I was again randomly flipping through AS, and invariably, any page I open turns out to be a gem…I just read the following paras, and Ayn Rand’s literary and intellectual genius comes out so well, where there is a reason for every word or phrase she uses. Only, there was one particular part which I didn’t understand…maybe somebody out here can pitch in…It’s a dialogue between Fransciso and Dagny, somewhere in the middle of the book, where Franscisco reveals partly to Dagny, the nature of the game that he has been playing, trying to destroy D’Anconia Copper etc. (Pg 586)
… Don’t ask me for help or money. You know my reasons. Now you may hate me — as, from your stand, you should.
(To add a bit of context, in the earlier paras, Dagny has become aware of how much Francisco still values her, and desires to sleep with her)
She raised her head a little, there was no perceptible change in her posture, it was no more than her awareness of her own body, and OF ITS MEANING TO HIM, (caps mine), but for the length of one sentence she stood as a woman, the suggestion of defiance coming only from the faintly stressed spacing of her words: “And what will it do to you?”
He looked at her, in full understanding, but neither admitting nor denying the confession she wanted to tear from him: “That is no one’s concern but mine,” he answered
(Persumably, Franscisco doesn’t want to burden her with his pain or loss of a value…)
It was she who weakened, but realized, while saying it, that this was still more cruel: “ I don’t hate you. I’ve tried to, for years, but I never will, no matter what we do, either one of us.”
Now why is what Dagny ends up saying, still more cruel … what would have been less cruel. I just tried to put my thinking cap on this one:
Dagny actually still loves Franscisco, but given the context of her knowledge of Franscisco’s actions, she cannot allow even herself to admit that she still loves him, inspite of his apparently wasted life.
So, instead of saying to Franscisco, that ‘inspite of everything, I haven’t stopped loving you,’ what she does is only tells him half the truth, that she doesn’t hate him. In the process of saying this, she realises that this would hurt Franscisco more, as this implies an indifference — if someone you loved intensely changed his ways, one can in the least, not be neutral about it: either one would start hating/despising that person, or one would be still loving him.
An indifference would imply that ‘you were no big deal for me, you didn’t matter much anyway.’
So in this sense, Dagny ends ups being more cruel while intending to actually soften the impact for Franscisco (though of course, I doubt Franscisco feels the pain just because of this statement, as he would be wise enough to realise that Dagny does have feelings for him and he does mean a lot to her, even if she doesn’t admit it.