Atlas Shrugged

A Declaration of Existentialism 12th Grade

Ayn Rand’s unflinching political confutation for socialism conveyed throughout her mighty work Atlas Shrugged is a passionate allegorical account regarding how one should exist only for the benefit of oneself. This idea is expressed through an assortment of Rand’s main characters, though none quite so explicitly as Hank Rearden. “The public good be damned, I will have no part of it!” In Rearden’s bold refutation of ‘public good’ at his trial, Rearden is dismissing the core ideology of socialism and declaring himself an existentialist member of society.

At the novel’s start, Hank Rearden is a simple man trying to make a name for himself in the metal industry so that he can support his family. He lives to content his unappeasable wife Lillian, an antagonist to the story’s existentialist themes, and finds no happiness in his interactions with her. We first understand Lillian’s main role as villainous wife when Rearden gifts her with the first piece of his metal crafted into a bracelet for her to wear. She dismisses his loving act, and this is the first instance where Rearden is seen as a lesser (41). Lillian’s main purpose in the novel is to help characterize Rearden’s conciliatory persona and demonstrate his initial inability to...

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