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The Parasites of Atlas Shrugged

The Parasites of Atlas Shrugged

In this world, and in the world of Ayn Rand’s imagination, there are two kinds of people: those who live to create, and those who wish to live as parasites feeding off the benefits of those creations. In Atlas Shrugged, she explores what might happen when the creators of the world stop creating; the parasites are left to try to live on their own. The novels that Miss Rand writes always reflect this sort of thing. She writes of the battle between the two types of people as some write of the battles between good and evil. In reality, each side of the battle can be equated in such terms. These writings provide a detailed analysis of the two forces, and leave the reader with a profound sense of vitality and inspiration.

The group of parasites, or as the novel labels them, “looters,” live futile lives. The looters are those who prefer not to think, not to act, not to truly exist if at all possible. They attend trivial social gatherings and follow, like a mindless herd, the latest fashion trends. In Atlas Shrugged, the primary social concern among these second-handers is that of equality in capitalism. They cannot provide, so they attack those that can. They pretend to act as champions for the underdog in an economy that seems to be falling apart. They believe that anyone who works solely for the sake of success is evil, and must be stopped. Those looters, who ride on the backs of such people, completely believe that they are owed a life because they exist. They feel they should be loved because they are alive, not for any accomplishment or display of worth on their part. To these people, the existence of anything innovative, strong, or fearless is a slap in the face, so they adjus…

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…She writes of the type of person that one can only hope exists in this world still. The message of her writing and philosophy is contained in a single phrase from the novel: “I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine,” (731). This is an inspiration, awakening an inner voice and drive that impels each person to do their absolute best. It implores the soul of the reader to awaken, to become the ideal of the human spirit, and to rise until it can rise no higher. It is a call to anyone with reason, anyone with the strength to be an Atlas, and it is reminding him or her of their duty to live up to the individual potential. For as long as there are those who would hear the message, there will still be hope for mankind.

Works Cited:

Rand, Ayn. Atlas Shrugged. New York: Signet, 1957.

Essay on the Oppression of Ophelia in Hamlet

Male Oppression of Ophelia in Hamlet

In The Tragedy of Hamlet, Shakespeare developed the story of prince Hamlet, and the murder of his father by the king’s brother, Claudius. Hamlet reacted to this event with an internal battle that harmed everyone around him. Ophelia was the character most greatly impacted by Hamlet’s feigned and real madness – she first lost her father, her sanity, and then her life. Ophelia, obedient, weak-willed, and no feminist role model, deserves the most pity of any character in the play.

As the play opened, Hamlet and Ophelia appeared as lovers experiencing a time of turbulence. Hamlet had just returned home from his schooling in Saxony to find that his mother had quickly remarried her dead husband’s brother, and this gravely upset him. Hamlet was sincerely devoted to the idea of bloodline loyalty and sought revenge upon learning that Claudius had killed his father. Ophelia, though it seems her relationship with Hamlet is in either the developmental stage or the finalizing stage, became the prime choice as a lure for Hamlet. Laertes inadvertently opened Ophelia up to this role when he spoke with Ophelia about Hamlet before leaving for France. He allowed Polonius to find out about Hamlet’s courtship of Ophelia, which led to Polonius’ misguided attempts at taking care of Ophelia and obeying the king’s command to find the root of Hamlet’s problems. Ophelia, placed in the middle against her wishes, obeyed her father and brother’s commands with little disagreement. The only time she argued was when Laertes advised her against making decisions incompatible with the expectations of Elizabethan women. Ophelia tells him, in her boldest lines of the play:

“But, my good brother, …

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…She had lost her father and her lover while her brother was away for school, and she was no longer useful as a puppet in a greater scheme. Ophelia was displaced, an Elizabethan woman without the men on whom she had been taught to depend. Therein lies the problem – she lacked independence so much that she could not continue living without Polonius, Laertes, and Hamlet. Ophelia’s aloneness led to her insanity and death. The form of her death was the only fitting end for her – she drowned in a nearby river, falling beneath the gentle waters. She finally found peace in her mad world. That is how Ophelia is so useful as a classic feminist study – she evokes imagery of the fragile beauty women are expected to become, but shows what happens to women when they submit as such.

Works Cited:

Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Ed. David Bevington. New York: Longman, 1997.

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