Atlas Shrugged Chapter 24: Anti-Life

In this chapter, Rand experiments with Shakespearean-style drama. It is engaging until it goes overboard. This is what editors are supposed to be for, but I’m usually skeptical that 1100 page books see much editing.

Chapter summary: Jim ditches a party and goes home, where he and Cherryl (his wife) have a fight. There’s a protracted flashback from Cherryl’s perspective about the evolution of her relationship with Jim. Back in the now, she storms out and visits Dagny, where she apologizes and pours out her soul. Meanwhile, Lillian (Rearden) visits Jim, they talk about her impending divorce, and they have sex. Cherryl returns, hides until Lillian leaves, then confronts Jim. he turns violent, she leaves again, wanders around the city for a while, and then (apparently) kills herself by jumping in the river.

My snarkiness in the preamble is because Rand spent much of the chapter delving into what may well wind up being my favorite character, only to (apparently) kill her off. Before this chapter, Cherryl has existed somewhat on the fringes, certainly not enough for me to make note of her first name. Now I find myself wishing that Rand had written a book about Cherryl instead of about Dagny, except for the jumping in the river part.

Ah well. Back to the drudgery of the pampered pompous heirs (John Galt notwithstanding) whining about how oppressed they are in the next chapter, no doubt. Maybe Dagny will at least sniffle a bit at Cherryl’s loss.

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