Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Atlas Shrugged: a Closer Look

Some things, when you magnify them, just get smaller.

"Who is John Galt?"
A fine question, and beautifully worded too; our research reveals that the first draft named him "John Cult," but this was ixnayed as excessive by AR's advisory committee, consisting of the young (and breathtakingly virile) Alan Greenspan, a promising tenor saxophonist who gave up a career in music to shatter an otherwise healthy economy with simplistic and inflexible notions that will be served up on the pages to follow.

The light was ebbing
Got it: fall of civilization - but let's give it a chance; maybe the whole dimestore symbolism thing won't go too far

and Eddie Willers could not distinguish the bum's face.
Well of course not: he's a bum, just like all the others. ("Make out" would have been so much more powerful than "distinguish," now wouldn't it?)

The bum had said it simply, without expression.
Simply, of course. This bum is humanity, degree zero.

But from the sunset
oy vey here we go

far at the end of the street, yellow glints caught his eyes
The setting sun is red actually, but we get it: the color of decay and rot. Still, far better would be "his eyes glinted yellow" (and besides, "caught his eyes"? Fuzzy English; What she means is "reflected/gleamed/glinted in his eyes"),

and the eyes looked straight at Eddie Willers, mocking and still-as if the question had been addressed to the causeless
oh surely not "causeless" - try "the mysterious" or "unexplained"
uneasiness within him.

The bum ugh-again viss ze bum? leaned against the side of awkward! - delete "the side of" the doorway; a wedge of broken glass okay, we get the symbolism behind him reflected the metal yellow of the sky.
Yellow, yellow, brown, brown. The chromatic gamut from A to B. Anyone else need an aspirin yet?

"Why did you say that?" asked Eddie Willers, his voice tense. Well you'd be tense too if you had to live in prose like this all day.

"Why does it bother you?" he asked.
"It doesn't," snapped Eddie Willers.

Now this is some scintillating dialogue!