Atlas Shrugged

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Atlas Shrugged

Rand was born Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum on February 2, 1905in Saint Petersburg. She visited relatives in America in 1926 and was so impressed with The United States, she decided to stay. She was educated at a Russian university after the reveloution. Rand was motivated to write novels like Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead by the time her family spent in Russia during the Bolshevik Reveloution. During this time, the communist government took her fathers business. Once she came to America, she became strongly pro-capitalist. She was given the Prometheus award for Atlas Shrugged.

Atlas Shrugged

First off, let me say this will be a very vauge, broad summary of the book, as it is 1072 pages long in about size 8 font.The story starts with Taggart Transcontiental struggling with thier Rio Norte Line into Mexico. Dagny is opposed to the idea, she thinks that the Mexican government will nationalize the line. James is sure that they will be grateful, and that it is the social responsibilty of Taggart Transcontiental to help the underdeveloped nation. Surely enough, later the line is nationalized. This is a start of a trend of things going wrong for TT and the rest of the world. The world is moving towards an altruistic policy of self-immolation. Later, the "Anti-Dog Eat Dog" rule is instituted by the unification board. It stops companies from outproducing thier compitition in the name of fairness. Then, the unification act, which states that no entity may own more than one business. This means that Hank Rearden has to sell his ore and coal mines to a business partner, Paul Larkin. Paul assures him that he will keep Hank in charge and nothing will change. Days later, Paul changes Hanks shipping policies because the local rails "need" his business. Then he cuts Hank off because smaller companies "need" the ore more. It all comes to a climax when the board institutes Directive 10-289, which states that all wages remain the same as they are now, noone may quit their job, be fired, promoted or demoted and no new workers can be hired. Men start deserting their jobs and roaming, and the minds of the world start leaving without a trace, gone with nothing but a note, usually to the effect of "I have seen him" or "I'm leaving it as I found it. It's all yours" (After their property is nationalized). Somebody is taking all the great producers of the world and without the big businessmen that society once cursed, it is all falling apart. Then everyone remembers the worker at the 20th Century Motor Company who left after a policy of "From each according to his ablilty, to each according to his need" was instituted, threatening "I will stop the motor of the world". Few know besides the men that were at that meeting, but the man had a name that they had all been wondering about for 12 years. Dagny finds a motor at the remains of the 20th Century Motor, which old lab notes help determine used produced static eletrecity in the air and then used it, making infinite, free energy. She finds that the young engineer who made the motor left, 12 years ago. Throughout this title you will find yourself asking questions about the plot that you won't find the answer to until about 700 pages in. "Why is Francisco wasting himself on such a petty life?" "Where do the great men of the world keep disappering to?" "Where did the cigarette with the sign of the dollar near the filter come from?" "Who invented this 20th Century motor?" "Who is John Galt?"

Atlas Shrugged is a fictionalized versoin of Ayn Rand's take on the philosophy of Objectivism.


Dagny Taggart- Railroad executive who struggles throughout the book fighting a losing battle against looters and altruists. She refuses to give up and leave. Dagny represents the stubborn businesswoman who is smart, but refuses to accept what is in front of her.James Taggart- Dagny's brother, James is the President of Taggart Transcontinental. He is a moron who takes credit for Dagny's work. He feels what he does is just and "for the people." He represents the ignorant looters.Eddie Willers- Eddie is an old friend to the Taggarts and works for Dagny. Eddie has the spirit of the heros of the book and above average ability, but not enough to match those like Dagny, and he is even more determined to never leave the rail to its fate. He represents the everyman, the average Joe. He is used to give the reader a place to insert themselves.Francisco d'Anconia- The heir to d'Anconia Copper, his family has been famous for being the best at whatever they try for generations, and Francisco only raises the bar. He has never failed anything he tried, he seems perfect. But for some reason, he is wasting his potential ruining the d'Anconia fortune and running the mines into the ground. He is later revealed to have ties to another group that explains his behavior. Francisco represents the capable producers.Hank Rearden- Hank is the unbreakable man. The unstopable force. The immovable object. He started working at an iron mine, and through his effort, he earned enough to buy the mine as it crashed, then turn it around for a huge profit. Years later, he runs Rearden Steel, the worlds biggest name in steel and metallurgy in general. Hank shoulders the burden of all those around him and keeps moving. Hank is the man whose only mistake is trying to please everyone at his own expense.Wesly Mouch- Wesly is the leader of the Unification Board, whose sole purpose is to make the lives of capable men as hard as possible in the name of the "need" of the poor. He is the leader of the looters.John Galt-"Why ask senseless questions? How high is the sky? How deep is the sea? Who is John Galt?" "Who is John Galt?" is practically the themesong to Atlas Shrugged, as it is repeated constantly as to point out an unanwserable question. However, some may know who John Galt is, those who speak of the lost city of Atlantis.

Ayn Rand



Quotes:"“If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders - What would you tell him?"I…don't know. What…could he do? What would you tell him?"To shrug.” -A dialogue between Hank and Francisco where Francisco tries to show Hank what he is doing by trying to carry his entire world himself.“I started my life with a single absolute: that the world was mine to shape in the image of my highest values and never to be given up to a lesser standard, no matter how long or hard the struggle.”-Dagny Taggart"I swear, by my life and my love of it, that i will never live for the sake of another man, nor will I ask another man to live for mine."-Inscription carved over a door.

Learn more about Ayn Rand here, at the website for the Ayn Rand Institute

Seth NewlinMr BurgnerEnglish II02/11/14


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