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.
He wanted no sadness attached to his childhood; he loved its memories; any day of it he remembered now seemed flooded by a still, brilliant sunlight. It seemed to him as if a few rays reached into his present; not rays, more like pinpoint spotlights that gave an occasional moment's glitter to his job, to his lonely apartment, to the quiet, scrupulous progression of his existence. (18.104.22.168)
Eddie loves his childhood memories, but it's important to note that his happy childhood is largely separate from his adult life, existing as nothing more than "pinpoints" of light. Eddie seems to have lost his happiness and can only access it in his memories.
After a while, he realized that he was thinking of his past, as if certain days of it were spread before him, demanding to be seen again. He did not want to look at them; he despised memories as a pointless indulgence. But then he understood that he thought of them tonight in honor of that piece of metal in his pocket. Then he permitted himself to look. (22.214.171.124)
It's interesting that Hank refuses to look at his past usually while Eddie cherishes his. The reason for Hank's refusal might have something to do with his guilt and his internal struggle over value systems. Hank would rather not recall struggling and being unhappy perhaps.
She fought. She recovered. Years helped her to reach the day when she could face her memories indifferently, then the day when she felt no necessity to face them. It was finished and of no concern to her any longer. (126.96.36.1990)
Dagny battles with her past head-on until it no longer controls her or causes her pain. Though Dagny eventually puts the past aside, she doesn't just ignore it from the start.