For Brown College
I’ve been moved by many phrases in literature. I’ve been moved by “every part illuminated” in addition to issues “extraordinarily loud and extremely shut.” I’ve been known as to a “nice rucksack revolution” by the identical man who informed me “love is a duel,” one thing I’ve by no means stopped believing. As soon as, a younger girl named Sylvia whispered to me, “The world is however a nasty dream,” so I puzzled for days how you can wake from it. Simply as Sylvia and Kerouac and Jonathan Safran Foer, Ayn Rand as soon as moved me as effectively.
Once I first learn Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, I ran the title John Galt again and again in my thoughts. You may say I savored it with a wine connoisseur’s palate, feeling out every nook of the title and making an attempt to think about how Ayn Rand conceived of the person behind it. I envisioned her sitting with a pocket book and the phrases “John Galt” written on an in any other case clean web page.
She will need to have stared on the title, questioning the place it got here from and asking herself, “Who’s John Galt?” And so, with that first line, Atlas Shrugged was born – all 1,084 pages of it.
I used to be just a few hundred pages in when my airplane started its descent to Charles de Gaulle Airport. As I watched the French panorama rise to greet me, the lady subsequent to me leaned over and whispered, “Who’s John Galt?” Presently, I had solely 300 pages of not understanding the reply to supply her. Not solely did she converse to me in a wealthy French accent, however she possessed the key that might hold me stressed for one more 700 pages.
It took just a few days to settle into Paris. It took solely two weeks to search out John Galt. I learn voraciously. The Metro traveled from the Cluny to the Louvre and I’d learn for these treasured seven minutes. I learn on the fountains close to the Pompidou Centre, the place I imagine part of my soul continues to be hidden behind an summary portray … however that may be a story for one more time. I sat in Rodin’s Backyard and tried to seem like an exquisite mental, which labored till I leaned in opposition to my bag and ruptured my bottle of orange juice. I shouted to the streets outdoors and under my lodge room, “Who’s John Galt?” however I used to be misplaced in translation and the noise of my metropolis. An aged Italian man throughout the slender avenue from my room yelled again, “Buon giorno!” and I puzzled if I had been so misplaced in translation in any case as I known as again, “Bonjour!” One may say that John Galt was my Paris tour information.
Lastly, whereas sitting within the Luxembourg Gardens, I discovered John Galt. He was tall and gaunt in my head. Maybe enticing could be an inappropriate phrase however he definitely may by no means be missed – very like the Montparnasse Tower that considerably blights the view of the Gardens. I made a decision that John Galt was in each face I had seen in Paris. In France. In all my life. If John Galt represents the motor of the world, then traces of him may be present in each individual I’ve ever encountered as a result of they’re all a part of the schematics that Rand beloved so dearly.
Greater than that, with John Galt as my information, I had spent two weeks inhaling man’s achievement in artwork, structure, and chocolate banana crepes. I spent a full 20 minutes admiring the best way man had taken metal and rivets and customary them to be as elegant as lace. Have you ever seen that concerning the Eiffel Tower? You may by no means inform from footage, simply as you possibly can by no means fathom the magnitude of the Arc de Triomphe till you’ve gotten stood beneath it and gazed up.
I took John Galt to see the Foucault Pendulum and silently congratulated man on discovering the movement of the Earth’s rudder. It was in these moments, within the moments of appreciation for man and man’s achievement, that I discovered the reply to Ayn Rand’s everlasting query: “For neither do males stay nor die in useless” ( H. G. Wells).
Perhaps it was the cafe tradition, the numerous museums or parks or sidewalk painters that made me admire the singularity of man and his achievements. Or, maybe, it was John Galt clutched in my hand whereas floating down the Seine towards a glowing tower of swish metal. Actually, 1,084 pages later, metal rivets and swinging pendulums appeared equal in majesty to marble statues and canvas portraits. Not solely have I now discovered John Galt, I’ve additionally acquired a Randian appreciation for all issues that man has been and all issues that man has but to change into.