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A conflict ensues: Society requires idealists to change their attitudes to respect its wants; idealists want society to change in order to improve. However, the transcendentalists of whom Emerson speaks are not seasoned philosophers; rather, they are thinkers groping to find their own way in the world. They do not have full-fledged plans and programs for the benefit of society but may simply offer guidance in understanding new ideas. In the essay's last two paragraphs, Emerson asserts that we have a duty to the idealists. Intellectuals are as necessary to a society as laborers, craftsmen, and farmers.

These are the people who make new discoveries and offer a moral compass for society, which wants only improved technology, better communication, a higher standard of living all material things. Emerson calls for a voice advocating improvements in the spiritual realm: "Perhaps too there might be room for the exciters and monitors; collectors of the heavenly spark with power to convey the electricity to others.

Their apparent silence and inaction will benefit society and be a model for the future. Read Free For 30 Days. A rich summary on the Essey "The Transcendentalist" by Emerson. Flag for inappropriate content.

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Search inside document. Summary and Analysis of The Transcendentalist Paragraphs - Materialism versus Idealism What people refer to as "transcendentalism" is really the long-known philosophy called idealism. Ger C. Gustavo Bravo. Corneliu Negru. Noemi Manaois Rosario. Clive Reedman. Ray Langenbach. Zulfiqar Ali. Gisele Toassa. Traci J. Sacheen Kulkarni. Christopher Eby. Susana Bruno. Set van Kouwenhoven. Marianne Zipf. Laura Severino. Connee Pike. Madhav Silwal. More From Franco Morelli. Franco Morelli. Popular in Culture. Rand argues that all human progress and prosperity depend on rational thinking.

For example, human beings have cured such diseases as malaria, polio, dysentery, cholera, diphtheria, and tuber- culosis. Man has learned to fly, erect cities and skyscrapers, grow an abundant food supply, and create computers. Humans have been to the moon and back and have invented the telephone, radio, television, and a thousand other life-promoting technologies.

All of these achievements result from the hitman appUcation of a rational mind to practical ques- tions of survival. If the intellectuals responsible for such advances aban- don the world, regression to the primitive conditions of the Dark Ages would result. But what would motivate intellectuals to such an extreme act as going on strike? We are used to hearing about strikes that protest conditions considered oppressive or intolerable by workers.

The thinkers go on strike in Atlas Shrugged to protest the oppression of their intel- lect and creativity. The thinkers in Atlas Shrugged strike on behalf of individual rights and political freedom. They strike against an enforced moral code of self-sacrifice — the creed that human life must be devoted to serving the needs of others. Above all, the thinkers strike to prove that reason is the only means by which man can imderstand reality and make proper deci- sions; emotions should not guide human behavior. In short, the cre- ative minds are on strike in support of a person's right to think and live independently.

In the novel, the withdrawal of the great thinkers causes the collapse of the American economy and the end of dictatorship. The strike proves the role that the rational mind plays in the attainment of progress and Introduction to the Novel prosperity. The emphasis on reason is the hallmark of Ayn Rand's fic- tion. All of her novels, in one form or another, glorify the life-giving power of the human mind. For example, in The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand emphasizes the inde- pendent nature of the mind's functioning — that rational individuals neither conform to society nor obey authority, but trust their own judg- ment.

In her early novelette Anthem, Ayn Rand shows that under a col- lectivist dictatorship, the mind is stifled and society regresses to a condition of primitive ignorance. Anthem focuses on the mind's need for political freedom. The focus of Atlas Shrugged is the role that the human mind plays in human existence. Atlas Shrugged shows that rational thinking is mankind's survival instrument, just as the ability to fly is the survival tool for birds.

In all of her major novels, Ayn Rand presents heroes and heroines who are brilliant thinkers opposed to either society's pressure to conform or a dictatorial government's commands to obey. The common denominator in all of her books is the life-and- death importance, for both the individual and society, of remaining true to the mind. Objectivism in Action In Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand presents, for the first time and in a dramatized form, her original philosophy of Objectivism. She exem- plifies this philosophy in the lives of the heroes and in the action of the story.

Objectivism holds that reason — not faith or emotionalism — is man's sole means of gaining knowledge. Her theory states that an indi- vidual has a right to his or her own life and to the pursuit of his or her own happiness, which is counter to the view that man should sacrifice himself to God or society. Objectivism is individualistic, holding that the purpose of government is to protect the sovereign rights of an indi- vidual.

This philosophy opposes the coUectivist notion that society as a whole is superior to the individual, who must subordinate himself to its requirements. Objectivism upholds full laissez-faire capitalism — a system of free markets that legally pre- vent the government from restricting man's productive activities — as the only philosophical system that protects the freedom of man's mind, the rights of the individual, and the prosperity of man's life on earth. Because of Ayn Rand's uncompromising defense of the mind, of the individual, and of capitalism. Atlas Shrugged created great controversy on its publication in The book has sold millions of copies and influenced the lives of countless readers.

Since , Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism has gradually taken hold in Ameri- can society. Today, her books and ideas are becoming widely taught in high schools and universities. Dagny Taggart, vice president in charge of oper- ations for Taggart Transcontinental Railroad, seeks to rebuild the crum- bling track of the Rio Norte Line that serves Ellis Wyatt's oil fields and the booming industrial areas of Colorado.

The country is in a down- ward economic spiral with businesses closing and men out of work. Other countries in the world have become socialist Peoples' States and are destitute. Colorado, based on Wyatt's innovative method of extract- ing oil from shale, is the last great industrial center on earth. Dagny intends to provide Colorado the train service it requires, but her brother James Taggart, president of Taggart Transcontinental, tries to block her from getting new rails from Rcarden Steel, the last reliable steel manu- facturer James wants to do business with the inefficient Associated Steel, which is run by his friend Orren Boyle.

Dagny wants the new rail to be made of Rearden Metal, a new alloy that Hank Rearden developed afi:er ten years of experiment. Because the metal has never been tried and has been denounced by metallurgists, James won't accept responsibility for using it. Dagny, who studied engineering in college, has seen the results of Rearden's tests. She accepts the responsibility and orders the rails made of Rearden Metal. Worsening the economic depression in the U. For example, Owen Kellogg, a bright young Taggart employee for whom Dagny had great hopes, tells her that he is leaving the railroad.

McNamara, a con- tractor who was supposed to rebuild the Rio Norte Line, retires unex- pectedly. As more great men disappear, the American people become increasingly pessimistic. Dagny dislikes the new phrase that has crept into the language and signifies people's sense of futility and despair. Nobody knows the origin or exact meaning of the question "Who is John Gait? Dagny rejects the widespread pessimism and finds a new contractor for the Rio Norte Line. Introduction to the Novel The crisis for Taggart Transcontinental worsens when the raihoad's San Sebastian Line proves to be worthless and is nationalized by the Mcjcican government.

The Une, which cost millions of dollars, was sup- posed to provide freight service for the San Sebastian Mines, a new ven- ture by Francisco d'Anconia, the wealthiest copper industrialist in the world. Francisco was Dagny's childhood friend and her former lover, but she now regards him as a worthless playboy. In this latest venture, d'Anconia has steered investors completely wrong, causing huge finan- cial losses and a general sense of unrest.

James Taggart, in an attempt to recover the railroad's losses on the San Sebastian Line, uses his political friendships to influence the vote of the National Alliance of Railroads. The Alliance passes what's known as the "Anti-dog-eat-dog rule," prohibiting "cutthroat" competition. The rule puts the superb Phoenbc-Durango Railroad, Taggart Transcon- tinental's competitor for the Colorado freight trafiSc, out of business. Dagny asks Francisco, who is in New York, what his purpose was in building the worthless Mexican mines.

He tells her that it was to dam- age d'Anconia Copper and Taggart Transcontinental, as well as to cause secondary destructive consequences. Dagny is dumbfounded, unable to reconcile such a destructive purpose from the brilliant, productive industrialist Francisco was just ten years earlier. Not long after this con- versation, Francisco appears at a celebration for Hank Rearden's wed- ding anniversary.

Rearden's wife Lillian, his mother, and his brother are nonproductive freeloaders who believe that the strong are morally obliged to support the weak. Rearden no longer loves and cannot respect them, but he pities their weakness and carries them on his back. Fran- cisco meets Rearden for the first time and warns him that the freeload- ers have a weapon that they are using against him. Rearden questions why Francisco has come to the party, but Francisco says that he merely wished to become acquainted with Rearden. He won't explain his pres- ence any fiarther. Although public opinion and an incompetent contractor are work- ing against them, Dagny and Rearden build the Rio Norte Line.

The State Science Institute, a government research organization, tries to bribe and threaten Rearden to keep his metal off the market, but he won't give in. Taggart stock crashes, the contractor quits, and the raikoad union forbids its employees to work on the Rio Norte Line. When Dr. Robert Stadler, a brilliant theoreti- cal scientist in whose name the State Science Institute was founded, refuses to publicly defend Rearden Metal even though he knows its value, Dagny makes a decision. She tells her brother that she will take a leave of absence, form her own company, and build the Rio Norte Line on her ovm.

She signs a contract saying that when the line is suc- cessfully completed, she'll turn it back over to Taggart Transcontinen- tal. Dagny chooses to name it the John Gait Line in defiance of the general pessimism that surrounds her. Rearden and the leading businessmen of Colorado invest in the John Gait Line. Rearden feels a strong sexual attraction to Dagny but, because he regards sex as a demeaning impulse, doesn't act on his attraction.

The government passes the Equalization of Opportunity Bill that prevents an individual from owning companies in different fields. The bill pro- hibits Rearden from owning the mines that supply him with the raw materials he needs to make Rearden Metal. However, Rearden creates a new design for the John Gait Line's Rearden Metal Bridge, realizing that if he combines a truss with an arch, it will enable him to maximize the best qualities of the new metal. Dagny completes construction of the Line ahead of schedule.

She and Rearden ride in the engine cab on the Line's first train run, which is a resounding success. Rearden and Dagny have dinner at EUis Wyatt's home to celebrate. After dinner, Dagny and Rearden make love for the first time. The next day, Rearden is contemptuous of them both for what he considers their low urges, but Dagny is radiantly happy. She rejects Rearden's estimate, knowing that their sexual attraction is based on mutual admiration for each other's noblest qualities. Dagny and Rearden go on vacation together, driving around the country looking at abandoned factories.

At the ruins of the Twentieth Century Motor Company's factory in Wisconsin, they find the rem- nant of a motor with the potential to change the world. The motor was able to draw static electricity from the atmosphere and convert it to usable energy, but now it is destroyed. Realizing how much the motor would benefit the transportation industry, Dagny vows to find the inventor. At the same time, she must fight against new proposed legislation.

Various economic pressure groups, seeking to cash in on the industrial success of Colorado, want Introduction to the Novel the government to force the successful companies to share their prof- its. Dagny knows that the legislation would put Wyatt Oil and the other Colorado companies out of business, destroy the Rio Norte Line, and remove the profit she needs to rebuild the rest of the transcontinental rail system, but she's powerless to prevent the legislation.

Dagny continues her nationwide quest to find the inventor of the motor, and she finally finds the widow of the engineer who ran the auto- mobile company's research department. The widow tells Dagny that a young scientist working for her husband invented the motor. She does- n't know his name, but she provides a clue that leads Dagny to a cook in an isolated Wyoming diner. The cook tells Dagny to forget the inven- tor of the motor because he won't be found until he chooses. Dagny is shocked to discover that the cook is Hugh Akston, the world's greatest living philosopher.

She goes to Cheyenne and discovers that Wesley Mouch, the new economic coordinator of the country, has issued a series of directives that will result in the strangling of Colorado's industrial success. Dagny rushes to Colorado but arrives too late. Ellis Wyatt, in defiance of the government's edict, set fire to his oil weUs and retired. Months later, the situation in Colorado continues to deteriorate. With the Wyatt oil wells out of business, the economy struggles. Several of the other major industrialists have retired and disappeared; nobody knows where they've gone.

Dagny is forced to cut trains on the Colorado schedule. The one bright spot of her work is her continued search for the inventor of the motor. She speaks to Robert Stadler who recommends a young scientist, Quentin Daniels of the Utah Institute of Technology, as a man capable of undertaking the motor's reconstruction. The State Science Institute orders 10, tons of Rearden Metal for a top-secret project, but Rearden refuses to sell it to them.

Rearden overhears what Francisco says and finds himself increasingly drawn to this supposedly worthless playboy. The day following the reception, Rearden's wife discovers that he's having an affair, but she doesn't know with whom. A manipulator who seeks con- trol over her husband, Lillian uses guilt as a weapon against him. Ferris of the State Science Institute tells Rearden that he knows of the illegal sale to Ken Danagger and will take Rearden to trial if he refuses to sell the Institute the metal it needs.

Dagny, in the meantime, has become convinced that a destroyer is loose in the world — some evil creature that is deliberately luring away the brains of the world for a purpose she cannot understand. Her diligent assistant, Eddie Willers, knows that Dagny's fears are justified. He eats his meals in the workers' cafeteria, where he has befriended a nameless worker. Eddie tells the worker about Dagny's fear that Danagger is next in line for the destroyer — that he'll be the next to retire and disappear.

Dagny races to Pittsburgh to meet with Danagger to convince him to stay, but she's too late. Someone has already met with Danagger and convinced him to retire. In a mood of joyous serenity, Danagger tells Dagny that nothing could convince him to remain. The next day, he disappears.

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Francisco visits Rearden and empathizes with the pain he has endured because of the invention of Rearden Metal. Francisco begins to ask Rearden what could make such suffering worthwhile when an accident strikes one of Rearden's furnaces. Francisco and Rearden race to the scene and work arduously to make the necessary repairs. After- ward, when Rearden asks him to finish his question, Francisco says that he knows the answer and departs. At his trial, Rearden states that he doesn't recognize his deal with Danagger as a criminal action and, consequently, doesn't recognize the court's right to try him.

He says that a man has the right to own the product of his effort and to trade it voluntarily with others. The gov- ernment has no moral basis for outlawing the voluntary exchange of goods and services. The government, he says, has the power to seize his metal by force, and they have the power to compel him at the point of a gun. But he won't cooperate with their demands, and he won't pre- tend that the process is civil.

If the government wishes to deal with men by compulsion, it must do so openly. Rearden states that he won't help the government pretend that his trial is anything but the initiation of a forced seizure of his metal. He says that he's proud of his metal, he's proud of his mills, he's proud of every penny that he's earned by his own hard work, and he'll not cooperate by voluntarily yielding one cent that is his. Rearden says that the government will have to seize his money and products by force, just like the robber it is. At this point, the crowd bursts into applause.

The judges recognize the truth of what Rearden says and refuse to stand before the American people as open thieves. In the end, they fine Rearden and suspend the sentence. Because of the new economic restrictions, the major Colorado indus- trialists have all retired and disappeared. Freight traffic has dwindled.

The railroad is in terrible condition: It is losing money, the government has convinced James Taggart to grant wage raises, and there is ominous talk that the railroad will be forced to cut shipping rates. At the same time, Wesley Mouch is desperate for Rearden to cooperate with the increasingly dictatorial government. Mouch implies that a trade is possible: If Taggart can convince Rearden to cooperate, Mouch will prevent the government from forcing a cut in shipping rates. Taggart appeals to Lillian for help, and Lillian discovers that Dagny Taggart is her husband's lover.

In response to devastating economic conditions, the government passes the radical Directive , which requires that all workers stay at their current jobs, all businesses remain open, and all patents and inventions be voluntarily turned over to the government. When she hears the news, Dagny resigns from the railroad. Rearden doesn't resign from Rearden Steel, however, because he has two weeks to sign the cer- tificate turning his metal over to the government, and he wants to be there to reflise when the time is up.

Floyd Ferris of the State Sci- ence Institute comes to Rearden and says that the government has evi- dence of his affair with Dagny Taggart and will make it public — dragging Dagny 's name through the gutter — if he refuses to sign over his metal. Rearden now knows that his desire for Dagny is the highest virtue he possesses and is free of all guilt regarding it, but he's a man who pays his own way. He knows that he should have divorced Lillian long ago and openly declared his love for Dagny.

His guilt and error gave his enemies this weapon. He must pay for his own error and not allow Dagny to suffer, so he signs. Dagny has retreated to a hunting lodge in the mountains that she inherited from her father. She's trying to decide what to do with the rest of her life when word reaches her that a train wreck of enormous pro- portions has destroyed the famed Taggart Tunnel through the heart of the Rockies, making all transcontinental traffic impossible on the main track.

She rushes back to New York to resume her duties, and she reroutes all transcontinental traffic. She receives a letter from Quentin Daniels telling her that, because of Directive , he's quitting. Dagny plans to go west to inspect the track and to talk to Daniels. On the train ride west, Dagny rescues a hobo who is riding the rails.

He used to work for the Twentieth Century Motor Company. The first man to quit was a young engineer, who walked out of a mass meeting saying that he would put an end to this once and for all by "stopping the motor of the world. On her trip west, Dagny's train is stalled when the crew abandons it. She finds an airplane and continues on to Utah to find Daniels, but she learns at the airport that Daniels left with a visitor in a beautiful plane. Realizing that the visitor is the "destroyer," she gives chase, fly- ing among the most inaccessible peaks of the Rockies. Her plane crashes. Dagny finds herself in Atlantis, the hidden valley to which the great minds have gone to escape the persecution of a dictatorial government.

She finds that John Gait does exist and that he's the man she's been seek- ing in two ways: He is both the inventor of the motor and the "destroyer," the man draining the brains of the world. All the great men she admires are here — inventors, industrialists, philosophers, scientists, and artists. Dagny learns that the brains are on strike. They refuse to think, create, and work in a world that forces them to sacrifice them- selves to society. They're on strike against the creed of self-sacrifice, in favor of a man's right to his own life. Dagny falls in love with Gait, who has loved and watched her for years.

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But Dagny is a scab, the most dangerous enemy of the strike, and Gait won't touch her — yet. Dagny has the choice to join the strike and remain in the valley or go back to her railroad and the collapsing out- side world. She is torn, but she refuses to give up the railroad and returns. Although Gait's friends don't want him to expose himself to the danger, he returns as well, so he can be near at hand when Dagny decides she's had enough. When she returns, Dagny finds that the government has national- ized the railroad industry and controls it under a Railroad Unification Plan.

Dagny can no longer make business decisions based on matters of production and profit; she is subject to the arbitrary whims of the dictators. The government wants Dagny to make a reassuring speech to the public on the radio and threatens her with the revelation of her affair with Rearden. On the air, Dagny proudly states that she was Rear- den's lover and that he signed his metal over to the government only Introduction to the Novel because of a blackmail threat. Before being cut off the air, Dagny suc- ceeds in warning the American people about the ruthless dictatorship that the United States government is becoming.

Because of the government's socialist policies, the collapse of the U. He leaves the "looters" — the parasites who feed off the produc- ers — nothing, wiping out millions of dollars belonging to corrupt American investors like James Taggart. Meanwhile, politicians use their economic power to create their own personal empires.

In one such scheme, the Taggart freight cars needed to haul the Minnesota wheat harvest to market are diverted to a project run by the relatives of pow- erful politicians.


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The wheat rots at the Taggart stations, the farmers riot, farms shut down as do many of the companies providing them with equipment , people lose their jobs, and severe food shortages result. She sees him in the crowd of men ready to carry out her com- mands. After completing her task, Dagny walks into the abandoned tunnels, knowing that Gait will follow. They make love for the first time, and he then returns to his mindless labor.

The government smuggles its men into Rearden's mills, pretending that they're steelworkers. The union of steelworkers asks for a raise, but the government refuses, making it sound as if the refusal comes from Rearden. When Rearden rejects the Steel Unification Plan the govern- ment wants to spring on him, they use the thugs they've slipped into his mills to start a riot. The pretense of protecting Rearden is the gov- ernment's excuse for taking over his mills. But Francisco d'Anconia, under an assumed name, has taken a job at Rearden's mills. Fie organ- izes the workers, and they successfiiUy defend the mills against the gov- ernment's thugs.

Afterward, Francisco tells Rearden the rest of the things he wants him to know. Rearden retires, disappears, and joins the strike. Thompson, the head of state, is set to address the nation regard- ing its dire economic conditions. But before he begins to speak, he is preempted, cut off the air by a motor of incalculable power.

John Gait addresses the nation instead. Gait informs citizens that the men of the mind are on strike, that they require freedom of thought and action, and that they refuse to work under the dictatorship in power. The thinkers won't return. Gait says, until human society recognizes an CliffsNotes Rand's Atlas Shrugged individual's right to live his own life. Only when the moral code of self- sacrifice is rejected will the thinkers be free to create, and only then will they return.

The government rulers are desperate. Frantically, they seek John Gait. They want him to become economic dictator of the country so the men of the mind will come back and save the government, but Gait refuses. Realizing that Dagny thinks the same way that Gait does, the government has her followed.

Thompson makes clear to Dagny that certain members of the government fear and hate Gait, and that if they find him first, they may kill him. Terrified, Dagny goes to Gait's apartment to see if he's still alive. The government's men follow her and take Gait into custody, and the rulers attempt to convince Gait to take charge of the country's economy. He refuses. They torture him, yet still he refuses. In the end, the strikers come to his rescue. Francisco and Rearden, joined now by Dagny, assault the grounds of the State Science Institute where Gait is held captive.

They kill some guards and inca- pacitate others, release Gait, and return to the valley. Dagny and Gait are united. Shordy afi:er, the final collapse of the looters' regime occurs, and the men of the mind are free to return to the world. List of Characters John Gait The main character of the novel, John Gait is the man who dominates the action, though he doesn't appear until two- thirds of the way through the novel.

John Gait is the character who conceives, initiates, and carries to a successful conclusion the strike of the great minds that forms the core of the novel's action. He is both the inventor of the motor and the "destroyer" that Dagny fears. Her strength of purpose and impassioned commitment to the railroad enables her to withstand the injustices of the loot- ers' regime and, by her prodigious productivity, inadvertently sus- tain that regime.

She is the primary foe that Gait must defeat. Introduction to the Novel Hank Rearden Hank Rearden is the industrialist who runs the country's finest steel mills. Through ten years of herculean effort, he has invented a new substance — Rearden Metal — that is vastly superior to steel. Hank is also Dagny's colleague and lover through much of the story.

He is the other great industrialist inadvertently propping up the looters' regime and, consequently, also a danger to Gait's strike. Rearden has uncritically accepted part of the loot- ers' code — the moral premise that an individual has the unchosen obligation to serve others. In order to experience the joy that he has earned, Rearden must liberate himself from the shackles of the self-sacrifice morality.

Francisco d'AnCOnia a friend and ally of John Gait, Francisco d'Anconia was the first to join Gait in going on strike and is an active recruiting officer for the strike. Francisco is the world's wealthiest man, a brilliant copper industrialist who takes the dis- guise of a hedonistic playboy as a means of hiding his true intent: the gradual destruction of d'Anconia Copper and of the millions of dollars invested in it by American businessmen.

A childhood friend of Dagny's and her first lover, he pays the highest price for his role in the strike. A brilliant philosopher who chooses to fight the looters as a pirate, he robs their ships and restores the wealth to the people who produced it. Danneskjold is the opposite of Robin Hood: He robs the poor and gives to the rich — he takes from the parasitical and restores wealth to the productive. Hugh AkstOn Hugh Akston is the greatest living philosopher and the last great advocate of reason — or "the first of their return.

He joins Gait's strike in its early days, leading to the paradox of a great thinker earning his living as a short-order cook at an isolated diner. His music, boasting beautiful melodies and heroic themes, is rejected by a culture that worships depravity.

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He joins the strike when he comprehends the vast differences between the premises underlying his music and the ideas held by the men in power. Midas IVIulligan The most successful banker in the world, Mul- ligan owns the valley in a remote section of the Colorado Rockies to which the strikers retire. In the outside world. Mulligan was regarded as greedy and cold-hearted because he based his invest- ments on productive ability, not on need. He joins the strike because he realizes that he loves being alive and that this love can- not be fiilfiUed in a society that enslaves his mind.

Ellis Wyatt Ellis Wyatt is an innovative entrepreneur of the oil industry. His discovery of a new method for extracting oil from shale rock initiates the economic boom in Colorado. The indus- tries that grow up around Wyatt Oil are the last hope for the coun- try's prosperity.

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Wyatt is a defiant individualist who refuses to tolerate the destructive policies of the government. Rather than allow the rulers to slowly suck the blood from his business, he sets fires to his wells, resulting in the unquenchable "Wyatt's Torch. Andrew Stockton runs the country's finest foundry. Lawrence Hammond is the last manufacturer on earth of superb automobiles, and Dwight Sanders is a genius of the aviation industry.

However, all of them are destroyed by regulations the government imposes on Colorado. All of the Colorado Industrialists recognize the futility of attempting to produce under the socialist policies of the rulers and join Gait's strike seeking freedom. Like Rearden, Dannager recognizes the destructive nature of the rulers' laws and breaks them, engaging in illegal deals that are necessary if he wants to keep producing coal. He joins the strike after being arrested for his part in the transac- tion that results in Rearden's trial.

Introduction to the Novel Judge Narragansett judge Narra gansett is the legal figure who stands for the rule of objective law and the rights of the individual. He joins the strike when he understands that the administration of justice is impossible under the looters' arbitrary decrees. In the end, as the strikers prepare to return, he revises a clause in the United States Constitution, prohibiting the government from enacting laws that abridge the freedom of production and trade.

Dan Conway Dan Conway builds the tiny Phoenix-Durango Rail- road into the dominant railroad of the southwestern states. Because he provides such superb service to his shippers, James Taggart uses political influence to pass the "Anti-dog-eat-dog Rule, " putting Conway out of business. EddiS WillerS Dagny's childhood friend and assistant at Taggart Transcontinental, Eddie Willers is a conscientious worker and loyal employee of the railroad who is outraged by the restrictions that the looters place on America's most productive individuals.

Through Eddie, the mysterious railroad worker in the cafeteria gains important information regarding Dagny's work, the state of the railroad, and the conditions of American industry. Cherryl Brooks The poor shop girl who mistakenly idolizes James Taggart and marries him, Cherryl Brooks is a hero worshipper.

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She admires achievement and the individuals who attain it. Cherryl leaves the slum neighborhood in which she was raised to come to New York City to advance her career. Because of her ambition and her hero worship her virtues , James Taggart seeks to destroy her. He is powerless to destroy Dagny, Francisco, Rearden, and the oth- ers, so he wreaks his hatred of the good on Cherryl. The Wet Nurse The Wet Nurse is the young bureaucrat just out of college whom the government assigns as a spy to Rearden's mills. Despite being taught nothing but moral relativism by his teachers, the boy is sufficiently honest to recognize Rearden's moral stature and the looters' evil.

He grows into a legitimate hero worshipper like Cherryl and, similarly, is destroyed by the looters. Rearden demands and gets the most efficient labor force in the world, for which he pays wages sig- nificantly above union scale. Colby, a diligent worker, recognizes that Rearden is his ally, not a "class enemy. She's ruthlessly effi- cient in her work and intensely loyal to Rearden and his mills.

Her commitment to justice is shown when she cries at the news that Rearden has been robbed of his ore mines by the passage of the Equalization of Opportunity Bill. When Rearden retires and dis- appears, she too leaves the firm. James Taggart Dagny's older brother and the President of Tag- gart Transcontinental, Jim is a "looter" — a businessman who seeks gain not by productive work but by political connections. They both want to put the competitor out of business. Dagny wishes to do so by build- ing Taggart's Rio Norte Line into a more efficient road, whereas Jim seeks to destroy the Phoenix-Durango by political decree.

Where Dagny stands for production, Jim stands for force. Jim is motivated by his hatred of good men and his desire to kill such individuals as Dagny, Rearden, Francisco, and Gait. Lillian Rearden Lillian is Hank Rearden's wife. She cultivates con- nections with the looters in an attempt to reach the one goal of her life — the destruction of the husband she hates.

Envy and hatred of the good dominate her, just as they do James Taggart. Her chosen mission in life is destruction, but she's more honest with herself than Taggart is. Taggart attempts to delude himself into believing that he's motivated by a desire for material gain, whereas Lillian Rearden acknowledges that she's motivated solely by a desire to destroy the good that she can never hope to match. Introduction to the Novel Dr. A genius in the field of theoretical physics, he was also the teacher of Gait, Francisco, and Ragnar. Stadler believes that most men are irrational and impervious to rea- son.

Because men would never voluntarily choose science, they must be forced to support it. Stadler believes that the men of the mind are an endangered minority among the uneducated masses and should have the right to rule. For this reason, he thinks he can use governmental force to advance the cause of science.

Wesley Mouch The economic dictator of the country, Mouch is an unscrupulous mediocrity who begins his political career as Rear- den's "Washington man. Taggart's patronage enables Mouch to rise to the top of the economic bureaucracy. In the end, with the country in economic collapse, Mr. Thompson wishes to force Mouch's job on John Gait. Javascript is not enabled in your browser. Enabling JavaScript in your browser will allow you to experience all the features of our site. Learn how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

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