Headline Aug 23, 2015 / ''' IDEAL '''

''' IDEAL '''

IN THE END - Ayn Rand's hero , like her most famous protagonists to come, is condemned to judgement by:

''Fat, shabbily dressed,'' homely,insignificant, snickering,  '''boot licking''' onlookers and jurors, members of   '' the little street''  and of  ''human herds''....who have but one aim : to ruin all individuals and individuality.

These squalid American types based in part on Rand's reading of Nietzsche and Sinclair Lewis and in large part on a Russian-Jewish horror of social and political majorities of any kind, filled her novels and essays until her death.

AYN RAND  -in her notebooks makes a hero of both Hickman and the fictional Renahan, who murders a church pastor instead of a child and extols the killers' beautiful souls-

Which rise and set without a trace of  ''social instinct  or herd feeling'. Of Hickman she writes, ''A strong man can eventually trample society under his feet...That boy was not strong enough.'' Meanwhile, Renahan ''does not understand,'' she writes quite rapturously-

' Because he has no organ for understanding, the necessity, meaning, or importance of other people'

THE STORY OPENS after the death of a bankrupted tycoon, found with a fatal gunshot  wound on the floor of his mansion in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Kay Gonda, a tall, thin impossibly beautiful, universally revered screen idol, is believed to have shot him; after dinning alone with him, she has fled into the night.

Where is she? If innocent why has she disappeared? The police search, but it is the novel's lucky readers who find her. She is on hallowed pilgrimage to test fans who have written to declare that she is their ideal and to swear that they would gladly die for her.

She needs just one honest fan to shore her up; for three days, she drops into shacks, garrets and bungalows, asking avowed admirers for shelter and protection.

The odyssey affords Rand an opportunity to censure some of the least favourite recurring characters: a henpecked husband, a cowardly chicken farmer, a false hearted artist, an unctuous preacher, a despairing male socialite and misfit drifter named Johnnie Dawes-

Who is the story's hero and precursor to the  The FountainHead's Howard Roark. All but Johnnie conspire with the authorities to betray their beloved Gonda for money, religion, dark sexual impulses or just the untroubled resumption of their daily lives.

Johnnie, who  ''sees too much of what is not,'' longs for more: to live as if in temple, looking up at something much resembling Kay Gonda. Without giving away too much more of what happens here, suffice to say that Rand goes on to demonstrate the aptness of one of her favourite Nietzschean maxims:

''That noble soul has reverence for itself'''.

During the first wave of midcentury anticommunist fervor, she adapted  Ideal into its familiar iteration as a play. ''That version replaces the novel's hypocritical preacher with a hypocritical communist labor organizer-

Who proves equally willing to betray his creed for gain. It's less fun to read than the novel, if possible because dialogue was not Rand's strong suit.  

What was? Unfamiliar ideas embedded in complicated, rollicking plots that hinge on the gradual unfolding of those ideas in her characters' fates  That was Rand's gift, and it is nowhere evident in  Ideal.   

What is evident is the ''inflexibly self-righteous stance''. But one just cannot help appreciating certain things about her : her willingness to persevere as an outsider; her hardwork; her ferocious drive to formulate-

And articulate what  -like them or not-  were ideas, not dictums or even policy papers. Ideal would one day be an acclaimed  Masterpiece.

Yes, Ayn Rand's deadly, unpublished early novel illuminates  -and unsettles.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all on !WOW!   -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

''' !WOW! Picks ''' 

Good Night and God bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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