by Ayn Rand
Atlas Shrugged Choices Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Volume.Chapter.Section.Page). We used the 50th Anniversary Edition published by Signet Books in 2007.
She was looking at the bracelet of blue-green metal.
She felt the movement of something being torn off her wrist, and she heard her own voice saying in the great stillness, very calmly, a voice cold as a skeleton, naked of emotion, "If you are not the coward that I think you are, you will exchange it."
On the palm of her hand, she was extending her diamond bracelet to Lillian. (188.8.131.52-2)
Dagny publicly confronts Lillian and forces her to hand over the Rearden Metal bracelet. In a way, Dagny forces Lillian to make a choice, even though Lillian probably didn't see that she had a choice. To refuse would embarrass her.
"Ted, you won't be the next one to go?" she had asked him, on his recent visit to New York; she had asked it, trying to smile. "He had answered grimly, "I hope not." "What do you mean you hope? – aren't you sure?" He had said slowly, heavily, "Dagny, I've always thought that I'd rather die than stop working. But so did the men who're gone. It seems impossible to me that I could ever want to quit. But a year ago, it seemed impossible that they ever could.... I can't tell what I'll do when I see it – whatever it was that they saw when they went." (184.108.40.206)
Ted Nielsen hits upon one of the main fears in the book: the fear of not knowing. Not knowing why people are making the choices they are making and what sort of choice you might be confronted with in an unknown situation. The unknown cuts off people's ability to judge and to decide, which causes a lot of anxiety for people who prize their power of rational choice.
"Gentlemen," she said, "I do not know what sort of self-fraud you expect to feel that if it's I who name the decision you intend to make, it will be I who'll bear the responsibility for it. Perhaps you believe that if my voice delivers the final blow, it will make me the murderer involved.... I cannot conceive what it is you think you can accomplish by a pretense of this kind, and I will not help to stage it." (220.127.116.11)
Dagny delivers a smack-down to the Board here by refusing to make a difficult choice for them .