October 04, 2004


A few months ago, a friend of mine was looking at my bookshelf. She commented on The Fountainhead there, saying that it was the worst book she'd ever read. I was puzzled, because I had remembered it being a very good book, but I had read it in high school, so I thought perhaps I would think differently eight years later. I read it again in Italy, and I realized that it was just as good as I had remembered it being.

I love Howard Roark.

I look at him a little differently now than I did in high school, but I love him for all the same reasons. I love him because he's everything I'm not. He's confident and self-assured and he doesn't get driven nuts by people who don't live by his values. I get driven nuts. A lot. But after reading the book again, I think I will be better able to work on letting go of some of those feelings and learning to be more self-assured.

I've always been sort of "evangelical" about my values. I think they're the right ones, and I want other people to think so too. I've never been good at the live-and-let-live when it comes to values, and I spend way too much time worrying about how to present the issues to people who disagree with me so I can "convert" them. I need to give that up, to let go of the idea that I can change people. I need to be more like Oriol, our American in Spain: "I just don't care about the criticism I receive every day, because I know the cause I defend is right." I'm learning from Roark. I'm learning from Oriol. And I recently learned from General Hans Oster.

I was introduced to this brave man when we went to the concentration camp. I'm sure there were more like him, but I had never read a story like General Hans Oster's. As I stood on the site where he was executed, I thought about the bravery it would have taken to stand up against Hitler. I have trouble standing up to negative commenters.

There are people out there whose fortitude constantly amazes me. I can only try to honor them by working every day at being stronger. Since reading The Fountainhead again, I think I'm on the right path, but every day brings a new lesson to test that strength.

Posted by: Sarah at 03:55 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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1 Memorable Quotes from the film version of The Fountainhead Ellsworth Toohey : We're alone. Why don't you tell me what you think of me. Howard Roark : But I don't think of you.

Posted by: Tanker Schreiber at October 04, 2004 04:44 PM (Ojb6u)

2 I found 'We, the Living' to be the best of her books - but you have to be in a strong frame of mind to read it. It's about Russia and Communism - but more than that, it's about freedom, and what it's worth.

Posted by: Glenmore at October 04, 2004 11:04 PM (OSLhs)

3 As a writer I have problems reading Ayn Rand because she isn't a very good writer, technically. Her passion drives her work, but she does these huge monologues that I find really didactic. I will say it's a good skill to aquire to not let people get to you. You have to develop this zen understanding that what other people say and do is about them, not you. When people get angry at you or call you names, as some trolls on this site might do, it's just a reflection of their immaturity and or lack of a centered nature. And you can lead a horse to water...people coem to wisdom on their own. You you can do is try to help them see it.

Posted by: James Hudnall at October 05, 2004 12:28 AM (FV8Tp)

4 Re-read The Fountainhead, We The Living, and Atlas Shrugged every few years---it will strengthen your will and remind you of the important things.

Posted by: david at October 05, 2004 12:49 AM (1+76a)

5 Thank you for introducing me to General Oster. What an incredible gift he was. We'll never know how many were saved because he chose to take a stand and risk everything to fight the evil of his time.

Posted by: Lyana at October 05, 2004 04:05 PM (MLjhW)

6 It's too bad that Oster isn't as well known as Count Stauffenberg...he deserves enormous credit for his early recognition of the evil of Naziism. Sarah, if you haven't already seen it you might be interested in the German film "The White Rose" (German with English subtitles). It's about Hans and Sophie Scholl and the other students in their resistance group.

Posted by: David Foster at October 05, 2004 09:06 PM (XUtCY)

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