme need of caution. His head on her breast, her hand caressing his head gently, steadily, she lay looking up at the ceiling of the room, at the sculptured garlands faintly visible in the darkness, and she waited, numb with terror.
He moaned. “It’s right, but it’s so hard to do. Oh God, it’s so hard.”
After awhile he raised his head. He sat up. He had stopped trembling.
“What is it, Francisco?”
“I can’t tell you.” His voice was simple, open, without attempt to disguise suffering, but it was a voice that obeyed him now. “You’re not ready to hear it.”
“I want to help you.”
“You said, to help you refuse.”
“I can’t refuse.”
“Then let me share it with you.”
He shook his head.
He sat looking down at her, as if weighing a question. Then he shook his head again, in answer to himself.
“If I’m not sure I can stand it,” he said, and the strange new note in his voice was tenderness, “how could you?”
She said slowly, trying to keep herself from screaming, “Francisco, I have to know.”
“Will you forgive me? I know you’re frightened, and it’s cruel. Will you do this for me—will you let it go? Just let it go, and don’t ask me anything?”
“That’s all you can do for me. Will you?”
“Don’t be afraid for me. It was just this once. It won’t happen to me again. It will become much easier…later.”
“If I could—“
“No, go to sleep, dearest.”
It was the first time he had ever used that word.
In the morning he faced her openly, not avoiding her anxious glance.
(Top third of p.112)