The Little Street was Ayn Rand’s first attempt in English at planning a novel, which she made in 1928, at the age of twenty-three (note that it had been only a few years since she left Russia, and the influence of the country—and its literature?—must have been fresh on her mind). The theme was that the mob of mediocre people destroys the best and heroic in man. Leonard Peikoff calls it “by far Ayn Rand’s most malevolent story,” and she didn’t get very far in planning it. But this is how she describes the protagonist, Danny Renahan, in her notes. From The Journals of Ayn Rand:
Show his battle with the world. He is too impatient to toil slowly through the years for the things he wants. Too uncompromising to succeed in the way of the popular young men who know how to get along with those in power. Too intolerant to “get along” with anybody.Too passionate not to burn with disgust for life as he sees it and with humiliation at not being above the mob, crushing it under his feet, giving it orders instead of trying to satisfy it, of crawling before it for its good graces. He is unable to understand how he can act and live as an equal with those he knows to be inferior to him, those he despises and has a right to despise. More passionate than strong. Daring and courageous; but without the patient courage that can fight through, slowly, against disgust. A man that can slash with an [ax], but can’t saw patiently. Too brilliant and fiery a nature to be able to handle any “job” and make money. Crushed by a stupid, ignoble poverty. Too restless and innately, unconsciously romantic to “make good” in the way of the model, average, hard-working young man.
As a result, he is perfectly cynical. Stone-hard. Monstrously cruel. Brazenly daring. No respect for anything or anyone. [All emphases mine.]