Willers, was like the stories he had read in school books and never quite believed, the stories of men who had lived in the days of the country's youth. He wished. Rand, Ayn - ATLAS SHRUGGED. Read more Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged: A Philosophical and Literary Companion. Read more. Read and Download Ebook ((PDF)) Atlas Shrugged PDF ((PDF)) Atlas Shrugged PDF ((PDF)) Atlas Shrugged by by Ayn Rand PDF File: ((PDF)) Atlas Shrugged.
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Rand began writing Atlas Shrugged in The novel was published by Random House in and became a bestseller despite very negative reviews. Atlas. One man had done it, and he had done it in eight years; this, thought Eddie Willers, was like the stories he had read in school books and never quite believed. The novel is, in part, a treatise on economics providing a literary treatment of proper economic principles. Atlas Shrugged is an integrated masterpiece of.
The character Francisco d'Anconia indicates the role of "looters" and "moochers" in relation to money: "So you think that money is the root of all evil? Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can't exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or the looters who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce.
Ruddy if a screenplay could focus on the love story, Rand agreed and reportedly said, "That's all it ever was". Riggenbach adds, "Rand's overall message with regard to science seems clear: the role of science in human life and human society is to provide the knowledge on the basis of which technological advancement and the related improvements in the quality of human life can be realized. But science can fulfill this role only in a society in which human beings are left free to conduct their business as they see fit.
Pierce describes it as a "romantic suspense novel" that is "at least a borderline case" of science fiction. As in other works falling within this genre, a visitor in this case, Dagny arrives at an Utopian Society and is shown around by denizens, who explain in detail how their social institutions work and what is the world view behind these institutions.
It peaked at No. The Economist reported that the year-old novel ranked No. With an attached sales chart, The Economist reported that sales "spikes" of the book seemed to coincide with the release of economic data. Subsequently, on April 2, , Atlas Shrugged ranked No. Rand scholar Mimi Reisel Gladstein later wrote that "reviewers seemed to vie with each other in a contest to devise the cleverest put-downs"; one called it "execrable claptrap", while another said it showed "remorseless hectoring and prolixity".
Is it a nightmare? Alan Greenspan wrote a letter to The New York Times Book Review, in which he responded to Hicks' claim that "the book was written out of hate" by calling it "a celebration of life and happiness. Justice is unrelenting. Creative individuals and undeviating purpose and rationality achieve joy and fulfillment. Parasites who persistently avoid either purpose or reason perish as they should.
Chambers is an ex-Communist. He has attacked Atlas Shrugged in the best tradition of the Communists—by lies, smears, and cowardly misrepresentations. Richard McLaughlin, reviewing the novel for The American Mercury , described it as a "long overdue" polemic against the welfare state with an "exciting, suspenseful plot", although unnecessarily long.
He drew a comparison with the antislavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin , saying that a "skillful polemicist" did not need a refined literary style to have a political impact. Atlas Shrugged has attracted an energetic and committed fan base. Each year, the Ayn Rand Institute donates , copies of works by Rand, including Atlas Shrugged, to high school students.
The title of one libertarian magazine, Reason : Free Minds, Free Markets, is taken directly from John Galt, the hero of Atlas Shrugged, who argues that "a free mind and a free market are corollaries". He was initially quite favorable to it, and even after he and Rand ended their relationship, he still referred to it in an interview as "the greatest novel that has ever been written", although he found "a few things one can quarrel with in the book".
He criticized the potential psychological impact of the novel, stating that John Galt's recommendation to respond to wrongdoing with "contempt and moral condemnation" clashes with the view of psychologists who say this only causes the wrongdoing to repeat itself. In a letter to Rand written a few months after the novel's publication, he said it offered "a cogent analysis of the evils that plague our society, a substantiated rejection of the ideology of our self-styled 'intellectuals' and a pitiless unmasking of the insincerity of the policies adopted by governments and political parties You have the courage to tell the masses what no politician told them: you are inferior and all the improvements in your conditions which you simply take for granted you owe to the efforts of men who are better than you.
Buckley, Jr. Conservative commentators Neal Boortz ,  Glenn Beck , and Rush Limbaugh  offered praise of the book on their respective radio and television programs. To escape the violence of the revolution, her family moved to the Crimea, where she finished high school. She studied American history in high school and decided that America offered the best example of a free society.
Her growing love for the West was fed by the many American films she saw as a teenager and by the works of Victor Hugo, the writer she most admired.
After high school, her family returned from the Crimea, and Rand enrolled in the University of Petrograd to study philosophy and history.
She graduated in and then entered the State Institute for Cinema Arts to study screenwriting. In , Rand obtained a temporary visa to visit relatives in the United States. She intended never to return to her homeland.
After living for six months with relatives in Chicago, she obtained an extension of her visa and went to Hollywood to pursue a career as a screenwriter. DeMille production. A week later, she met Frank OConnor, whom she married in The marriage lasted until his death fifty years later. During her first several years in Hollywood, Rand worked at various occupations. In , she sold her first screenplay, Red Pawn, to Universal Studios and had her first stage play, Night of January 16th, produced in Hollywood and later on Broadway.
She completed her first novel, We the Living, in , but was rejected by every American publisher she approached.
Finally, in , the Macmillan Company published the book in the United States. The novel was based on her years under Soviet Communism and was strongly criticized by the pro-Communist intelligentsia. She began writing The Fountainhead in As with her previous novel, she had trouble finding a willing publisher.
The Bobbs-Merrill Company finally accepted the manuscript in , and, two years later, it became a bestseller through word of mouth. Instantly, Ayn Rand became the champion of individualism. Rand began writing Atlas Shrugged in The novel was published by Random House in and became a bestseller despite very negative reviews. Atlas Shrugged was her last work of fiction. Rand realized that in order to communicate the full meaning of her philosophy, she would have to identify its principles in nonfiction form, and so for the next twenty-five years she devoted her life to the development and promotion of Objectivism, her philosophy of the ego.
In she founded an institute devoted to teaching her philosophy, which is still active today. She died on March 6, , in her New York City apartment. More than twenty million copies of her books have been sold. The events that surrounded Rands life, notably the rise of Communism in Russia, heavily influenced her work.
Her distaste for Communism and collectivism in all forms is apparent throughout Atlas Shrugged. Although her earlier novels were criticized for their deeply anti-.
Communist stance, Atlas Shrugged was published at the height of the Cold War, and its message was welcomed by an America that feared and despised Communism. Communism, a collectivist system that forces individuals to sacrifice their own interests for the good of the state, threatened the personal and intellectual freedoms Rand considered essential.
Although the United States opposed Communism in the Cold War era, many of the collectivist beliefs of Marxism had support among American academics and those who favored an expanded welfare state and greater regulation of private industry. Rand wrote Atlas Shrugged in opposition to these views.
As a student of American capitalism, Rand believed that unfettered economic freedom was the factor most responsible for the major achievements of American inventors and businessmen during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Atlas Shrugged attempts to demonstrate what might happen to the world if such economic freedom were lost, if emerging collectivist trends were to continue to their logical conclusions. The novel shows in detail the resulting collapse of efficient production and the rise of corruption among businessmen and politicians who look to live off the production of others without producing anything themselves.
In Atlas Shrugged, the system falls apart to the point that the remaining producers choose to simply withdraw rather than perpetuate the corruption. This withdrawal is the strike at the center of the novels action. In this strike, the thinkers withdraw their minds to protest the oppression of thought and the forced moral code of self-sacrifice that obligates them to work only to serve the needs of others.
Without the minds of these thinkers, society is doomed to utter collapse. For Ayn Rand, the mind is the most important tool for humanity, and reason is its greatest virtue. Plot Overview In an environment of worsening economic conditions, Dagny Taggart, vice president in charge of operations, works to repair Taggart Transcontinentals crumbling Rio Norte Line to service Colorado, the last booming industrial area in the country.
Her efforts are hampered by the fact that many of the countrys most talented entrepreneurs are retiring and disappearing. The line had been built to service Francisco dAnconias copper mills, but the mills turn out to be worthless.
Francisco had been a successful industrialist, and Dagnys lover, but has become a worthless playboy. To solve the railroads financial problems, Dagnys brother Jim uses political influence to pass legislation that destroys Taggarts only competition in Colorado.
Later he appears at Reardens anniversary party and, meeting him for the first time, urges Rearden to reject the freeloaders who live off of him. Dagny decides to start her own company to rebuild the line, and it is a huge success. Dagny and Rearden become lovers. Together they discover a motor in an abandoned factory that runs on static electricity, and they seek the inventor. The government passes new legislation that cripples industry in Colorado.
Ellis Wyatt, an oil industrialist, suddenly disappears after setting fire to his wells. Dagny is forced to cut trains, and the situation worsens. Soon, more industrialists disappear. Dagny believes there is a destroyer at work, taking men away when they are most needed.
Francisco visits Rearden and asks him why he remains in business under such repressive conditions. When a fire breaks out and they work together to put it out, Francisco understands Reardens love for his mills.
Rearden goes on trial for breaking one of the new laws, but refuses to participate in the proceedings, telling the judges they can coerce him by force but he wont help them to convict him. Unwilling to be seen as thugs, they let him go. Economic dictator Wesley Mouch needs Reardens cooperation for a new set of socialist laws, and Jim needs economic favors that will keep his ailing railroad running after the collapse of Colorado. Jim appeals to Reardens wife Lillian, who wants to destroy her husband.
She tells him Rearden and Dagny are having an affair, and he uses this information in a trade. The new set of laws, Directive , is irrational and repressive. It includes a ruling that requires all patents to be signed over to the government.
Rearden is blackmailed into signing over his metal to protect Dagnys reputation. Dagny quits over the new directive and retreats to a mountain lodge. When she learns of a massive accident at the Taggart Tunnel, she returns to her job. She receives a letter from the scientist she had hired to help rebuild the motor, and fears he will be the next target of the destroyer. In an attempt to stop him from disappearing, she follows him in an airplane and crashes in the mountains.
When she wakes up, she finds herself in a remote valley where all the retired industrialists are living. They are on strike, calling it a strike of the mind. There, she meets John Galt, who turns out to be both the destroyer and the man who built the motor. When she returns to work, she finds that the government has nationalized the railroad industry. Government leaders want her to make a speech reassuring the public about the new laws.
She refuses until Lillian comes to blackmail her. On the air, she proudly announces her affair with Rearden and reveals that he has been blackmailed. She warns the country about its repressive government. With the economy on the verge of collapse, Francisco destroys the rest of his holdings and disappears.
The politicians no longer even pretend to work for the public good. Their vast network of influence peddling creates worse chaos, as crops rot waiting for freight trains that are diverted for personal favors. In an attempt to gain control of Franciscos mills, the government stages a riot at Rearden Steel. But the steelworkers organize and fight back, led by Francisco, who has been working undercover at the mills. Francisco saves Reardens life, then convinces him to join the strike.
Just as the head of state prepares to give a speech on the economic situation, John Galt takes over the airwaves and delivers a lengthy address to the country, laying out the terms of the strike he has organized. In desperation, the government seeks Galt to make him their economic dictator. Dagny inadvertently leads them to him, and they take him prisoner.
But Galt refuses to help them, even after he is tortured. Finally, Dagny and the strikers rescue him in an armed confrontation with guards. They return to the valley, where Dagny finally joins the strike. Soon, the countrys collapse is complete and the strikers prepare to return. Character List Dagny Taggart - The novels protagonist and vice president in charge of operations of Taggart Transcontinental.
Dagny is Galts greatest love and worst enemy. Her brilliant management style and unwavering commitment to the railroad enable her to remain in the world of the lootersRands word for the people and government agencies that seize property from capitalistsand to keep her railroad running despite the growing chaos.
In so doing, she continues to provide the looters with transportation that sustains their system. She mistakenly believes the looters are capable of reason and will understand their mistakes before it is too late. When she realizes the looters are in fact agents of death, she withdraws and is the last to join the strike. Read an in-depth analysis of Dagny Taggart. Hank Rearden - The greatest of the nations industrialists, Rearden is a steel baron with an astonishing capacity to produce.
He is also Dagnys lover for most of the novel. Rearden represents a threat to the strikers because he continues to fight for his mills and inadvertently props up the looters regime. His main flaw is his willingness to accept the looters idea that he is obligated to serve others. When he finally gives up this premise, he sees the looters system for what it is and joins the strike. Read an in-depth analysis of Hank Rearden. John Galt - The man around whom the action of the novel revolves, Galt organizes and leads the strike of the mind.
He is simultaneously the destroyer, the inventor of the revolutionary motor, Eddies mysterious friend, and Dagnys greatest love. Brilliant and perceptive, he is the physical and intellectual representation of mans ideal. Read an in-depth analysis of John Galt. Francisco dAnconia - An enormously wealthy and brilliant industrialist, Francisco is the first to join Galts strike and the man who pays the highest price for it, losing his first and only love, Dagny.
Francisco works as the strikes most active recruiter, focusing much of his attention on Rearden. By pretending to be a worthless playboy, Francisco is able to hide his efforts to destroy dAnconia copper and thereby keep it out of the hands of the looters. Read an in-depth analysis of Francisco dAnconia. An inferior businessman, Jim excels at influence peddling and becomes highly skilled at manipulating the system. Though he claims to be motivated by both personal wealth and public service, his true motive is destruction of the productive.
Jim carefully represses the nature of his depravity, but his final encounter with John Galt completely shatters his illusions. Eddie Willers - Dagnys assistant at Taggart and a hard worker dedicated to the preservation of the railroad. Through his friendship with the mysterious track worker in the cafeteria, Eddie unwittingly provides the destroyer with valuable information about Dagny and the railroad. Lillian Rearden - Hank Reardens lifeless, beautiful wife.
Lillian is dominated by a hatred of the good, and her purpose in life is to destroy her husband. Unlike Jim, who shares her need for destruction but deludes himself that he has other motivations, Lillian is honest with herself about her goals. Ellis Wyatt - An oil tycoon who sparks the growth of Colorados industry through his innovations.
When the government burdens Colorado with impossible regulations and demands, Wyatt refuses to cooperate and withdraws. Leaving nothing behind for the looters, he sets fire to his wells, creating the spectacular and symbolic Wyatts Torch. Ragnar Danneskjold - A notorious pirate and one of the first strikers.
Danneskjold fights the looters on their own violent terms. A reverse Robin Hood, he steals from the parasites and returns wealth to the productive. He allows the looters to appropriate his mind. He joins the strike early on, after society proclaims the death of reason. He works as a short-order cook in a diner. Wesley Mouch - Originally Reardens Washington Man, Mouch is a mediocre bureaucrat who rises to the role of economic dictator through his betrayal of Rearden and his well-placed connections.
Orren Boyle - The corrupt owner of Associated Steel. Although his product is inferior to Reardens, he uses his government connections to protect his business and obtain the rights to make Rearden Metal.
Cherryl Brooks - A young, idealistic hero worshipper who marries Jim, mistakenly believing he is a good man.
Jim seeks to destroy her and the good she represents, and is ultimately successful. Though he starts out as a cynical follower of the looters code, his experience at the mills transforms him, and he comes to respect and admire the producers. Owen Kellogg - A talented employee of Taggart and one of the first men in the novel to retire mysteriously. Midas Mulligan - The most successful banker of all time and the owner of the valley where the strikers live.
Mulligan withdrew from society after realizing that he cannot thrive in a system that rewards need over ability. Judge Narrangansett - The legal mind that champions the freedom of individuals to produce and trade free of government intervention.
He is one of the strikers who live in the valley. Ferris rejects the mind and recognizes only bald power. He leads the faction that seeks to kill John Galt instead of working with him and jeopardizing its own power. Thompson - The Head of State, Thompson is pragmatic and driven only by the immediacy of the moment. He cynically believes that everyone, including Galt, is willing to cut a deal in exchange for power. He is genuinely stunned when Galt rejects his offer. Richard Halley - A brilliant composer who joins the strike after his work is praised only for having been borne of suffering.
His fifth concerto is played throughout the strikers valley. Ken Dannager - A self-made Pennsylvania coal producer and friend of Reardens. He recognizes the irrationality of the looters laws and breaks them.
He joins the strike after he is arrested for making illegal deals with Rearden.
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Philip Rearden Hank Reardens parasitic brother. He lives off of Reardens accomplishments while simultaneously criticizing him for pursuing them. Analysis of Major Characters John Galt Galt is the most important character in the novel and the driving force behind its action.
The strike that he conceives, organizes, and carries out is the books central, defining event. But his identity remains a mystery until two-thirds of the way through the novel, lending him a mythical stature.
In Galt, Rand has set out to present man in his most ideal form. She describes him as physically beautiful, profoundly brilliant, and enormously accomplished.
Not only has he been able to develop a revolutionary motor, he has also created a philosophy of reason and become a statesman capable of leading the worlds most talented men. Most importantly, Galt is unwaveringly rational and deals directly with the objective facts he encounters. In him, rationality and emotion are fully integrated.
Though ruled by reason, he is able to express and experience his emotions as well. Just as Rand uses Dagny to shatter the mind-body dichotomy that separates physical pleasure from higher thought, she employs Galt to reject the split between reason and emotion.
Galt represents the main theme of the novel and of Rands philosophy: The mind is the motive power that drives civilization, just as the motor Galt develops can drive industry. Galt embodies the mind, and the question Who is John Galt? The question asks what is the mind? Galt knows that without his mind and the minds of the worlds great thinkers, the motive power of the world will be lost and the motor of the world will stop.
Dagny Taggart Dagny is remarkable in every way: Her independent spirit leads her to trust her own judgment over public opinion. Though calmly rational, she is also tremendously passionate about her work and love. She is enormously successful as a woman in a mans world. Rand presents her this way to demonstrate that rationality and great accomplishments are not gender-specific.
Dagnys defining characteristic is a supreme self-confidence. She is keenly aware of her own abilities and always knows the right thing to do. But her confidence is also her flaw. She leaves the strikers and rejoins the real world because she feels she can single-handedly save her railroad and by extension her world.
No one person can do this, and her realization comes nearly too late, as she is the last to join the strike. She is also flawed in her optimism about people.
Until the end, when she learns the looters will torture Galt to make him help them, she continues to believe they can be made to understand their errors. James Jim Taggart 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 Taggarts position in the industry. Jim embodies Rands concept of evil. His ambition in life is simply to destroy the good, making him a classic example of a nihilist.
Because Jims 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.
Cherryls suicide contributes to his awful realization. Finally, watching Galts torture and screaming for him to die brings him face to face with his depravity. The realization causes him to go mad.
Hank Rearden Rearden is the embodiment of productivity, just as Galt represents the mind. His legendary capacity for hard work and his integrity and skill have made him the most successful industrialist in the country. At first, Rearden struggles with important misconceptions about himself that undermine his ability to see his own greatness. He undergoes a profound transformation in the course of the novel. Despite operating his business based on a rational moral code that demands value for value, he allows his family to sponge off of him and make him feel guilty for his success.
This makes him willing to sacrifice himself for their flawed morality and saps his vitality. He also mistakenly believes in a separation of the mind and body, which makes him see physical desire as base and low, and the things of the mind as unrelated to the physical world. Dagny and Francisco help him to reject this idea, which enables him to embrace his own value. Francisco dAnconia The wealthy and accomplished Francisco is a profoundly intelligent and highly successful man whose whole life is a paradox.
He was the first man to join Galts strike and serves as its recruiter, living in two worlds as he tries to bring others over to the strikers side. Although he is a brilliant businessman, he deliberately destroys dAnconia Copper and brings down the fortunes of many others with it.
And although he has only ever loved Dagny, he plays the part of a promiscuous playboy as a cover for his real activities. He is enthusiastic and benevolent, although much of his strike-related activities cause others, especially Dagny and Rearden, to feel he is mocking and untrustworthy. Francisco has a profound effect on Rearden, whom he genuinely loves, even while knowing Rearden is Dagnys lover.
He serves as Reardens protector, arming him with the moral certainty he needs to battle the looters. He seems to appear at Reardens side when he is needed most, and saves his life in the mill riots. Franciscos commitment to the strike is absolute, but he suffers a great deal for it. First, he must give up Dagny and allow her to view him as depraved and worthless.
Later, he must endure Reardens hatred as well, when he is forced to betray him in a copper deal.
And he must continually work to destroy the company his family built for generations. But the suffering is worth the price for him, because he is sure that he is right.
Eventually, Dagny and Rearden come to understand and admire him, and the strike he devotes his life to works as planned. The Importance of the Mind. The strike of the mind led by John Galt demonstrates this central theme of the novel. When the best creative minds are systematically removed from the world, their importance is laid bare. Without the great thinkers, society spirals quickly downward.
The economy collapses, and irrational looters seize power. Rands belief in the central importance of the mind opposes the prevailing wisdom that labor is responsible for prosperity. As the events of the novel show, the mind enables creation and innovation and powers the engine of the world. Labor alone cannot achieve productivity and prosperity without the guidance of the mind.
The Evils of Collectivism. Rand sets out to demonstrate through the novels action what happens when governments follow socialist ideas.
She argues that when men are compelled, through collectivisms forced moral code, to place the needs of their neighbors above their own rational self-interest, the result is chaos and evil. Incentive is destroyed, and corruption becomes inevitable. The story of the Twentieth Century Motor Company illustrates this brilliantly. After the plant adopted a method in which workers were paid according to perceived needs and ordered to work based on perceived ability, the workers became depraved and immoral, each seeking to show himself or herself as most needy and least skilled.
The plant failed, and the community was destroyed by mistrust and greed. For Rand, any economic or political plan based on sacrifice of the individual for the group leads to chaos and destruction. The Need to Integrate Mind and Body. Rand rejects the mind-body dichotomy that is central to many philosophies and religions. She opposes the idea that the thoughts and achievements of the mind are pure and noble, but the desires of the body are base and immoral, and she presents Dagny as a character who also rejects the idea.
Dagny is proud of her sexuality and sees her physical desires flowing logically from the evaluations and rationality of her mind. At first, Rearden accepts the mind-body split. His transformation occurs when he comes to integrate the two facets of himself into a rational whole.
Stadler represents another aspect of this mind-body dichotomy. He sees the pure science of the mind as removed from practical affairs and wonders why the mind that made the motor would bother with practical applications. For him, the mind is cut off not just from the body but from practical life. Again, Dagny represents the integrated whole when she concludes that the motors inventor worked within the reality of practical life because he liked living on earth.
Motifs Motifs are recurring structures, contrasts, or literary devices that can help to develop and. The literary device of rhetorical questioning frequently draws attention to key thematic elements. The most obvious example is the unanswerable Who is John Galt? The question takes on many layers of meaning: Stadlers What can you do when you have to deal with people?
For example, Stadlers disillusioned question is turned against him when Floyd Ferris uses it to coerce him into speaking at the demonstration of Project X. Motive Power. Motors are everywhere in the novel. The revolutionary motor built by John Galt embodies the power to harness energy and move things with it. Metaphorically, the motive power of the world is in the rational mind, and when the mind is withdrawn, the motor of the world begins to stop.
In a real sense, motive power is essential to Dagny, who continually searches for decent locomotives to pull her trains.
Bridges serve to represent the great things that can be accomplished by the application of the mind. Reardens design for the bridge on the John Galt Line, the first to be made from Rearden Metal, shows a creative solution to a problem that he takes joy in solving.
Similarly, the great Taggart Bridge, which links the East and West in a single transcontinental line, represents the product of Dagnys grandfather Nathaniels tireless effort and ingenuity.
The destruction of the bridge in the Project X disaster demonstrates that the products of the creative mind are no longer appreciated or understood, and the end is near. Symbols Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts. The Sign of the Dollar. The dollar sign is the symbol of the strikers. Their cigarettes are stamped with it, and their town square displays a giant dollar sign.
For them, the symbol is not merely shorthand for money, but a symbol of a way of life. The dollar sign represents the things it is exchanged for, namely, the productive abilities of man and the goods and services created by the mind at work. The very existence of money suggests that there are goods produced and people able to produce them, which is what makes money meaningful and valued.
In his money speech, Francisco says, To trade by means of money is the code of the men of good will. The strikers value the dollar so much that they have their own mint in the valley and use only gold as the standard for exchange.
The Bracelet. The bracelet Rearden creates from the first batch of Rearden Metal symbolizes everything he has worked toward for ten years, and in a larger sense, the purest product of the unfettered, creative mind. It represents his pride in and love for his work, and he wants desperately to share these values with someone. Lillian, who hates and wants to destroy Rearden, misses the point entirely and wears the bracelet only to mock him. She wrongly interprets its meaning as a reference to her bondage, though it is clearly Rearden who is chained to her.
Dagny, on the other hand, understands all that the bracelet stands for and shares the values it represents, as demonstrated by her insistence on trading her diamonds for it.
In their reactions to the bracelet, we see a sharp contrast between the two women, and it becomes clear that Dagny is the one for Rearden.
Wyatts Torch. Before Ellis Wyatt disappears to join the strike, he destroys his own oil fields by setting fire to them, and the fires continue to burn night and day. Wyatts Torch, as the huge flame comes to be known, symbolizes his unwillingness to sanction and participate in the looters system or to offer them any useful resources to drain. The flame is a powerful symbol of individualism and the refusal to surrender the mind.
Wyatts Torch is the very last thing the passengers see before dying in the Taggart Tunnel disaster and the only part of the outside world visible to the residents of the valley. Atlas, the hero of Greek mythology who carried the weight of the heavens on his shoulders, symbolizes the exploited industrialists, particularly Rearden, whose hard work and great strength support the parasites who live off their productive capabilities.
When Francisco tells Rearden that he would advise Atlas to shrug and let go of his burden, he is referring to the strike and calling upon Rearden to lay down his burden and stop believing it is his duty to bear so much weight for the undeserving. Reardens only reward for his efforts is the persecution of a corrupt government and the exhaustion of carrying others.
Francisco knows it is unjust for Rearden, or anyone, to be cast in this role. By recruiting him for the strike, he tries to show Rearden a way out. An anonymous homeless man asks, Who is John Galt? Eddie is disturbed by the phrase, a slang reference to all that is hopeless and unknowable. As he looks around, he sees businesses failing everywhere. He remembers an oak tree he saw destroyed by lightning as a child.
He argues that the track must be replaced, but Taggart says he cannot do anything until the new track arrives from Orren Boyles Associated Steel. Eddie wants to use Rearden Steel, but Jim reminds him that Boyle is a good friend and deserves a break. Eddie counters that they risk losing every major shipper in Colorado to the Phoenix-Durango, a rapidly growing young railroad run by Dan Conway.
They have already lost the support of Ellis Wyatt, an entrepreneur who has found a way to revive exhausted oil wells. Wyatt Oil switched to the Phoenix-Durango when Taggart could not keep up with its shipments. Jim tells Eddie that nothing can be done.
After a trip to examine the Rio Norte Line, Dagny Taggart, Eddies boss and Jims sister, sits aboard a train, listening to the notes of a fantastic symphony. It turns out to be just a brakeman whistling.
He tells her the tune is Richard Halleys Fifth Concerto. When she tells him that is impossible, since Halley only wrote four concertos, he becomes evasive. Later, Dagny awakes to find the train has stopped. When she investigates, she finds the engineer refuses to take responsibility for moving the train ahead.
She identifies herself and orders him to move the train. Seeing how hard it is to find good men, she makes a note to herself to promote a talented employee named Owen Kellogg. At a meeting with her brother Jim, Dagny tells him that the problems with the Rio Norte are worse than they thought, so she has canceled the order with Orren Boyle and placed an order with Rearden Steel for a new alloy called Rearden Metal.
Jim complains that she had no authority from the Board and that they should give Boyle a chance as a little guy up against the larger Rearden Steel. He denounces her choice of Rearden Metal, an unproven new material that no one has been willing to try.
Dagny does not care what the others are doing. She knows that Rearden Metal is the best substance on the market. Jim evades the issue, but finally agrees to put the order through. Dagny calls the Music Publishing Company to inquire about Halleys Fifth Concerto, but is told that Halley has dropped out of public life and has not published anything in eight years.
Owen Kellogg comes to see Dagny. Before she can offer him a promotion, he informs her that he is quitting. She tries to discover his reason, but he seems to have none. She offers him anything he wants to stay, but he refuses.
If he loves his job, she asks, why leave? He shrugs and answers, Who is John Galt? SummaryChapter II: The Chain Hank Rearden watches happily as the first heat for the first order of Rearden Metal is poured. As he walks home, he thinks of the ten years of trial and effort that yielded the new alloy and of his early years of hard work in the mines and his steady rise to ownership of mines and mills.
Arriving home he finds his wife talking to his mother, his brother Philip, and Paul Larkin, an unsuccessful businessman and old friend. He apologizes for being late but finds that he cannot tell them about Rearden Metal, knowing they will not share his joy.
His family insults him and his devotion to his work, scolding him for working so much and not caring about them. He presents his wife Lillian with a bracelet, a chain poured from the first order of Rearden Metal. His mother reprimands him for thinking that his metal should be like diamonds to his wife. Rearden feels only an incredible sense of exhaustion and confusion over what his family wants from him.
Although he supports them, they seem to want to hold some claim over him. They profess love for him, but despise all the qualities in him that he feels are worthy of love. Paul Larkin approaches Rearden and advises him to ease up on his individualism. He reminds Rearden that he should pay attention to his man in Washington. Rearden knows that every day it becomes more important to have a strong lobbyist and protection against the legislature, but he cannot bring himself to think about it with any conviction.
Decay is rampant and unavoidable. Businesses are failing, and companies that remain in business face shortages and delays. People respond with a helpless sense of doom, epitomized in the rhetorical question, Who is John Galt? The question represents a melancholy shrug, a declaration of defenselessness before a force too terrifying and massive to combat or even comprehenda pervasive hopelessness and loss of spirit.
The oak tree that Eddie remembers serves as an apt metaphor for societys decay. Eddie recalls that after lightning struck the tree, he looked inside to see that it was already dead, and the trunk had been a mere shell all along. Similarly, society has begun to decay from the inside out. From our first introduction to them, we see the sharp contrast between Dagny and her brother Jim.
Each represents a different side in the central struggle of the book. Dagny is strong, bold, and confident, and represents Rands vision of capitalism. She finds joy in productive, meaningful work. She makes decisions based on rational, objective facts. Her choice of Rearden Metal is based solely on her study of its merits and potential to yield profit. Jim, on the other hand, is weak and depends on public opinion for his decisions. He fears using Rearden Metal simply because no one else has used it yet.
He is an example of Rands view of socialism, with its focus on sacrificing for the public good and helping little guys even when others have better products. The issues of personal responsibility and commitment to work are also demonstrated in these chapters. The weak deflect blame and refuse to take actions for which they might be held responsible, while the strong rely on their own judgment and accept responsibility.
The engineer on the train will not move it from its siding until Dagny agrees to be responsible for the orders. Jim argues that the situation on the Rio Norte Line is not his fault and refuses to agree to the download of Rearden Metal unless Dagny will take responsibility for it.
In this environment of deflection and apathy, men of talent appear to be disappearing, a fact that Dagny has begun to notice. The withdrawal of Richard Halley from public life is mysterious, even more so after Dagny hears his Fifth Concerto which does not exist, according to his.
She is also perplexed by the retirement of Owen Kellogg. Despite a promising career at Taggart, he leaves a job he loves, offering no reason and no stated plans. Dagny wonders why the irresponsible remain while the talented men seem to be first to quit. In Hank Rearden, Rand offers an example of a successful industrialist moved to joy by the fruits of his own labor. He believes in what he can see and make, and is driven above all else by his love for his work.
He is self-motivated and self-actualized, though his family calls him selfish. He is selfish in the sense that he is motivated to do things for himself, not for the benefit of others. For Ayn Rand, being motivated by his own values makes Rearden not only successful but virtuous. His family stands in sharp contrast to him. They are driven by their own weakness to take from him, while encouraging him to feel guilty.
Their ability to control him depends on his acceptance of his guilt. This dynamic is central to the looters way of life. By making the strong feel guilty for their strength and responsible for the weak, the looters are able to continue living off producers without producing anything themselves. Rearden fails to understand this paradigm in his personal life even while recognizing it in his work.
This split in his personality represents a weakness he must overcome. When he gives the bracelet of Rearden Metal to Lillian, she comments that it represents the bondage in which he keeps them, but clearly Rearden is the one enslaved to his family.
The seemingly casual conversation between Rearden and Paul Larkin offers the reader an ominous foreshadowing of the political events to come. As a self-made man, Rearden has little patience for the games one must play in politics. Preferring to spend his time in his lab and mills, he has not been closely involved in his Washington Mans activities, an omission that will have grave consequences.
The Top and the Bottom In a dark bar, four men discuss the state of the nations economy. Orren Boyle argues that Rearden Steel has an unfair advantage because it owns iron mines, while his Associated Steel does not.
Jim Taggart agrees to use his influence in Washington to force Rearden to give up the mines. Paul Larkin, also at the meeting, agrees to receive the mines from Rearden but give the ore directly to Boyle. In return, Jim wants Boyle to convince friends on the National Alliance of Railroads to force Dan Conway out of Colorado on the grounds that his Phoenix-Durango Line offers cutthroat competition to Taggart in a state where Taggart had operations first.
Wesley Mouch, Reardens Washington Man, is also present. In return for Mouchs not warning Rearden, Jim agrees to find him a bureaucratic post in Washington. There are rumors that Mexico is going to nationalize the line, but Boyle refutes them. He tells Jim that on a recent visit, he rode in old, run-down trains. Back at the office, Jim confronts Dagny about the shoddy trains. She tells him she has removed everything of value from the San Sebastian Line to minimize Taggarts losses if Mexico nationalizes the line.
They argue about the San Sebastian Line, the first major project Jim began after becoming president of Taggart, and one Dagny has opposed from the beginning, believing the resources were needed on the Rio Norte Line. Jim reminds her that Mexico has guaranteed their property rights for two hundred years and argues that he built it for the good of the Mexican people.
But he also built the line in order to reap a huge profit from the nearby dAnconia copper mines. Dagny reminds him that Francisco dAnconia, formerly an industrial genius, has become a worthless playboy in recent years and has yet to produce any copper from the mines. Eddie Willers enters the cafeteria of the Taggart Terminal. He sits, as he often does, with a grease-stained worker. Eddie has always liked this worker and feels comfortable with him, although he does not know his name. Eddie complains about the decay slowly eating the world and the railroad.
He has hope, however, because Dagny has found a reliable contractor and is going to fix the Rio Norte Line. The worker inquires about Dagnys personal life, and Eddie tells him what he knows.
He is surprised by the workers interest. SummaryChapter IV: No one knows where he has gone. In his report to the Board of Directors, Jim takes full credit for Dagnys decision to remove the most valuable equipment from Mexico before the San Sebastian Railroad was nationalized.
The members of the National Alliance of Railroads approve a proposal known as the Antidog-eat-dog Rule, designed to reduce competition among railroads. According to the proposal, the interests of the whole industry are to be determined by majority vote, and each company. Dagny goes to see Dan Conway, president of the Phoenix-Durango railroad, which will cease to exist under the new rule. She urges him to fight, but he is too tired and has decided to retire. Dagny had intended to compete with him in Colorado, but she cannot stand to defeat him in this fashion.
She feels like a looter. He tells her to get her Rio Norte Line up and running quickly, because the fate of Ellis Wyatt depends on it. He issues her an ultimatum. If she does not give him the transportation he needs, he will take her company down with him.
She tells him that he will have the transportation he needs in time. He is surprised, having expected excuses and evasion. Dagny goes to see Hank Rearden. She tells him about the Wyatt meeting and tells him they must rebuild the line in nine months, not twelve. He assures her that he will be able to provide what she needs.
Rearden is surprised and delighted that she deals with him on his own level and thinks he has finally met a woman he can understand.
He tells her that it is people like them who move the world and who will ultimately pull it through. Instead of trading value for value, the looters trade favors.
Influence has become a form of currency and a basis for decisions that defy logic. As a result, the weak profit at the expense of the strong. Taggart lost business to Conways Phoenix-Durango Line because Conway offered a better service, but Conway will lose anyway because of the involvement of influence peddlers. Similarly, Boyle will profit at the expense of Rearden, although Reardens product is far superior.
Although the overall harm to the industries seems minimal now, this trend, if left unchecked, may have grave consequences. In sharp contrast, Dagny, Rearden, and Wyatt engage in straightforward and honest dealings. For these industrialists, business transactions depend solely on mutual self-interest. They download the best goods at the best prices and sell their best products for the highest price they can get.
Wyatts shock at the straight answers he receives from Dagny when he confronts her about fixing the Rio Norte Line demonstrate how rare this candor has become in an era of evasion and double-speak. Jims actions reveal the corruption behind the so-called altruism of socialist endeavors. He argues publicly that he has built the San Sebastian Line to bring service to the Mexican people, who have no railroads of their own.
In fact, he is motivated by the profits he hopes to make from the dAnconia mines as well as by the desire to improve his stature among his Washington friends by helping the government appear self-sacrificing in regard to the poor Mexicans. Throughout the novel, laws and directives presented by the government as protection for a fragile economy contain similar hidden motives.
Behind them all are looters who stand, not coincidentally, to gain in profit and influence. Rands warnings about the effects of socialism begin to build. The books characters still regard the nationalization of the San Sebastian Line, along with the creation of Peoples States all over the world as a faraway event. For most readers, Communism is a similarly remote threat.
But Rand had firsthand experience with the effects of nationalization and the creation of a Communist state, and her hatred of the system is more than just ideological.
Throughout the novel, threats become more and more immediate. Rights are gradually eroded,.
Atlas Shrug, Essay.pdf - Hannah Smith In the novel Atlas...
The passage of the Anti-dog-eat-dog Rule illustrates the mistakes that occur when individuals submit to majority rule. Dan Conway knows the rule is wrong, morally and economically, but he feels he has no choice but to abide by the majoritys decision. In effect, he surrenders his mind to the group and allows himself to support the destruction of his own business.
For Rand, nothing could be worse than the idea that a rational man must subordinate himself to an irrational group. Some important mysteries are introduced in these chapters. We learn that Francisco has been one of the most successful businessmen of all time. His endeavors are so successful that Jim willingly risks millions of dollars on his unproved mines.
When Dagny points out that Francisco is no longer the man he was, having degenerated from unlimited potential to a playboys life of decadence, we learn that she has known him well in the past. The questions raised for the reader are: Why would such a man choose to squander his talents? Why do so many talented men like him continue to disappear? Where do they go? Why do they seem to vanish just when they are needed most, as did McNamara the contractor?
Who is the man Eddie dines with in the cafeteria, and why is he so interested in Dagny?
The Climax of the dAnconias The Mexican government has discovered, upon nationalizing Francisco dAnconias San Sebastian mines, that the mines are completely worthless. Dagny is furious. On her way to confront Francisco, she remembers the way he used to be. His summer visits were the highlight of her childhood, as they played together and dreamed of taking over their families businesses.
Later, they had become lovers. But the affair ended ten years ago when Francisco left her. Leaving was torture for him, but he said he had no choice and warned her not to ask any questions. He said that he would do things that soon would make her denounce him, and she has. Over the next few years, Francisco became the most notorious playboy in the world, squandering his fortune on foolishness.
Dagny confronts Francisco. She asks him why he deliberately invested in worthless mines and ruined the fortunes of his stockholders, among them James Taggart. She tells him that he should be fighting hardest against the looters of the world. He responds that in fact he is fighting against her and her railroad. She is horrified. She asks him what he is trying to do, and why, but he tells her that she is not ready to hear it. She does not have enough courage yet. SummaryChapter VI: The Non-Commercial Lillian Rearden throws a party to celebrate her wedding anniversary.
Hank Rearden agrees to attend out of a sense of duty, though he dreads it. He would rather be working to find a replacement for the recently resigned superintendent of one of his mills. Dagny also attends. Although she feels there is much to celebrate in the progress of the Colorado track, Rearden is unexpectedly cold toward her.
The party guests are writers, intellectuals, and other important figures in society. Their conversations suggest the futility of the times. Pritchett argues that man is nothing but a collection of chemicals, with only instinct as his guide.
Balph Eubank contends that true literature is about suffering and defeat, because it is impossible to be happy. The only thing one can live for is brother-love. The intellectuals agree that need is the only valid consideration, that whatever is good for society is right.
Francisco dAnconia enters the party. Rearden asks Lillian to keep Francisco away from him. Jim Taggart pulls dAnconia aside to confront him about the San Sebastian mines. Francisco responds that he only did what the entire world is now preaching. He hired men not because they were competent, but because they needed the work.
He did not work for profit, but took a loss. Everyone criticizes industrialists for their domineering nature, so he simply let his underlings control the venture. Jim is helpless and furious. After some time, Francisco approaches Rearden and tells him that he came to the party simply because he wanted to meet him. He approaches him with such sincerity that Rearden finds himself listening. Franciscos message is mysterious, but Rearden is drawn to it.
He asks why Rearden carries so many people, why he is willing to work and let others feed off his energy. Rearden responds that it is because they are weak and that he does not mind the burden.
Francisco corrects him and tells him the others are not weak; they have his own guilt as a weapon against him. A woman at the party professes to know the identity of John Galt. She says Galt was a millionaire who discovered Atlantis.
Dagny does not believe the story, but Francisco steps in and announces that he does. Dagny admires Lillians bracelet made of Rearden Metal. When Lillian mockingly complains that she would gladly exchange it for diamonds, Dagny offers her own diamond bracelet, which Lillian is forced to accept. Rearden watches, visibly shaken, but stands by his wife, coldly telling Dagny that her action was not necessary. By deliberately investing in worthless mines, he has destroyed his own fortune.
What could possibly have motivated him? Dagnys memory of their affair reveals him to be even more complicated. Clearly, he loved her very much, yet he chose to leave her and pursue a worthless existence, seemingly against his own desires.
The question of why he left her and why he is working to destroy her railroad along with his mines is at the heart of the novel. But neither Dagny nor the reader is ready to know the answers just yet. Lillians party guests demonstrate the cynical and hopeless state of the culture. Intellectuals speak aimlessly of the futility of thought, the death of reason, and the supremacy of need. When Francisco tells Jim his mismanagement of the mines was merely putting societys vague words into action, he begins to demonstrate the absurdity involved in the practical application of socialist ideas.
But Jim does not hear him or understand the absurdity.His comments foreshadow the absurdity to come, as lawmakers create policies that are contradictory and illogical, then wonder at their failure. She completed her first novel, We the Living, in , but was rejected by every American publisher she approached. Men with influence manage to acquire much more than their fair share, while legitimate orders go unfilled. At the wedding, Lillian notices Dagny wearing the Rearden Metal bracelet and asks for it back, but Dagny refuses.
She understands that love is an emotional response, as are friendship and admiration, when one encounters a person who embodies his or her values.
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