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Sunday, December 11, 2011

I Just Figured Out Eddie Willers

If this were done in DC this would be a major policy briefing requiring all news stations to cut away to me for a few minutes.  I've spent the past 30 years trying to figure out Eddie Willers and his place in the whole pantheon of Atlas Shrugged characters, but in my last blog posting I think I finally "get" Eddie and his place.

Most folks try to convince me that Eddie represents the common man, the guy who works hard, gets to just below his Peter Principle and has a life successful by his standards.  Uh, no.  The very end of the book tells me that's not true.  It also tells me that Ayn Rand didn't understand Eddie as well as most of us suspect she had to have.

In my last blog post I wrote about getting off the Ballot Cattle Plantation.  I said:

If your friends stay on the plantation, that's on them, not on you, for not dragging them with you.
And this is where I got my split second of clarity and actually managed to process and fully understand and appreciate it.  Eddie Willers is your friend that is there with you, slogging your way off the Plantation.  Instead of making fun of you or threatening you because you want to leave, find your way to intellectual freedom, he's helping you find the Underground Railroad.

I think this is why I never could stand the way Rand left Eddie at the end of Atlas Shrugged.  He deserved a much better end than she gave him.

This revelation may come as a big fat DUH! to many people.  Yet, the few people I have discussed the book with, or to be honest, were willing to discuss the book with me, none really cared about the Eddie Willers character.  He was such a huge person in Dagny's life so having him written off at the end as just a "Meh!" was confusing.  To me, it was worse than what she did with Sheryl Taggart.

So, news bulletin over. I finally get it.


M.G. said...

I've always disliked the way Eddie was left behind. He had a great deal to offer others: his desire and ability to get things done. So what if he wasn't a visionary like Galt or Dagny or Francisco? He didn't just sit around and scream "I don't know what to do!" He asked questions, provoked responses, and enabled others to do more. He was a helper, and no matter how successful you are, you need helpers. I see Eddie as being similar Gwen Ives, Rearden's secretary. I think the two of them both should have gone to Galt's Gulch, and been wholeheartedly applauded for everything they did to facilitate their bosses' vision.

Severine said...

IIRC Gwen did head out to the Gulch with Rearden's plant foreman. Dang, now I will have to go back and read that passage again.

I have to say I believe I'm right because I have brought it up before, Hank took Gwen, and Eddie was John's friend during the time he worked for TT... so why leave him to the bands of inhuman beasts living to steal other people's stuff?

GAH! There goes my blood pressure again.

M.G. said...

Hrmm... I don't recall that part, but I will look and see if I can find it.