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The Meaning of Atlas Shrugged
Write an essay on ONE of the following topics:
In the world of Atlas Shrugged, material goods that many of the characters take for granted become increasingly difficult to obtain as the plot progresses. Identify several examples of such goods, and explain how the novel accounts for their disappearance. Describe the economic and the moral-philosophical forces at work in their disappearance. Are there significant parallels with the shortages our world has witnessed in the last few years? Explain any similarities and differences (using contemporary examples).
Throughout Atlas Shrugged, there are both literal and figurative references to motors and motive power. Describe three examples of this that occur in the novel, and explain their meaning in the context of the scenes they are taken from. How does this meaning relate to the wider philosophical themes of the novel?
Among the many advocates of the “morality of death” he targets in his radio speech, John Galt reserves special criticism for the “mystics” who declare that man’s duty is “to crawl through years of penance, atoning for the guilt of his existence to any stray collector of unintelligible debts.” Name and describe at least two of the doctrines about human nature that Galt says these mystics use to encourage this moral outlook. Then illustrate their impact by choosing a character from Atlas Shrugged who struggles with these doctrines. (If one struggles with both, you need only discuss one.) What types of behavior do the doctrines encourage? What are the consequences for the character(s) in question? How is this struggle resolved?
Essays must be written in English only, double-spaced. Spelling errors and/or written corrections (by anyone) found on the essay will count against the final grade and should be omitted before submission. Essays must be solely the work of the entrant.