Atlas Shrugged Chapter 6: The Non-Commercial

Ayn Rand is an odd lover: First she begins to seduce me in chapter 5, then she spits in my face for most of chapter 6, and then she bats her eyelashes coyly at me again.

Chapter summary: The Reardens have an anniversary party to which they have invited a rogues gallery of guests, including people they detest and people who detest each other. The predictable sparks fail to fly except for occasional and well-orchestrated skirmishes.

Francisco continues to demur through hints that people just don’t understand his motivations with regards to San Sebasti├ín. Hank thinks he successfully rips him a new one. Dagny trades bracelets with Lilian and fails in so doing to impress Hank that she’s the only one who really understands him. A bitty mentions that John Galt has gone off to Atlantis, Dagny suggests she’s off her rocker, Francisco concurs but agrees about Atlantis, and Dagny decides Francisco is also a little weird. And there’s some Randian strawman mockery about bleeding-heart liberals apparently wanting to hold down capitalist geniuses under the guise of “fair play” (second only in this regard to Kurt Vonnegutt’s “Harrison Bergeron”).

Also, someone has perverted Halley’s Fourth.

I didn’t care for this chapter. It felt like Rand was throwing the characters into a locked room for the sheer fun of torturing them; if it had been a Dickens novel, I’d think it was the chapter he’d thrown together because of a looming editorial deadline and a pressing need to write something. Perhaps Rand herself had had to muddle through an insufferable dinner party of her own, and decided to take her anguish out on her readers; if so, she demonstrates that dinner parties are even harder to read through than to attend.

I found the messages more than a bit muddled, and was left with the urge to take d’Aconia, and Rand, by the shoulders and shout, “Get to the point already!”

I hope the next chapter will find me in a better mood.

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