Saturday, January 01, 2011

The rotten oak tree from Atlas Shrugged

At the start of 2011 I offer these two short passages, both from the very first chapter of Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand to provide thought for the New Year which I trust will be happy and secure for all my readers!

   The great oak tree had stood on a hill over the Hudson, in a lonely spot of the Taggert estate. Eddie Willers, aged seven, liked to come and look at that tree. It had stood there for hundreds of years, and he thought it would always stand there. Its roots clutched the hill like a fist with fingers stuck into the soil, and he thought if a giant were to seize it by the top, he would not be able to uproot it, but would swing the hill and the whole of the earth with it, like a ball at the end of a string. He felt safe in the oak tree's presence; it was a thing that nothing could change or threaten; it was his greatest symbol of strength.

   One night, lightning struck the oak tree. Eddie saw it the next morning. It lay broken in half, and he looked into its trunk as into the mouth of a black tunnel. The trunk was only an empty shell; its heart had rotted away long ago; there was nothing inside - just a thin gray dust that was being dispersed by the whim of the faintest wind. The living power had gone, and the shape of it left had not been able to stand without it.

***

  Eddie Willers smiled. He had said " Whatever is right," twenty-two years ago. He had kept that statement unchallenged ever since; the other questions had faded in his mind; he had been too busy to ask them. But he still thought it self-evident that one had to do what was right; he had never learned how people could want to do otherwise; he had learned only that they did. It still seemed simple and incomprehensible to him: simple that things should be right, and incomprehensible that they weren't.

Who is John Galt?

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2 Comments:

Blogger Maggie said...

Very good quotes, although I preferred the first one....

11:55 AM  
Blogger BJ said...

Lovely quotes.

I've never read the book; I will do now.

I am sick at what Britain has become under this monster known as the EU.

Thank you for your efforts and have a happy new year.

12:48 PM  

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