by Ayn Rand
Atlas Shrugged Memory and the Past 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.
Then, still holding the recaptured sensation of what she had felt for him in the past, she grasped a quality that had always been part of it, now suddenly clear to her for the first time:...what she had felt for Francisco had always been a celebration of her future.... (188.8.131.52)
Dagny links up her past, present, and future here by recalling how her past with Francisco was a celebration of their childhood dreams for the future, which they've now achieved. It seems that for a person to be truly whole, her past, present, and future need to be connected. Hank discovers this when he signs the Gift Certificate.
". . . this is how I've watched you for ten years...from the ground under your feet...ten years of nights spent waiting to catch a glimpse of you here, on the platform, when you boarded a train . . ." (184.108.40.206)
After starting a relationship with Dagny, John seems almost compelled to run through their history as a way of getting it out of his system and letting them start in the present. His speaking style here is very unusual for him, too, breathless and full of stops and starts and incomplete sentences.
She knew what Nat Taggart had felt at his start and why now, for the first time, she was following him in full loyalty; the confident sense of facing a void and of knowing that one has a continent to build.
She felt the whole struggle of her past rising before her and dropping away, leaving her here, on the height of this moment. (220.127.116.11-35)
Once again, the theme of the present erasing the pain of the past emerges. It's interesting that Dagny is able to let go of her past pain by identifying with a figure of the past, Nat Taggart.