Friday, August 19, 2005

Chapter 19: The Face Without Pain or Fear or Guilt

At the end of this chapter, one finds that the face without pain or fear or guilt isn't the face of any of the characters the reader has gotten to known thus far. The heroes all feel pain and guilt. And Eddie feels all three--pain, fear, and guilt.

Francisco comes to visit Dagny in her apartment. Dagny reveals that she is powered by the ultimate act of honor--the belief that she would trade her services, providing transportation, with that of the man of ability, the intransigent mind and the unlimited ambition. She wants to prevent another catastrophe from happening--because that man could have been on her train! Francisco tells her that the man cannot be destroyed.

Rearden comes into Dagny's apartment, and Francisco realizes that the only woman he has ever loved has been taken by Rearden. Francisco's pain is that of a silent victory against his physical rage, the acknowledgment that in his war to rid the world of the villains, he has lost his most dearest. Rearden, too, is outraged by Francisco's presence; Rearden is certain that Francisco has no right to be present, and he slaps Francisco. When he discovers that Francisco is Dagny's first lover before him, he lets his rage out in the form of violent sex--the act of claiming her, as if his and only his, of triumphing against Francisco's getting to her first by owning her now. The section ends with Dagny feeling fear--the express letter from Quentin Daniels implies that he might have been another conquest of the Destroyer--in her frantic calls to reach Quentin. It would be a tentative relief that Dagny receives when Quentin answers; she makes immediate plans to visit him, fearing that the destroyer would get to him soon...

(But, she rides the Comet, instead of taking Rearden's private plane. The Comet will take five days to get there, and she lets herself deal with a bunch of business actions along the way instead of arriving in Utah directly.)

Dagny summons Eddie to her apartment to dictate to him the tasks that must be done in her leave, as well as her plans. Seeing Rearden's robe, Eddie realizes two things about himself: that Dagny is not impregnable (Eddie loves her) and that Dagny is sleeping with Rearden. Eddie reveals this to the worker (Galt), as well as Quentin's location and significance. Eddie feels guilt for loving Dagny, that he shouldn't think about it, and he feels pain as well. But, he also feels fear--that the world is falling apart, that it's all hopeless, that she had once been his hope, their mutual love of life.

The face without pain or fear or guilt is difficult to find.


Blogger Mary Halverson said...

"As the sand in the hourglass, so are the days of our lives"

10:54 AM  

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