Jim is the antithesis of the striking heroes in every aspect. Where they are brilliant, strong, and independent, he is weak and dependent on public opinion for every decision he makes. His only real skill is in influence peddling, and he uses it to improve Taggart’s position in the industry and to destroy the great minds he envies and hates. Jim embodies Rand’s concept of evil. His ambition in life is simply to destroy the good, making him a classic example of a nihilist. Because Jim’s true nature is so terrible, he cannot bear to know it and spends a great deal of energy repressing it and convincing himself he is motivated by profit, public service, or love. He marries Cherryl Brooks in order to destroy her goodness but convinces himself he has done it for love. She is an easy target for him and a substitute for the great men like Rearden, whom he cannot manage to ruin. Eventually, Jim can no longer hide his nature from himself. Cherryl’s suicide contributes to his awful realization. Finally, watching Galt’s torture and screaming for him to die brings him face to face with his depravity. The realization causes him to go mad.
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