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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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The real-life inspiration for the characters of Atlas Shrugged?

Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged is a good story paired with a (sometimes belabored) expression of the author's philosophy. I was wondering if there are any real-life connections to the characters of her ...
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What is the significance of the fact that the covered wagons were traveling East at the end of Atlas Shrugged?

At the very end of Atlas Shrugged, a group of covered wagons picks up people who were stranded by the Comet's demise. Is it significant that they're heading east (e.g. that they were somehow "undoing" ...
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Did Rand think that people in the real world were that stupid?

Atlas Shrugged is a novel that was written for the purpose of expressing Ayn Rand's philosophy, Objectivism. Generally speaking, barring those setbacks placed in their way by non-Objectivists, the ...
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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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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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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 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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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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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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123 views

What should we make of the newspaper vendor in Atlas Shrugged?

Related: How should we view Dan Conway? First, a quote from the opening scene of the book: "Who is John Galt?" The light was ebbing, and Eddie Willers could not distinguish the bum's face. 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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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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Why did Owen Kellogg have a practical need for physics but Dagney didn't?

When Dagney Taggart spent time in the Valley, she asked to be allowed to attend John Galt's lectures on physics. He refused on the grounds that he didn't want to give her information or ideas that ...
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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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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 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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Why did Francisco D'Anconia show Dagney Taggart the Smelter plans?

When she was in the Valley, Francisco D'Anconia showed Dagney details of his plans for a Smelter and walked her through them in detail. However, John Galt had said that Dagney wouldn't be permitted ...
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Did Ayn Rand interview Robert Oppenheimer, and if so, how did she use the material?

This is a follow-up question to this question. I thought that it was better to post this as a second, related question though to avoid the original question from being too broad. Wikipedia describes ...
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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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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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How should we view Dan Conway?

Dan Conway, head of the Phoenix-Durango in Atlas Shrugged, was evidently a superb executive. He also receives (largely) positive treatment in the novel. However, the book also says that he initially ...
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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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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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202 views

How much did Eddie Willers understand about his situation by the end of Atlas Shrugged?

From the opening lines of Atlas Shrugged at the beginning of chapter 1: "Who is John Galt?" The light was ebbing, and Eddie Willers could not distinguish the bum's face. The bum had said it ...
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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 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 all of the Taggart Transcontinental engineers volunteer to drive the first train on the John Galt Line?

Early on in the book, the engineer running the Comet stopped for hours at a broken signal and spent hours waiting for someone to tell him what to do. However, later we see that almost every engineer ...
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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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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 ...
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How could Francisco d’Anconia work for Reardon without breaking his oath?

When Hank Reardon was finally ready to join the Strike, he found that Francisco had already been working for him as a furnace superintendent - and, characteristically, as a very good one. Clearly, ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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Was Francisco d'Anconia's deliberate destruction of his competitors counterproductive to the purpose of the Strike?

Related: Why was Francisco d'Anconia amused by Ellis Wyatt's imminent demise? When describing what a playboy Francisco d'Anconia had supposedly become (including throwing wild and ...
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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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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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In what way was Dr. Robert Stadler based on Robert Oppenheimer?

Wikipedia describes Dr. Robert Stadler from Atlas Shrugged as follows: A former professor at Patrick Henry University, and along with colleague Hugh Akston, mentor to Francisco d'Anconia, John Galt ...
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1answer
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Why did Lillian Reardon appear to admire the Steel Mills?

Shortly after their wedding anniversary celebration (p. 152 in my edition), Hank Reardon recalls Lillian coming down from New York on her own initiative to see his Mills: [Hank] remembered the day ...
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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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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 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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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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Why and how is Mr. Thompson based on Harry S. Truman?

Wikipedia's list of characters in Atlas Shrugged describes Mr. Thompson as follows: Mr. Thompson is the "Head of the State" for the United States. He is not particularly intelligent and has a very ...
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Why did Robert Stadler claim that John Galt was “probably a second assistant bookkeeper somewhere”?

When Dagney Taggert went to see Dr. Robert Stadler at the State Science Institute, in explanation for his mistrust of humans and human reason, he told the story of his three students: "These three ...