Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Orwell meets Atlas

While I’m currently writing about “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter”, I’m also doing my own personal reading on the side. One of the books in my pile right now is “Atlas Shrugged”. If you’ve never seen or heard of this book let me give you a brief description. My copy is an old copy from the library, probably purchased around the time the book came out making it circa 1957. It’s hardly been taken out since, though some consider it a classic, and it’s 1200 pages long. It’s a monster to read and I’m taking is slowly. The layout of the book seems to fluctuate between monologues and conversations about deep topics, concerning government and money, to the action and movement of the characters in the book. I was reading a conversation between two businessmen and they began talking about the role of government in society and the weaker of the two men said this astonishing quote,

“The only power any government has is to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t any criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for me to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kinds of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers - and then you cash in on the guilt”.

This quote just reminded me of the powerful social commentary that a book can offer and how poignant the points can be to modern day life. I just recently finished reading “1984” and “Animal Farm” and I can’t help but wonder if George Orwell wished he could have said it in exactly the same words. Just something to think about as we take in the value of whatever book we’re reading.

If you ever get a chance, take a look at “Atlas Shrugged” in the bookstore or library. It’s a literary giant but so far, it seems t o be worth reading, not only for its social commentary but also for its great depth of characters, plot and literary value. See you tomorrow for the post,

Happy Reading!

No comments:

Post a Comment