Friday, September 16, 2011

Dagny O'Hara

At first glance you might not see many similarities between the girly, man-obsessed Scarlett O’Hara, from Gone with the Wind, and the no-nonsense business woman Dagny Taggart of Atlas Shrugged.  Both books are incredibly long by modern day standards.  Despite the length of each book I think it would make an excellent study to compare the two. 
Today I wanted to put forward similarities between these two strong female leads.  There are some similarities that differ in the details; for example, both women love married men but both do not have affairs with them.  Dagny has a physical relationship with Henry Rearden.  Scarlett loves and pines after Ashley Wilkes.  The circumstances of each woman’s relationship with a married man are different but the consequent themes of love and marriage within each book become quite analogous.  That two characters can be so alike and yet so opposing is a testament to the core values that each book puts forward.
Both are:
  • Confident in their gifts/abilities.
  • Not afraid to do what it takes to get the job done.
  • Not typically beautiful but stunning anyway. 
  • High interest in making money.
  • Neither one is able to understand the men around her who can actually see reality and who truly understand her (Dagny-John Galt/Francisco d’Anconia, Scarlett-Rhett Butler).
  • Neither understands or agrees with the ruling class’s philosophy.
  • Are rebels.
  • Are seen as doing a man’s work (and doing it too well for a woman).
  • Don’t stay where society tries to make them stay.
  • Don’t find true love until the end of the story.
  • Are vocal about their views of the world.
  • Reject God and rely on self.
  • Are able to shrug off society’s disapproval (self-confidence).
  • More interested in work then children (reject the traditional female role).
  • Feel a connection to a certain part of land.
  • Measures success by productivity.
  • Has a funny name by today’s standards. J
  • Misunderstood by their sibling/s even though they are taking care of them.
  • Neither feels a need to hide their distaste with pretty speech, they say what they mean or don’t speak at all.
  • Have “impure” relations with married men who turn out not to be their true love.
  • Both their True Loves are just as outspoken and “anti-society” as they are.

Next week:  The themes of love and romance in both books.  Yes, there is romance in Atlas Shrugged.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Breaking the rules

Rules were made to be broken.  God made the law knowing we couldn’t keep it.  To be human is to sin, which means breaking the rules.  God expected this when he handed them down. The rules, or more to the point, our propensity to break them was designed to point us back to the fact that we can’t be good enough.  We can’t get to heaven on our own.  We need God, not just to give us grace when we sin but also to give us strength to obey.
            “Barriers alone can not suppress the heart,” said our pastor this Sunday.  Our heart is our best and worst asset.  We want to obey God; our hearts long to please Him.  But it is also our heart that betrays us when the desire to be distracted or entertained by the world is stronger than our desire to be right with God.  God already set limits, or barriers to sin, for us.  We set them for ourselves too.  “After this one time, I won’t do that anymore.”  “Just this once, it isn’t like I watch/listen/read this stuff all the time.”  We tell ourselves we are going on a diet (sometimes food and sometimes from media, electronics, etc) and right away temptation finds us.  Barriers alone can not suppress our hearts.
            I shouldn’t be surprised then that rules and limits are not enough to assure obedience from my daughters.  I have to continue to work on their hearts.  Character issues are frequently called heart issues, I like that.  It gets to the root of the problem.  What are ways you reach your daughters’ hearts?