Please write about her! I took a shot at it with my little essay on the movies of the Thirties, but I'm waiting for other folks to weigh in.
(And I'll leave off the sex. I promise.)
Well, Publius, you kinda threw me for a loop with that essay about Lily Powers. If I were going to choose a similar character from a novel, it would be Dreisers Sister Carrie rather than Rands Cherryl Brooks.
There is no way that Jim Taggart would have been taken down by a little guttersnipe from Erie. That would have been contrary to his character. He would recognize the gold digging guttersnipe for what she was. He would bed her and move on. But Cherryl didnt fit that mold. Taggart recognized that she was different. Unlike most women and men Taggart encountered in his miserable existence, this young lady didnt have an agenda. She doesnt want anything from him; she is simply honored to be in the presence of someone she believes is a great man on his night of triumph.
And how intoxicating this is for Jim Taggart! Cherryl fulfills a need of his that no gold-digger would have been capable of doing. As Taggart bathes in her oblivious and honest admiration of him, he is able momentarily to believe his own press releases. The lies become his reality for most of the evening until he catches a glimpse of himself in the mirror. Rather than feeling any remorse, Taggert feels smugly satisfied that he has conned this innocent young thing. And he feels superior.
It is because of Cherryls goodness that Taggert is going to pursue her. She doesnt hide her poverty ridden past. She isnt ashamed of it or guilty because she has taken steps to escape it. She has a moral sense of values that makes her reject and rise above the sloth of her family. She simply wants to achieve something in her life. She doesnt affect a phony sense of sophistication with her move to the Big City, but readily admits that she has a lot to learn. Shes eager and excited to face what her new life has to offer.
Poor Cherryl. Little does she realize that she has jumped from the proverbial frying pan into the fire with her chance meeting of Jim Taggart. Little does she realize that he is the kindred spirit of the relatives from whom she fled.
What I think most people are missing when Ayn Rand writes about Hank and Dagny is that they’re the last two standing. They’re both driven to success and define their lives by their success.
As two people with very powerful personalities, of course they are drawn to one another. There is no one else they know that is as they are.
At this point, both Hank and Dagny are not only sharing their passion, they’re also using each other to try and insulate and reassure themselves against the coming collapse. A collapse they see happening all around them, yet deny there is nothing they can do about it.