It's difficult not to notice that the vast majority of heroes in Atlas Shrugged are unmarried and have no kids.

  • Dagny Taggart - unmarried, no kids
  • John Galt - unmarried, no kids
  • Francisco - unmarried, no kids
  • Hugh Akston - unmarried, no kids
  • Ellis Wyatt - unmarried, no kids
  • Quentin Daniels - unmarried, no kids
  • (many others)

There are a few notable exceptions:

  • Rearden is married but his wife is a malicious looter and his brother is a mooch and a weasel.
  • Ragnar Danneskjöld is married to Kay Ludlow, and there are a few children in the valley.

But there is certainly a trend and commonality that the heroes don't have families. Why is this? Is Rand anti-family? We know she was happily married, but I believe had no kids. Perhaps family connections in Atlas would have presented plot difficulties? Is she making a statement that families get in the way of industrial achievement?

  • I have not read "Atlas shrugged", but I have read "The fountainhead" and "We the living" and to the extent what I could understand from Rand's writing is that she is not against children or marriage but she as a very creative, thinks that marriage and family can come in between her creativity and hamper it. She believe that a man should never let anything come in between his work. In the end of the novel "The fountainhead" Howard Roark gets married, but about children, I am unsure. Also in "We the living", Kira lives with his boyfriend but they are not married. Commented Jun 18, 2019 at 8:15

1 Answer 1


Ayn Rand does not strike me as a nurturing soul. There does seem to be a contradiction between the narcissistic self-obsession I associate her with and giving thought to taking care of other people which children would entail.

I wonder whether the lack of children in her marriage was mostly imposed by her choice or also supported by Frank O'Connor? I note also that although they were married it seems like there was little mutual compromise involved.

  • 4
    Hi and welcome to Literature Stack Exchange. What you write about Ayn Rand (not a nurturing soul, narcissistic self-obsession) may well be true, but you can significantly improve you answer by expanding it with evidence from her books. Looking forward to those improvements :-)
    – Tsundoku
    Commented Mar 3, 2023 at 9:14
  • Also, do you have a reference for the state of her marriage?
    – bobble
    Commented Mar 3, 2023 at 14:25

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