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Considering her unvarying depictions of heroes and heroines as people adhering to unpopular views despite hostility and abuse, Ayn Rand must have been pleased at resembling them through the controversy she arouses by her novels. In spite of her claim to be an unswerving advocate of reason, her appeal is often violently emotional. She makes her readers long to identify themselves with her dynamic, creative, productive, intelligent, handsome, and ultimately victorious heroes (and thereby with the ideas associated with them). She also compels her readers to despise the cowardly, lazy, incompetent, vicious, ugly, and inevitably defeated spokesman for the ideas she abhors. Her two speculative novels, Anthem and Atlas Shrugged, stridently warn against shaping our future according to the ideas of Christianity, Marxism, liberalism, or any other viewpoint advocating self-sacrifice which, to her, means self-negation. In opposition to such ideals, they applaud man's ego as the source of all inventiveness, achievement, and happiness and capitalism as the system allowing the fullest expression of the ego. In spite of her stridency, Rand remains one of the most powerful—and thoughtful—defenders of conservative American values, portraying the businessman as the unacknowledged Atlas who carries the burden of civilization on his mighty shoulders.
Although Anthem and Atlas Shrugged are clearly intended as cautionary tracts expounding Rand's social and philosophical beliefs and fears, both p...