They didn't repress ALL of their emotions. Just some of them. (And I know the hard way that repressing emotions is not a good thing in life - suppressing for a while maybe, but not explicit negation.)
It so happens that the emotions they feel intensely - their overwhelming love for their work and integrity, for instance - are ones that I have shared since the beginning. These emotions were portrayed wonderfully.
Unfortunately, the contempt and ranting is well done also - and this is something way too people many imitate.
Anyway, there is something in her wordy style that Michael M lampooned that is extremely powerful if you let it penetrate.
One of Rand's big challenges with Atlas Shrugged was that there were all those cross themes to integrate into the same scene all the time. She had to touch on or insinuate all the pertinent ones in one scene in order for her keep the thing tied together and make the climaxes seem inevitable.
She also got it into her head that the speeches were necessary - and they were but only because of the philosophy, not because of the drama. Unless you consider that it was the philosophy that was driving the drama.
Then she had a mannerism she gained from Victor Hugo, which was to express things by contrasting them with seemingly contradictory elements. Thus a virtuous man is rude, an apparent lack of emotion by a hero at a critical moment becomes identified by a supporting character as a highly intense statement, and so forth.
Back to the cross themes. If you take a long paragraph of description and start to break each phrase down into what it is really saying, you will start to notice patterns. If you allow those essences (the themes) into your subconscious with an open mind, the prose starts to flow in a manner that will surprise you - including the emotional impact.
Frankly, all this deserves an article. There has been a lot written on Rand's style, but a "how-to" thing on reading her fiction for maximum enjoyment and impact just occurred to me as probably a good idea.
(Edited by Michael Stuart Kelly on 10/20, 9:47pm)