Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand) Easter Egg - Author's Cameo Appearance

While Dagny Taggart is touring the mysterious valley, one of he people she encounters is a "fishwife," a woman tending several fishing poles by a lake. The fishwife is introduced as an author who was unable to get her work published in the outside world -- and her career as a professional fisherman in the valley is more productive, and more appreciated, than was her writing outside. The fishwife's circumstances mirror those of author Ayn Rand, who placed herself in the novel, working in a menial capacity, as a private joke.

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Contributed By: J. Arthur on 04-06-2000
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mfirth writes:
Since Ayn Rand made considerable money as a writer, including a successful play that received Broadway and extensive amateur production (including one my mother was in) and career as a screenwriter including the movie of her own book about the architect, and several other books, so Atlas Shrugs was eagerly awaited when it came out (my father bought it for me and held it until after final exams) this egg does not ring true. The fact that she had an ego bigger than any of her characters and less character in keeping promises also goes against this being an "inside joke".
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BlacKKnighT writes:
I didn't catch this reference when I first read the book, but it brings to mind a fabulous story which must be retold. While discussing _The Old Man and The Sea_ in tenth grade (1987), my english teacher related a tale from his younger days. Seems he was in some college literature organization, and the guest speaker was one Ayn Rand. He was very excited, doubly so because it was his job to meet and escourt Ms. Rand. Appears they both got there early, and he was delighted to have an hour or so to discuss literature with her. He started praising _The Old Man and The Sea_, which apparently had just won the Pulitzer Prize. Finally, he asked "So what do you think of _The Old Man and The Sea". Her icey response: "It's a great book if you like fishing". They spent the rest of the hour in silence. Could this have been a reference to her contempt for Hemmingway's writings and success? Hemmingway won the Pulitzer for _The Old Man and The Sea_ in 1953; between 1951 and 1957, Ayn Rand was devoted to writing _Atlas Shrugged_. I swear that this story was told to me as such, but I cannot verify it further. Regardless, it is a funny tale and I don't doubt it could all be true.
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ROY!! writes:
More verification: Barbara Branden (a close associate of Rand's for many years, including the period when A. S. was written) verifies this story about Rand's "appearance" in Atlas Shrugged in her own book, "The Passion Of Ayn Rand". Both Branden and her husband, Nathaniel, had less than amicable partings from Rand in her later years, but even if you accept the (questionable) charges of Branden's critics that much of her book is slanderous fabrication, it's difficult to imagine a possible motive for inventing Rand's cameo in A.S.
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