Wish List

There a bajillion books that I want to read or reread.  Many deal with the same themes or topics, and some are just classics.

Propaganda Books

Atlas Shrugged*

Brave New World*


Animal Farm

Fahrenheit 451*

Apocalyptic Books

The Road*

The Day of the Triffids

The Last Man


The Count of Monte Cristo*

Les Miserables*

All Quiet of the Western Front*



I’m sure there are more.  I will update this when I think of them.  What books are on your list?




The Abuse of Books

I hardly ever borrow books from friends.  And I hate nothing more than borrowing a book that looks unread.  Brand new. Pristine.  How can people read and enjoy a book without even creasing the binding?  Without scribbling in it?  Without dropping it in the bathtub?  Without chunking it at goats?  Without losing it?  And how can they expect me to read it without creasing the flawless binding?  Without getting a little dirt on it and bending a few pages?

I admit it.  I abuse my books.  How can I not?

I add page numbers if they are missing… And, underline with whatever is around.  Pen, pencil, crayon.  I used eyeliner once.  Very bad idea.

I draw pictures in the margins.

And, sometimes I draw on the words.  (Which causes problems when I go to reread or write a paper on it.)

A few years ago I bought a used Rick Bass book and found this airplane stamp on the front pages.  I just had to get a stamp of my own.

I settled on a red chandelier.  Every book I read has this stamped in it — usually on one of the back pages.

On the front and back pages, I write page numbers.  Which are useless unless I include a key word.  The numbers on the right page are from the first time I read The Crossing.  The ones on the left page are the second time.  I learned something in the few years between readings.  Always underline, always highlight, bend pages, write the page numbers and keywords in the back, do what I want with it.  It’s my book and I cannot hurt it.

I have a little puppy that likes books.  Here, I was reading and eating a candy bar when the doorbell rang.  I set my candy on the book and answered the door.  When I came back, Gypsy had eaten the candy and licked a hole in the page.

Gypsy Vicious also likes to rip covers off of books.  She has torn four books so far.  I was able to tape one of them back on.  The others were in tiny pieces on the floor.

Occasionally, I do write something useful in my books.  It doesn’t happen nearly often enough.  Usually I will just underline and trust that I know what it means.  And, then I don’t.  I usually only write extensive notes in a book if I’m writing a paper on it.


William Blake’s Poetry

Poems discussed in this entry:

Songs of Innocence: The Lamb, The Nurse’s Song, Holy Thursday, The Divine Image

Songs of Experience: The Tyger, London, Holy Thursday, The Human Abstract

The Nurse’s Song

(From Songs of Innocence)

“And the little one’s leaps and shouted and laugh’d”  This poem is about the innocence of children.  They play and laugh without realizing that it will all come to an end.  But, it doesn’t come to an end. It echoes through the generations.  Children will always play and laugh on the hillside, while a knowing nurse watches on.


“And blights and plagues the marriage hearse.” This is my favorite line from Blake’s poetry.  A prostitute gives birth to a baby in poverty.  The unity of marriage is destroyed by prostitution and venereal disease.  The marriage hearse combines desire, love ,a type of hope, passion, and innocence, with death, decay, destruction.  The image of the marriage hearse is horribly beautiful.

The Holy Thursdays

From Songs of Innocence: “Seated in companies they sit with radiance all their own.” The children are described as innocent, pure, radiant, and even “angels unaware.”  The poor children seem to have a light of their own, they are happy, positive, and radiant.

From Songs of Experience: “It is eternal winter here.”  This line shows the depressing mood of the poem.  The children in this poem have no sun within or without.  They are reduced to misery and surrounded by hardships.  The poem is dark and offers no hope to the children or the reader.

The Divine Image and The Human Abstract

“And these virtues delight/Return their thankfulness.”  The four virtues discussed in The Divine Image bring happiness.  The poem conveys the idea that when in distress, if prayed upon, the virtues will bring delight and thankfulness.  The end continues this message, by stating that those who have these virtues, also have God.

“There grows one in the human brain.”  This line from The Human Abstract refers to the tree that cruelty planted.  The tree is comprised of mystery, humility, and deceit.  The poem first shows that mercy, love, pity, and peace (the four virtues from The Divine Image) are passive and only exist through the hardships of others.  The four new things — cruelty, humility, mystery, and deceit — all reside in the human brain.

The Lamb and The Tyger

“Little lamb God bless thee.” This line from The Lamb shows the poem is naive and innocent.  It’s like a child’s poem.  It focuses on the good aspects of Christian faith, without mentioning the bad, the suffering, and the evil in the world.

“Did he who make the lamb make thee?” In The Tyger, the poet is in awe over the beauty and violence of the tyger and wonders who made it.  If creation reflects the creator, what does the tyger say about the creator?

Atlas Shrugged, Part 2, Chapter 3

White Blackmail.


Dagny and Hank discuss Francisco.  Neither can figure him out.  They think that they should hate and despise him, yet they like him and are drawn to him.

Rearden: “Yes… yes, like the Wyatt fire.  But, you know, I don’t think I care too much about that.  What’s one more disaster? Everything’s going anyway, it’s only a question of a little faster or a little slower, all that’s left for us ahead is to keep the ship afloat as long as we can and then go down with it.”

Dagny: “Is that his excuse for himself?  Is that what he’s made you feel?”

Rearden: “No.  Oh, no!  That’s the feeling I lose when I speak to him. The strange thing is what he does make me feel.”

Dagny: “What?”

Rearden: “Hope.”


Lillian catches Hank cheating.

During their conversation, Lillian says that she’s known he wanted a divorce since the first month of their marriage.  He responds by asking why she stayed.  She says, “It’s a question you have lost the  right to ask.” He agrees, and thinks that there is “only one conceivable reason, her love for him, could justify her answer.”

Hank still believes that it her love for him that keeps Lillian around.  Hank is still naive and believes Lillian loves and cares for him, and wants the best for him.  I think that Lillian sticks around for the status and power.  She gets to be the wife of the great Hank Rearden, and all their friends know how he comes home late and doesn’t treat her like a queen.  She gets to hold this over his head.  She holds power over Hank.

She confirms this when she says, “Do you suppose I will allow your romance with a floozie to deprive me of my home, my name, my social position?”

Cafeteria Man and the Destroyer

Eddie meets with the unnamed man in the cafeteria. He discusses Danagger and how Dagny fears the destroyer will soon reach him.  The stranger seems interested.  We still don’t know who this man is or what role he plays in the novel.

In the next section of the chapter, Danagger announces that he will retire, after a mysterious visit from an unknown man.  Are the two events connected?  Why else would Rand put them side by side in the chapter?  Is the mysterious man in the cafeteria some how connected to the destroyer?  Could he be the destroyer?

Dagny and Danagger are saying their goodbyes.  Dagny asks him if he will return.  He says, “No.  You’re going to join me.” What could he mean by this?  Will the destroyer come after Dagny?  If these men are leaving happily, willingly, is he really a destroyer?  What is his goal?

Hank’s Response

“Could I now reclaim a single hour spent listening to my brother Philip and give it to Ken Danagger? Who made it our duty to accept, as the only reward for our work, the gray torture of pretending love for those who rouased us to nothing but contempt?  We who were able to melt rock and metal for our purpose, why had we never sought that which we wanted from men?”

Hank regrets not befriending Danagger, a man he respected and loved. And, regrets giving what could have been Danagger’s time to his worthless brother, Philip.

“Closing his eyes, he permitted himself to experience for a moment the immense relief he would feel if he, too, were to walk off, abandoning everything.  Under the shock of his loss, he felt a thin thread of envy.  Why didn’t they come for me, too, whoever they are, and give me that irresistible reason which would make me go?”

Hank is slightly jealous.  He understands walking away.

To Shrug

Francisco comes to see Hank.

“Mr. Rearden,” said Francisco, “if you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling, but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down on his shoulders — what would you tell him to do?”

“I… I don’t know.  What…. could he d? What would you tell him?”

“To shrug.”

When the weight of the world is upon your shoulders, you shrug it off and move on.

Things to think about/discussion questions/journal entries

1. Both Dagny and Rearden think they should hate Francisco, but don’t.  Why do you think this is?  How do they feel about him?  How do you feel about Francisco?

2. Discuss what you think about the destroyer. Who is he?  What characters has he taken? Why do you think they leave willingly? What is he doing?  What characters could he be connected to?  Why did he have a cigarette with the golden dollar sign?

Cormac McCarthy

I love Cormac McCarthy.  This semester, I will be reading two of his books — The Crossing and Blood Meridian.  McCarthy is difficult to read.   He doesn’t use quotation marks, he doesn’t say who is saying what, he doesn’t use apostrophes and other punctuation, he loves mingling spanish in the english, sometime he uses flowery, lavish language, and sometimes he uses bare, empty language, and he doesn’t shy away from violence.

Everyone has trouble getting used to reading McCarthy.  Some people fall in love with his style, while others muddle through one book and swear to never read another.  I’ve put together a list of tips to help out the new reader, and I hope that you guys will comment and add your own tips.

Don’t start with Blood Meridian.  All the Pretty Horses is easier than most of McCarthy’s other books.  The Crossing is also fairly easy, although it does have more spanish.  I also think that No Country for Old Men would be a good starting point.  It’s the first one I read, and it helped that it followed the movie closely.  The Road is also an easier read than some, but I’ve been told that it doesn’t move fast enough.  Many of McCarthy’s books are not driven by action and may seem slow to develop.

Read and stop. When first starting, read the first 5 or 10 or 20 pages and put the book down.  Wait a few days or a week, and start it all over.  Reread what you’ve read and continue on.  Letting your brain see a sample of his style, and letting it settle, can help the process.

Add the missing pieces. Having trouble with the missing quotation marks?  Add them as you read.  Missing the he said, she said?  Write them in as you go.  There is nothing wrong with writing in the book, especially if it makes it easier to read… This is how I started reading McCarthy.  After doing this for about 10 pages, my brain was adding them on its own and I no longer physically added them to the book.

Stop whining and deal with it. Every time I hear someone complaining about McCarthy, it annoys me.  If you don’t like it, don’t read him.  He gets away with it because he is a genius.  If you can’t get past the missing punctuation to see this, then it’s your loss.

Keep reading. If you get confused, go back a few pages and reread. If you’re still confused, keep reading.  Don’t put the book down just because you’re a little lost.  If you’re frustrated, put it down but remember to pick it back up.  The only way to get used to McCarthy’s style is to read it and enjoy it.  It’s just like Shakespeare or Faulker — you have to get used to the writing and the style.

I hope that these tips can help you enjoy McCarthy’s genius.  If you have your own ideas or suggestions, please comment.

Oliver Twist. Book 1. Chapter 3-8

A Public Warning and Example

Oliver was kept in confinement, except for dining and public floggings “as a public warning and example.”  They are trying to make an example out of Oliver, to discourage the other boys.  If this is what happens when you ask for more, who would ask?  The same paragraph also lists the qualities the boys should have: “…in which they entreated to be made good, virtuous, contented, and obedient, and to be guarded from the sins and vices of Oliver Twist…”  I think that both contented and obedient speak volumes. Content means to be happy with what one has and to be wanting more.  While obedient means to be submissive to authority.  By using Oliver, they are able to show the boys that they must be content and obedient, or else be confined, sold, and threatened to be hung. By making an example out of Oliver, they hope to prevent further dissent.

Chimney Sweep

“That’s acause they damped the straw afore they lit it in the chimbley to make ’em come down again…that’s all smoke, and no blaze; vereas smoke ain’t o’ no use at all in makin’ a boy come down; it only sinds him to sleep, and that’s wot he likes.  Boys is wery obstinit, and wery lazy, gen’lm’n, and there’s nothink like a good hot blaze to make ’em come down vith a run, it’s humane too, gen’lm’n, acause, even if they’ve stuck in the chimbley, roastin’ their feet makes ’em struggle to hextricate theirselves.”

This quote helps show some of the abuse child chimney sweeps had to endure.  Luckily, Oliver isn’t forced to become a chimney sweep.  For more reading, check out both of Blake’s poems called The Chimney Sweep:  this one from Songs of Innocence and this one from Songs of Experience.

Just a Child

“Oliver roused himself, and made his best obeisance.  He had been wondering, with his eyes fixed on the magistrate’ powder, whether all boards were born with that white stuff on their heads, and were boards from thenceforth, on that account.”

I love this paragraph.  It shows how young and innocent Oliver is. He’s standing there, in front of the people who are deciding his fate, and all he can do is wonder about the white powder on their heads and if they were born with it.

Tension between the Church and government?

At the end of chapter 3, the magistrate tells Mr Bumble to hold his tongue. “Mr Bumble was stupified with astonishment.  A beadle ordered to hold his tongue! A moral revolution.”

And, at the beginning of chapter 4, Mr Sowerberry and Mr Bumble complain about the idiocy of juries.  Remember, I’ve never read this book before and I know very little about this time period, but it seems like there is tension between the church and the government.  Can anyone shed some more light on this?

Hope in death

(In chapter 5) When Oliver first gets to Mr Sowerberry’s and crawls in to bed, he wished that it “were his coffin, and that he could be laid in a calm and lasting sleep in the churchyard ground, with the tall grass waving gently above his head, and the sound of the old deep bell to soothe him in his sleep.”

(In chapter 8 ) On his way out of town, Oliver sees his old friend, Dick.  He tells Dick that he will see him again and he will be well and happy.  Dick replies, “I hope so, after I am dead, but not before… I dream so much of heaven, and angels, and kind faces that I never see when I’m awake…”

In both of these cases, the children see hope in death.  They know that they will be happy and free, but only after death has taken them.  This idea is not new.  It can be seen in William Blake’s The Chimney Sweeper from Songs of Innocence, linked above.  In the poem, the hope of happiness after death kept the boy warm and gave him comfort in life.

Oliver Twist, Book 1, Chapters 1 and 2

This is my first time reading anything by Dickens.  We are reading the first two chapters, going back to read poetry, and getting back to Oliver Twist at the beginning of September.


The setting of Oliver Twist is purposely left vague.  This allows the readers to fill in the blanks of location and time.  If Dickens stated the city and date, then it would be real and not just a concept, an idea.  It would be closed instead of open.  The vagueness allows the readers to easily imagine Oliver being born in our own time and town.

After all, doesn’t this describe our poor, “the humble, half-starved drudge — to be cuffed and buffeted through the world, despised by all, and pitied by none.”

Distrust of medicine? family? changing world?

“Now, if during this brief period Oliver had been surrounded by careful grandmothers, anxious aunts, experienced nurses, and doctors of profound wisdom, he would most inevitably and indubitably have been killed in no time.”

This quotes shows the loving (and sometimes smothering) family that Oliver doesn’t have, as well as the medical care other infants may receive.  But, it concludes that if Oliver had those two things, he would have been killed.  Is this a distrust in the family unit, in modern medicine, or simply in the changing world?

Child of a nobleman or a beggar

“Wrapped in the blanket which had hitherto formed his only covering, he might have been the child of a nobleman or a beggar; – it would have been hard for the haughtiest stranger to have fixed his station in society.  But now he was enveloped in the old calico robes, that had grown fully yellow in the same service; he was badged and ticketed, and fell into place at once – a parish child – the orphan of a workhouse – the humble, self-starved drudge – to be cuffed and buffeted through the world, despised by all, and pitied by none.”

The clothes labeled Oliver, taking away his individuality.  While wrapped in the blanket, he could have been anything.  But once the yellowed, worn robes and the badge and ticket were placed on him, he became a parish child.

Please, sir, I want some more.

Oliver asks for more food.  He is instantly confined.  One man thinks that Oliver will be hung.  A notice offers 5 pounds to anyone willing to take Oliver as an apprentice.  They are afraid that Oliver will influence the others.  They are afraid of anyone willing to dissent, to want more, to think, and to question.  The ones who want more food and will ask for it, will want more of everything.  As Frederick Douglas said, “If you give a n***** an inch, he will take an ell.”  If Oliver gets more, they all want more.  And more.

Oliver is punished for asking by being confined.  He may get hung or may become an apprentice.  Either way, the workhouse is washing their hands of him.  If he becomes an apprentice, he may get more in the end.


“What a noble illustration of the tender laws of this favoured country! they let the paupers go to sleep!”

“The relief was inseparable from the workhouse of the gruel; and that frightened people.”

Atlas Shrugged, Part 2, Chapter 2

The Aristocracy of Pull.

Numbered Days

“Your days are numbered, it had seemed to say — as if it were marking a progression toward something it knew, but she didn’t.”

The numbered days draws from chapter one, where Eddie tries to remember the phrase, and helps build suspense, pushing the characters and readers toward the end.


The cigarette Dagny got from Akston “was not made anywhere on earth.”  Where could the cigarette have come from and what could the gold dollar sign on it mean?

The Money Speech

An online version of the speech can be read here. This is one of the greatest speeches in the book.

“An honest man is one who knows that he can’t consume more than he has procured.”

“Those pieces of paper, which should have been gold, are a token of honor.”

“Money will not purchase happiness for the man who has no concept of what he wants: money will not give him a code of values, if he’s evaded the knowledge of what to value, and it will not provide him with a purpose, if he’s evaded the choice of what to seek…”

“But money demands of you the highest virtues, if you wish to make it or to keep it.  Men who have no courage, pride or self-esteem, men who have no moral sense of their right to their money and are not willing to defend it as they defend their life, men who apologize for being rich–will not be rich for long.”

“… Watch money.  Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue.  When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by  compulsion — when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing — when you see that money is flowing to those richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you — when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice — you may know that your society is doomed…”

From these quotes we learn that a good and honest man:

-doesn’t live beyond his means

-give value to money

-prefers the gold over paper money

-doesn’t expect money to buy him happiness, intelligence, or morals.

Discussion question/Journal entry

1. What else do we learn from the money speech?  What other qualities does an honest man have?  What qualities does a looter have?  What does Francisco say of money?

2.  Read the last quote above. If money is the barometer of a society’s virtue, what does America’s current economic crises (and the governments alleged solutions) say about us?

Atlas Shrugged, Part 2, Chapter 1

The Man Who Belonged on Earth

Why do you think you think?

The book was written by Dr. Ferris and published by the the State Science Institute.  Here are some of the quotes from the book:

“…That grey matter you’re so proud of is like a mirror in an amusement park which transmits to you nothing but distorted signals from a reality forever beyond your grasp…”

“The giants of the intellect, whom you admire so much, once taught you that the earth was flat and that the atom was the smallest particle of matter.  The entire history of science is a progression of exploded fallacies, not of achievements.”  To me, discovering the atom an achievement, along with the achievement of discovering the parts of the atom, the discovery that their is something smaller than the atom?   To Dr. Ferris, the discovery of something smaller simply meant that science was wrong.

“Do not expect consistency.  Everything is a contradiction of everything else.  Nothing exists but contradictions.”  Compare this with what Francisco and Akston believe.

“Don’t argue.  Accept.  Adjust yourself.  Obey.”

Wyatt’s Torch

“One well, on the crest of the hill, was still burning. Nobody had been able to extinguish it.  She had seen it from the streets: a spurt of fire twisting convulsively against the sky, as if trying to tear loose.  She had seen it at night, across the distance of a hundred clear, black miles, from the window of a train: a small violent flame, waving in the wind.  People called it Wyatt’s Torch.”

Discussion questions/Journal Entries

1. Compare and contrast Dr. Ferris’ view of contradictions with Francisco/Akston’s view.  Do they have ulterior motives in spreading these ideas?

2. Discuss the following quote: “Don’t argue.  Accept.  Adjust yourself.  Obey.”

3.  What do you think Wyatt’s Torch symbolizes?

Atlas Shrugged, Part 1, Chapter 10

Wyatt’s Torch.

He had to live

“He had to live, didn’t he?  He was no worse than anybody, only smarter.  Some get caught at it and some don’t — that’s the only difference…. That’s the only way anybody ever gets rich in this world”–  he glanced at the [Rearden’s] black car — “as you ought to know.” …. “What I can’t stand,” said Mayor Bascom, “is people who talk about principles.  No principle ever filled anybody’s milk bottle.  The only thing that counts in life is solid, material assets….”

Mayor Bascom (and many other people in the novel and today’s world) believe that principles do not matter, that all money is ill-gotten, that all rich men are dirty… This idea makes the everyday person more comfortable in their sins.  If the rich man down the street got their through evil means, then it’s okay to be evil.  Maybe one day you will be a rich man.


“Then no rightful cause was left, and the pain of anger was turning into the shameful pain of submission.  He had no right to condemn anyone — he thought — to denounce anything, to fight and die joyously, claiming the sanction of virtue.  The broken promises, the unconfessed desires, the betrayal, the deceit, the lies, the fraud — he was guilty of them all.  What form of corruption could he scorn? Degrees do not matter, he thought; one does not bargain about inches of evil…”

Since Hank has been seeing Dagny, he has felt ashamed.  Not only that, but he feels he can no longer look at Lillian’s faults.  Who is he to cast the first stone?  He can no longer claim virtue and it eats him alive.

The Banker

“The rewards I got were not of a kind that people of your class, Miss Taggart, would appreciate. The who used to sit in front of my desk, at the bank, did not sit as you do, Miss Taggart.  They were humble, uncertain, worn with care, afraid to speak.  My rewards were the tears of gratitude in their eyes, the trembling voices, the blessings, the woman who kissed my hand when I granted her a loan she had begged for in vain everywhere else.” Eugene Lawson

Earlier, Mayor Bascom said “See that woman, for instance? They used to be solid, respectable folks.  Her husband owned the dry-goods store.  He worked all his life to provide for her in her old age, and he did, too, by the time he died — only the money was in the Community National Bank.”

Lawson, ‘the banker with a heart,’ lent too much money and the bunk went bust.  When it did, the people lost everything they had.  Lawson brags about the people he helped.  What about the people he ruined?

Birthright and Entitlement

In the chapter 5 post, I discuss the d’Anconcia way — that you are not born one, but expected to become one.  This contrasts to Lee Hunsacker’s belief: “We were going to do just as well as they did. Better.  We were just as important.  Who the hell was Jed Starnes anyway? Nothing but a backwoods garage mechanic — did you know that that’s how he started? — without any background at all.  My family once belonged to the New York Four Hundred.  My grandfather was a member of the national legislature…. Nobody wanted the place, nobody would bid on it.  But there it was, this great factory, with all the equipment, all the machinery, all the things that had made millions for Jed Starnes.  That was the kind of setup I wanted, the kind of opportunity I was entitled to.”

Hunsacker believes that his family name entitles him to these things. And, that Starnes — a lowly mechanic — didn’t deserve his factory.  Hunsacker believes in the birthright, he shouldn’t have to work for anything, he shouldn’t have to earn it.  He’s entitled to it.  Somebody else, like Starnes, has the tenacity to build his life, while Hunsacker sits on his behind and claims entitlement.

Sad Irony

Hunsacker later says, “We had started right in manufacturing the particular type of motor that had been his [Starnes] biggest moneymaker for years.  And then some newcomer nobody ever heard of opened a two-bit factory down in Colorado, by the name of Nielson Motors, nad put out a new motor of the same class as the Starnes model, at half the price!  We couldn’t help that, could we?  It was all right for Jed Starnes, no destructive competitor happened to come up in his time, but what were we to do?  How could we fight this Nielson, when nobody had given us a motor to compete with his.”

The motor that could set the world on fire was sitting in the factory’s research department.  But nothing in life is to be given, it’s to be earned through blood, sweat, and tears.


Ivy Starnes summed up their idea for the factory: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need… Rewards were based on need, and the penalties of ability.”

More than hoped

On her quest for the maker of the motor, Dagny runs into Hugh Akston, the old philosopher and professor of Francisco, Danneskjold, and another unnamed student.  Dagny asks him who the third student was, and he says, “His name would mean nothing to you.  He is not famous.”

She then asks him if  he is “proud of the way these three have turned out.”  He replies, “More proud than I had ever hoped to be.”

Wyatt’s Torch

“Ellis Wyatt, stripped of the right of self-defense, left without voice, without weapons, and worse: made to be the tool of his own destruction, the supporter of his destroyers, the provider of their food and of their weapons — Ellis Wyatt being choked, with his own bright energy turned against him as the noose — Ellis Wyatt, who had wanted to tap an unlimited source of shale oil and who spoke of a second Renaissance…”

Dagny thinks Ellis is about to disappear and rushes to Colorado.

“In a break between mountains, lighting the sky, throwing a glow that swayed on the roofs and walls of the station, the hill of Wyatt Oil was a solid sheet of flame… Later, when they told her Ellis Wyatt had vanished, leaving nothing behind but a board he had nailed to a post of the foot of a hill, when she looked at his handwriting on the board, she felt as if she had almost known that these would be the words: ‘I am leaving it as I found it.  Take it.  It’s yours.'”

Dagny is horrified to see the flames… Ellis is the first man to make a statement before vanishing.  All the other people vanished silently.

Discussion Questions/Journal Entries

1.  Think about Mayor Bascom’s words.  What do they mean?  Can you think of any rich people who earned their money an honest way?  Can you think of any rich people who got their money by wrong-doing?

2.  Reread Eugene Lawson’s words and think about his philosophy.  He lends money to those who won’t be able to pay it back because they deserve it.  Is this philosophy seen today?  Could it be part of why the economy crashed?

3.  Akston states that he more proud of his three students than he’d ever hoped to be.  Look at what the two students believe and do and at what Akston believes.   How could he be proud of them?