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    Posted by sdesapio 6 years, 7 months ago
    SPOILER ALERT

    Cherryl was young and, based on what she was reading in the papers, unknowingly attributed all of the things she loved about Dagny to Jim. She thought Jim was the hero of TT.

    To answer your question specifically, Jim was always jealous of Dagny and loved having someone see him as the hero for once. He also saw in Cherryl an opportunity to further solidify his "man of the people" narrative (e.g. Taggart marries shop girl) and he took it - as if to say, "See!? I'm a humanitarian. I'm a good person. I don't care about money! I care about people!"

    Their whole relationship was one of Jim lying and concealing the truth all while attempting ever so subtly to sway her thinking...

    “You bet I’ve worked hard. My work is bigger than any job you can hope to imagine. It’s above anything that grubbing mechanics, like Rearden and my sister, are doing. Whatever they do, I can undo it. Let them build a track—I can come and break it, just like that!” He snapped his fingers. “Just like breaking a spine!”

    Cherryl was always taken aback by Jim's irrational outlook and could never reconcile who she thought Jim was with reality. And, she didn't realize the truth until it was too late.

    Cherryl had the makings of a hero. Had Jim not robbed her of her potential, she inevitably would have made her way to the Gulch. She and Quentin would have been perfect for each other.

    EDIT: Spelling
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    • Posted by $ Technocracy 6 years, 7 months ago
      Great analysis Scott.

      I would also add that neither one of them could have articulated their reasons.
      In Cheryl's case she was projecting on Jim so what she would say does not directly apply to him.
      In Jim's case his insecurity and ego would prevent him from seeing his real reasons, and therefore not be able to articulate them.
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    • Posted by ycandrea 6 years, 6 months ago
      The first time I read AS I was very young so I identified with Cheryl so much! You nailed it Scott. Cheryl was young, naïve, with a heroic soul. She thought she married a hero and her disillusionment when she realized her mistake was too much for her to handle. I cried when she killed herself. The death of innocence.
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    • Posted by CircuitGuy 6 years, 7 months ago
      I found Jim's interaction with Cherryl to be the most disgusting look at a looter, tied with the account of the woman at the motor plan who self-righteously made people beg her for their own money.

      Jim sickly wanted Cherryl to feel a little out of place, as if she didn't belong with his better class of people and she was there only by his wonderful virtue of his overlooking the fact she was beneath him. He was an evil sick puppy
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      • Posted by gaiagal 6 years, 6 months ago
        Yes, a good (if you can call it that) example of an emotional abuser. You don't necessarily need fists to attempt to control a spouse and boost ones ego while covering up insecurity.

        If people were taught to recognize cognitive dissonance and how to deal with it (usually not make the easiest, obvious choice,) there would be fewer problems for the individual...and, by extension, society.

        No reason it couldn't start in kindergarten...but that would be directly opposed to the goals of public and private education.
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  • Posted by 6 years, 6 months ago
    I really appreciate all the comments and the insight. I agree that Jim loved the adoration that Cherryl gave to him, but I think he always knew the admiration was based on a lie.
    I think that Cherryl was a shining light, a beacon of innocence who was a young woman who embodied everything that a woman could be. As Scott said, she had the makings of a hero. She looked at the world with joy and anticipation and love of life.
    I think there are many people in the world who feel that they cannot create or produce, but they can destroy. They feel that whatever the heroes of the world can produce, they can destroy, and that makes them more powerful than the hero.
    Cherryl was the epitome of innocence and goodness, and I think Jim took great satisfaction in destroying her. The greater the destruction, the longer he kept his demons at bay. In the end, though, he had to face those demons; face reality, and it destroyed him.
    So I think that the hero worship was secondary, and that Jims need to destroy was what Jim satisfied with Cherryl.
    Edit:sp
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    • Posted by ewv 6 years, 6 months ago
      Yes, but Jim Taggert's need to destroy and Cherryl's hero worship were inherently intertwined. Jim Taggert had no ability or character worthy of admiration but wanted to be admired and loved. He picked an average shop girl who (until too late) could not see through his posturing. She admired him because she thought he was the person Dagny was. He knew it, and did not love her as love of value, but a contempt for the inferior; he wanted her for her flaws, not her value. It was love as alms.

      He was dependent on her admiration and did not dare let her grow: He wanted her to remain the hero-worshipping shop girl dependent on him to live in the world, while he was dependent on her mistaken admiration for him, knowing he wasn't what she had thought he was. He needed her, the truly noble soul though of only average ability, to give him the unearned sanction of a spiritual superiority he sought, which in turn required destroying the good in her and preventing her from growing and learning the truth. He wanted to "break spines", including Cheryl's, and constantly undermined her. He had to, given what he was and the lie he lived. James Taggert boasted that he couldn't build an industry but he could destroy those who did as his power. He did the same in the spiritual realm to Cheryl.

      It all illustrates the destructive falsehoods of love as alms, the desire for the unearned, and the hatred of the good for being good -- and what happens to good people of only average ability who lack the required philosophical understanding or anyone to guide them in attaining it: another example of the plot-theme of Atlas Shrugged showing what happens when the mind is withdrawn from society.

      You can find Ayn Rand's detailed description of what she intended to portray and the flow of the logic of the characters' actions within the James Taggert-Cheryl Brooks relationship in The Journals of Ayn Rand, 1948 notes pp 581-2 and June 7 and 9, 1952 pp 641-2.
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  • Posted by jimjamesjames 6 years, 6 months ago
    Compared to Dagny, Jim knew he was a joke and when he started getting external validation from Cheryl, he felt validated. Individuals do not need external validation. They know their value.
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  • Posted by LibertyBelle 6 years, 6 months ago
    He admittted why. In their final argument, she
    asked him why; he said he had thought she'd
    "love" him, but that wasn't it; she said he hadn't
    married any of the sluts he could have had; no, it
    was because she was struggling to rise, and he
    admitted it; because he was a sadist and want-
    ed to destroy that.
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    • Posted by 6 years, 6 months ago
      I agree, Belle. Many of the comments here seem to see Jim as a confused, pitiful man who just wanted to be loved and admired. (I know I'm exaggerating there). I think Rand used his character to show a particular kind of evil that masquerades as something else.
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    • Posted by khalling 6 years, 6 months ago
      SPOILER:

      ah, you are getting to mamaemma's argument. so you see Cherryl as a stand-in for Francisco. He cannot break Francisco, so Cherryl, who is also good, he can due to her ignorance. She feels ultimately trapped by his claims that he will use his crony pull to keep her in the marriage and when she sees the social worker on the dock-admonishing her to be self sacrificing, it is the undoing. she option locks that death is preferable to living under Taggart's thumb and evilness. interesting .
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  • Posted by davidmcnab 6 years, 6 months ago
    My take on it is much simpler. With Cheryl, I feel his real motive was to gain some kind of validation, to comfort him from the anxiety of all his growing internal contradictions, while on the other hand dragging her down to his level, to validate his pitiful state even more.

    However, she chose to end her life rather than join him in his slimy philosophical hell-hole.
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    • Posted by 6 years, 6 months ago
      Remember when Roark would say that the pain only goes down to a certain point? I think Cherryl was unable to survive because when she saw the evil in the world, she felt that it contaminated her soul, and she couldn't live in that world. She was unable to close off her "self" as Roark was able to do.
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    • Posted by CircuitGuy 6 years, 6 months ago
      I thought she ended her life because she realized her husband, who she thought was a great person who she lived, actually had a sick desire to keep her down to make himself feel good. That alone wouldn't have made her suicidal. She meets those charitable workers, whose main purpose is to help people in need. She realizes they want to do the same damn thing as Jim. They want to "help" in an altruistic way that involves being smug about taking the time to help a lesser human being. That's the tragedy of it. If she had run into one of the protagonists or someone like Roark was to the troubled young man on a bike, it could have been different. The reader wants to scream "Wait! There's a whole world of people with whom you could enter mutually beneficial agreements/relationships. Forget about these sanctimonious jerks."
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    • Posted by khalling 6 years, 6 months ago
      I think this is also an important question. Was it only either/or for her at the end? In a way, you might say her actions were as deliberate as Eddie's
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      • Posted by davidmcnab 6 years, 6 months ago
        Eddie's demise never sat well with me. I never quite understood why AR wrote it that way.

        I notice the AS part 3 movie changed it to a rescue scenario - Gulch members going out to recruit him.
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        • Posted by khalling 6 years, 6 months ago
          I was good with Eddie's ending. I understood the warning
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          • Posted by davidmcnab 6 years, 6 months ago
            I'm just a bit soft-hearted. I really felt for the poor bugger.
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            • Posted by khalling 6 years, 6 months ago
              I think you were supposed to :)
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              • Comment deleted.
                • Posted by ewv 6 years, 6 months ago
                  The victims of the tunnel disaster were not portrayed as "nihilist lefties". They were a wide variety of people described as having embraced different elements of destructive philosophical views that were the cause of their demise.

                  Ayn Rand did not have a "melodramatic" style. You can read about her principles of romantic fiction writing in her The Romantic Manifesto and The Art of Fiction.

                  Eddie Willers was one of Ayn Rand's favorite characters. His fate was cast by the logic of the plot, not a desire to do him in. It illustrates what happens to people of ordinary abilities as a consequence of collectivism and statism based on conventional moral ideas of self-sacrifice as the good.
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        • Posted by cranedragon 6 years, 6 months ago
          I always saw Eddie's end as a deliberate choice on his part -- he recognized that Dagny was in love with Galt and would end up with him [or die trying] and even though he recognized the rightness of their match, could not face losing her again [remember his shock when he discovered her affair with Reardon?] So even though we don't know, 100%, what happens to Eddie, we can see his refusal to be her #2 any more. Dagny, in the end, realizes that remaining at TT and running her trains supports the regime that wants to destroy Galt and thus she breaks free; but Eddie doesn't make that break. He still sees the survival of Taggart Transcontinental as a value of itself, and a vindication of his efforts, even if the trains are no longer carrying the lifeblood of productivity but rather the dregs who demand transportation as their entitlement. His was a conscious, deliberate choice, whereas Cheryl was driven, literally, over the edge by the repeated shocks to her psyche, by learning that she married a fraud and that he was unfaithful to her with Reardon's wife.

          I have no doubt that either Eddie or Cheryl would have been welcome in the Gulch. The fact that they didn't get their speaks to an experience that most of us have felt -- to be an Objectivist is to be willing to live in a society that roundly condemns all that we hold to be most central to life and that takes strength, self-confidence, and a willingness to be the odd man out in most circumstances in our lives. If you aren't strong enough to stand apart from the world and recognize its follies and perversities, you probably won't feel that the Gulch is your natural home. Eddie and Cheryl would not have had the gumption to pull up stakes and throw in their lot with the Gulchers; they would have had to have someone to follow before they went there.
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  • Posted by khalling 6 years, 7 months ago
    thanks for posting mamaemma! you have not yet expressed your theory about James destroying Cheryl. I am interested to read your analysis. From my perspective, James is so delusional that I cannot credit him with the power to hold that over her. (juxtapose Toohey over Katie, Keating). The end of her chapter was something she was in complete control over. I don't want to give James the credit -where he could not produce, he likewise never held the power to destroy on his own.
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    • Posted by 6 years, 6 months ago
      K, I don't see Jim as that delusional. He appeared to buy in to the bullcrap about altruism as a cover for his real goal, which was raw power.then when he wasn't happy, I admit he would whine about why don't people love me?
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  • Posted by richrobinson 6 years, 7 months ago
    I really thought it was the hero worship thing. Jim seemed to me to be quite insecure. I think he needed to be told he was doing the right thing and that he was the brains behind Taggert Transcontinental. He loved Cheryl as long as she filled that role. When he realized it was really the work Dagny was doing that she respected he no longer had any use for her.
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    • Posted by khalling 6 years, 7 months ago
      "A [second-hander] is one who regards the consciousness of other men as superior to his own and to the facts of reality. It is to a [second-hander] that the moral appraisal of himself by others is a primary concern which supersedes truth, facts, reason, logic. The disapproval of others is so shatteringly terrifying to him that nothing can withstand its impact within his consciousness; thus he would deny the evidence of his own eyes and invalidate his own consciousness for the sake of any stray charlatan’s moral sanction. It is only a [second-hander] who could conceive of such absurdity as hoping to win an intellectual argument by hinting: “But people won’t like you!” The Virtue of Selfishness
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  • Posted by johnpe1 6 years, 6 months ago
    Emma, I have always thought that Jim wanted to be adored
    by someone, and he felt confident that Cherryl would give
    him that adoration, to fill a hole in his soul. . his self-confidence
    was so thin that he needed help to shore it up. -- j

    p.s. the relationship turned into a demonstration of pure evil,
    since Jim effectively destroyed her. . hatred of the good for
    being the good was, in the boiled-down analysis, his motive.
    .
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    • Posted by 6 years, 6 months ago
      John, I have been reading excerpts of Jim and Cherryl talking, and sometimes she catches glimpses of the evil behind Jim's eyes. He tells her that he just wants her love, but she sees something malevolent in him. I think what she sees in Jim, and it's not just his need to be admired, that's what destroys her, the intensity of an evil that she doesn't want to believe exists.
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  • Posted by LibertyBelle 6 years, 6 months ago
    There have been a lot of comments here about Ed-
    die Willers. He is a very admirable character, al-
    though no genius. I thought it was a mistake for the
    movie-makers to make him black, because his
    complete subordination to Dagny would make him look like an Uncle Tom.
    He doesn't necessarily die in the book. I read
    in Who is Ayn Rand? and, I think, also in some
    of Ayn Rand's notes for the book, that his fate is
    deliberately not determined; it is just a question;
    if somebody comes along and rescues him, he
    will survive; if not, not. I thought Cherryl and
    Eddie would have made a good couple, though
    that was impossible, because he was in love
    with Dagny.
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