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Questions tagged [ayn-rand]

For questions about the Russian-American philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand or any of her literary works. If this question is about one of her books, the book in question should also be tagged.

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Why did Ellsworth Toohey advise people against doing what they really wanted when he was a career advisor?

Prior to his job on The Banner, Ellsworth Toohey spent awhile as a career advisor at a college. One of his distinctive traits as a career advisor was that he usually advised people against doing what ...
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What is Ayn Rand's view of marriage and children?

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 - ...
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Why did John Galt explain how to fix the torture device?

Consider the following segment from Atlas Shrugged: "But I don't know what's wrong with it." The man sighed, bewildered. "I don't know what to do." "It's the vibrator that's out of order," ...
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How did Guy Francon feel about the decline of his (former) firm after his retirement?

After he developed a number of highly successful buildings, Guy Francon was established enough in his reputation that he no longer had to do much actual design work on his own. Peter Keating privately ...
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Where did the Deserters go?

After Directive 10-289 went into effect, there were a large number of people who simply couldn't stand living under the circumstances created by the directive anymore and simply vanished. Most of them ...
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What were John Galt's criteria for being invited to Galt's Gulch?

Those who are in Galt's Gulch are there by invitation only. Dagny crashed the gate, but was clearly still on the future invite list. However, I find it interesting who got invited to Galt's Gulch and ...
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Why did Henry Cameron tell Roark that it was all worth it?

At one point, Henry Cameron tried to fire Howard Roark and get him to quit architecture because he knew what kind of a struggle Howard would have later. However, towards the end of his life he told ...
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Why did Henry Cameron say that Howard would have to fight Gail Wynand?

Towards the end of his life, Henry Cameron told Howard Roark that he didn't hate anyone anymore, just Gail Wynand because he represented "the triumph of overbearing vulgarity." He told Howard that he'...
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How expensive was electricity during The Fountainhead?

When Henry Cameron and Howard Roark were struggling to keep the office open, they had a number of failed bids. They were paid a modest sum for the proposals themselves, but apparently the fee didn't ...
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Was Atlas Shrugged set in the future or the present?

Francisco d'Anconia at one point claims that "There are seven million people in the city of New York, at present." According to Wikipedia, the 1930 population was 6.9 million, the 1940 population was ...
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Why did Tinky Holloway seem to contradict the principle behind Directive 10-289?

During a meeting with some governmental officials that precipitated him joining the Strike, Hank Rearden demanded to know why they thought that their policies would work: "Who will improve [...
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Why did Ellsworth Toohey ignore Peter Keating's confession?

When Elsworth Toohey and Peter Keating were arguing about Cortland and Toohey was trying to force Keating to admit that Howard Roark had designed the whole thing, they had the following exchange: "...
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What are we supposed to learn about the reality in “Atlas Shrugged” from “The Vulture is Molting”?

In Chapter 4 of Atlas Shrugged, Dagny is walking: She walked on. She stopped at the window of a bookstore. The window displayed a pyramid of slabs in brownish-purple jackets, inscribed: The ...
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Does Gail Wynand imply that he's going to kill himself at the end of The Fountainhead?

When he met with Roark about the Wynand Building, Gail Wynand repeatedly spoke of his death as if it were imminent, and his life as if it were essentially over at that point. For example: I told ...
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Was John Galt foolish in wanting to return to the world so quickly?

John Galt was a genius. He invented "the motor" and executed the greatest strike in world history. And it's clear that he understood the danger he was always in (out in the world) and how the looters ...
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Why wouldn't Guy Francon testify against Howard Roark?

In her testimony at the lawsuit over the Stoddard Temple, Dominique Francon mentioned that her father had refused to testify against Roark and that he thought that they "weren't behaving like ...
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Why didn't Jim Taggart realize his real motive for saying this?

In the discussion of Directive 10-289, Jim Taggart said the following: Jim Taggart spoke first. His voice was low, but it had the trembling intensity of an involuntary scream: "Well, why not? Why ...
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How much of the Looters' philosophy did Fred Kinnan actually accept?

Related: What was Fred Kinnan gaining from his racket? In their discussion of Directive 10-289, Fred Kinnan said the following: "Well, if you want to talk practice," said Fred Kinnan, "then let me ...
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Why were Ellsworth Toohey and Peter Keating so afraid of the identity of Ellsworth Toohey's assailant?

Shortly after he lost a commission on the Cosmo-Slotnick Building, sculpture Steven Mallory took a shot at Ellsworth Toohey as he was getting out of his car to deliver a radio address (which missed by ...
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What was Fred Kinnan gaining from his racket?

In the discussion of Directive 10-289, Fred Kinnan said the following: His smile disappeared, and with a sudden, bitter look of weariness he added, "...I'm not going to say that I'm working for the ...
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Was Ellsworth Toohey's public speaking style modeled after Harold Laski?

The first time that Peater Keating hears Ellsworth Toohey speak, it's described as follows: It was not a voice, it was a miracle. It unrolled as a velvet banner. It spoke English words, but the ...
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Is Ellsworth Toohey just giving the same speech over and over again?

In a labor meeting, Ellsworth Toohey said the following: "... and so, my friends," the voice was saying, "the lesson to be learned from our tragic struggle is the lesson of unity. We shall unite or ...
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Why did Rand use opaque references to government bodies and offices in Atlas Shrugged?

I have read Atlas Shrugged many times and have often wondered why Ayn Rand makes opaque and ambiguous references to the US Congress and the President of the United Status. For example, she refers to ...
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Why was Francisco d'Anconia amused by Ellis Wyatt's imminent demise?

At one point, Dagny Taggart confronts Francisco d'Anconia about what she believed to be his corruption. As part of that, they had the following exchange: "Do you... know Ellis Wyatt?" "Sure." "...
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Why were Howard Roark and John Galt both from Ohio?

Why were John Galt and Howard Roark both from Ohio? Was Ayn Rand making a deliberate parallel here, and why Ohio in particular?
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Why did people feel like Howard Roark didn't see them?

Shortly after he was expelled from the Stanton Institute of Technology, Hoard Roark has the following encounter with Mrs. Keating: He stood looking at her. She knew that he did not see her. No, she ...
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Who was Francisco d'Anconia thinking about when he asked John Galt to send word about Dagny?

After Dagny Taggart crash-landed in the Valley, most people thought she was dead. Hank Rearden, Francisco d'Anconia, and others spent a lot of time frantically looking for the wreckage of her plane. ...
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Is Jim Taggart's claim that Dagny “never felt anything” parallel to Philip Rearden's claim that Hank never suffered?

From the scene early on in Atlas Shrugged where Dagny Taggart told her brother Jim that she had canceled his order with Associated Steel in favor of purchasing Rearden Metal track instead: [Dagny] ...
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Isn't Ayn Rand a bit irrational in her criticism of altrusim in The Fountainhead?

In the speech of Howard Roark, or at most places in the book, altruists are shown to be in negative light/evil. But this criticism seems to constructed by deliberately painting such characters as evil....
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Is Equality 7-2521 a model for John Galt?

Is Equality 7-2521/Prometheus (from Anthem) a model for John Galt? A few major similarities: Significantly, Equality calls himself Prometheus once he realizes that he has a right to exist as an ...
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What philosophy question did John Galt ask?

Hugh Akston stated that, when he first met John Galt, John asked a question on Plato's metaphysics that he would've been proud to get from someone who had studied philosophy for six years, a question ...
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What is the historical basis for Roark's claim about the Parthenon?

From Chapter 1, p. 23 of The Fountainhead: "Why do you want me to think that this is great architecture?" He pointed to the picture of the Parthenon. "That," said the Dean, "is the Parthenon!" "...
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Did Mr. Weatherby ever try to “cash in” on his access to Dagny?

When Mr. Weatherby's voice came on the wire, it sounded cautious: "Yes, Miss Taggart? Of what service can I be to you?" "You can tell your boss that if he doesn't want me to quit again, as he knows ...
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Why did Hank Rearden call the formula for his metal his “personal secret,” given that several other people in the book knew about it?

At the press conference that Dagny Taggart and Hank Rearden gave announcing the opening of the John Galt/Rio Norte Line, Rearden stated that the formula was secret: "Inasmuch as the formula of ...
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What knowledge was Jim Taggart trying to evade when he hit his wife?

[Cheryl Taggart] moved her hands in groping gestures, half-waving it away, half-trying to grasp it; when she answered, her words did not quite name it, but they were the only words she can find: "You.....
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Why did Jim Taggart interrupt himself?

"I can't understand it..." said [Jim] Taggart miserably. "The top experts of the National Council of Metal Industries..." "Who's the president of the National Council of Metal Industries, Jim? Orren ...
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Why did Dr. Pritchett criticize Francisco d'Anconia's (supposed) lifestyle given his own philosophy?

"Just what did Hugh Akston teach?" asked the earnest matron. Francisco answered, "He taught that everything is something." "Your loyalty to your teacher is laudable, Senor d'Anconia," said Dr. ...
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Why did the Looters make so many decisions at parties?

[Dagny Taggart] did not ask why those men chose to make all their crucial decisions at parties of this kind; she knew that they did. She knew that behind the clattering, lumbering pretense of their ...
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Was Mr. Thompson actually worried that John Galt might be dead?

"But, Miss Taggart -" [Mr. Thompson said.] "I didn't come here to argue." She was at the door when he sighed and said, "I hope he's still alive." She stopped. "I hope they haven't done anything ...
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Is there a chronology of exactly when the various Strikers quit?

According to the book, after John Galt decided to go on strike, he first went to Francisco D'Anconia and Ragnar Danneskjöld. As John Galt stated in his speech: It was the three of us who started ...
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Why wasn't Ellis Wyatt researching new applications of oil (or at least diversifying his product line)?

When Dagny crashes in Galt's Gulch, we learn that Ellis Wyatt has been experimenting with new ways of producing oil. However, there's no textual evidence that he was researching new applications of ...
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Why didn't William Hastings's wife know about the Strike?

When Dagny visited William Hastings's wife, she showed absolutely no sign of any alignment with the Looters or Moochers - she was very straightforward with Dagny and showed none of the basic "...
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Did John Galt remove part of the manual for his engine from the 20th Century Motor Company?

When Hank Reardon and Dagny Taggart searched the abandoned 20th Century Motor Company, they found the prototype of John Galt's motor along with some documents describing it. However, the documents ...
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Under Ayn Rand's philosophy, would the Strikers have the right to use and/or re-open abandoned factories and equipment?

When the Strikers re-emerged, there would've been numerous abandoned factories and equipment (including, presumably, factories and equipment that had been abandoned by the Strikers themselves). While ...
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Was Jim Taggart's physical abuse of his wife supposed to parallel and contrast with Hank Reardon's gift of the Ruby Pendant to Dagny Taggart?

[Dagny Taggart] thought of the evening last winter, when [Hank Reardon] came in, took a small package from his pocket and held it out to her, saying, "I want you to have it." She opened it and stared ...
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How would the Strikers re-emerge if there were so few competent people left in the world?

The text doesn't directly answer this, so this more of a question about the "world" of Atlas Shrugged than about the text itself, but I'm curious as to how the Strikers would go about rebuilding the ...
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Did the Strikers assume that the Strike would change other countries as well?

Virtually all of the Strikers were American - it included, for example, Judge Narragansett (Illinois), Midas Mulligan (Chicago, IL), John Galt (Ohio), Ted Nielsen (Colorado), Roger Marsh (Colorado), ...
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Why didn't Eddie Willers ever connect some of the disappearances to his conversations with the Mystery Worker?

Eddie Willers periodically ate dinner in the Taggart cafeteria with the Mystery Worker (who is, of course, later identified as John Galt). They discuss a lot of different things, including the state ...
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What kind of engineer was Owen Kellogg?

Towards the beginning of Atlas Shrugged, Owen Kellogg was described as follows: [Dagney Taggart] knew that the superintendent of the Ohio Division was no good and that he was a friend of James ...
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Why did Eddie refer to himself as a “feudal serf”?

In the beginning of the book, when Eddie Willars confronted Jim Taggart about the poor condition of the Rio Norte Line, they had the following exchange: "Jim, what are you saying? Does it matter ...