11

“Just going, brother! Just looking for some place to stop . . . somewhere. We're from Imperial Valley, California. The 'People's Party' crowd grabbed the crops and any food we had in the cellars. Hoarding, they called it. So we just picked up and went. Got to travel by night, on account of the Washington crowd. . . . We're just looking for some place to live....


6

While researching this question, I found a sort of answer. According to the novel's Wikipedia page Rand herself stated, "My characters are never symbols, they are merely men in sharper focus than the audience can see with unaided sight. ... My characters are persons in whom certain human attributes are focused more sharply and consistently than in ...


5

The subsequent paragraph explains this seeming contradiction: Galt was running the risk that the machine would be fixed, in order to win a larger battle: to scare the torturers (and the way I read it, he was pretty sure that he would win and the risk was not too big): The mechanic was staring at Galt; he was holding Galt's glance — and even he was able to ...


4

First of all, that book is actually an antithesis of "Atlas Shrugged" itself - the book about how bad and evil the entrepreneurs are. This point of view is shared even by vitriolic critics of Rand, e.g. Adam Weiner in How Bad Writing Destroyed the World: Ayn Rand and the Literary Origins of the Financial Crisis: Early in the novel, walking through ...


4

TL;DR: It is meant by author to be set in indeterminable "close future to the reader" time, but can be pegged from textual clues to possibly be set in 1945-1957 As per Objectivism Reference Center's Atlas Shrugged FAQ 4.2 When is the story set in time? The time setting for Atlas Shrugged is not specified in the novel. It is typically interpreted as ...


4

I think that what Francisco did would not violate the oath. The actual oath that had to be sworn to join the strikers is described in Part III Chapter One as follows: I SWEAR BY MY LIFE AND MY LOVE OF IT THAT I WILL NEVER LIVE FOR THE SAKE OF ANOTHER MAN, NOR ASK ANOTHER MAN TO LIVE FOR MINE. This does not seem to forbid all work; rather it forbids a ...


3

Ayn Rand's husband, Frank O'Connor, was born in Lorrain, Ohio. When in the process of creating great works it sometimes helps to stay grounded through your most solid partner-rock. Best available summary here.


3

A few possible answers: It's not logical - this is a genuine mistake. Owen Kellogg was planning on going into a different profession. (I don't think that that one is the most likely explanation because it's at least implied that the other people intended to go back to their former professions once they "re-emerged"). Kellogg would be in a more "hands-on" ...


3

He actually understood a fair amount about his situation towards the end of the book. His feeling here is at least partially represented by a giant calendar that a mayor had had erected over the city so that people could tell the date in the same way that they told the time. He realized shortly after returning to the office that the phrase that the Calendar ...


3

Related: How much of the Looters' philosophy did Fred Kinnan actually accept? I think that the key phrase here comes at the end of that speech: "...Sure, it makes me sick sometimes, it makes me sick right now, but it's not me who's built this kind of world - you did - so I'm playing the same as you've set it up and I'm going to play it for as long as ...


3

I agree with your statement that "he openly admits that he's going along with Directive 10-289 because he's a racketeer". In discussions with the looters, Kinnan is aloof and jaded, and seems to despise them. He plays along with them as long as they'll keep his racket going. He knows they know it's a racket, but they're terribly afraid of unions because of ...


3

Jim Taggart, along with most the looters, are in a constant battle of self-contradiction. We learn from Hugh Akston that contradictions don't exist. Yet Jim and the others try to live with their contradiction of wanting to strangle everything superior and good while at the same time wanting the superior and good people to go on producing so they don't starve....


3

Immediately before this, Dagny had learned (much to her chagrin) that Dick McNamara had inexplicably vanished right before he was supposed to start work on the Rio Norte/John Galt Line. There was no warning, no explanation of why he left, and no indication of where he went. In the aftermath, It was late when [Dagny] left her office. Outside, on the ...


3

I can make an educated guess based on a few clues left in the book. Consider the following passage: There were whispered rumors of covered wagons traveling by night through abandoned trails, and of secret settlements armed to resist the attacks of those whom they called the "Indians"—the attacks of any looting savages, be they homeless mobs or ...


2

While many of Ayn Rand's characters are completely unambiguous (Hank Rearden is good, Head of State Thompson is bad), some are ambiguous or mixed. Also, Ayn Rand is trying to include different "types" of characters. Dr. Robert Stadler is the guy who knew better - the ultimate traitor, in a sense. Fred Kinnan (the union boss) knows he's running a racket ...


2

As described in my answer here, Ayn Rand interviewed Dr. Oppenheimer multiple times for a movie she was writing about the Atomic Bomb. That movie was never actually made; the only place that she seems to have published any of the material was Atlas Shrugged, where it inspired the character Dr. Robert Stadler. In an essay on how she intended to approach that ...


2

For the same reason that a lot of people responded positively to Reardon's speech at his trial. As Hank Reardon reflected at his trial: The guilt is ours, [Hank] thought. If we who were the movers, the providers, the benefactors of mankind, were willing to let the brand of evil be stamped upon us and silently to bear punishment for our virtues - what ...


2

Later, when Dagney saw Stadler on a different occasion, it becomes clear that Dr. Stadler didn't want to believe that "who is John Galt?" referred to the John Galt he knew. They were silent, then [Robert Stadler] said, "I knew a John Galt once. Only he died long ago." "Who was he?" "I used to think that he was still alive. But now I'm certain that he ...


2

Well, Galt did disappear - he went straight to 20th Century Motor corp in a junior position, and the developments there escaped the public domain, except for the oblique 'Who's John Galt' the origins of which are a mystery to all. I took '2nd Asst Book Keeper' to indicate Stadlers indoctrination into the social justice movements destroying the US at the ...


2

He clearly has some knowledge of engineering as a field of occupation. Upon finding a broken phone with Dagny, he is able to evaluate if the wiring and determine that the current is on. Not exactly rocket surgery, but also not what an average non-technical "manager" is able to do. She handed the receiver to him without a word. She held the flashlight, ...


2

There are two factors to be considered here: first, Mr. Thompson seems to genuinely want to find John Galt and to negotiate with him. His belief seems perfectly sincere (or, at least, as sincere as the Looters get). He at least tells himself that he doesn't want to hurt John Galt, just negotiate. Secondly, he (correctly) believes that Dagny knows more than ...


2

Yes, it was a deliberate parallel. There are few purely coincidental or insignificant details in Atlas Shrugged. One of the text's major goals is to show the "interconnectedness" of various events and causes. This was due to Ayn Rand's belief that everything had a cause, and that in order to solve today's problems you must look at their causes. (Compare ...


2

There are a few possible answers here. First, the world wasn't completely devoid of competent individuals. Ragnar Danneskjöld had found competent people to trade with even in the various People's States. There were a large number of at least somewhat competent people in the country, too; for example, Minnesota had produced The gangs of unemployed that ...


2

Dr. Pritchett, like all the looters, had a double standard. Although he espoused mushy logic so that the unsuspecting public could be more easily duped, controlled, and herded, he still wanted the producers (like Francisco) to remain exacting, disciplined, and productive. The reason is because he still wanted to eat, go to parties, have running water, ...


2

I don't have the exact reference in front of me, but Ayn Rand deliberately referred to Mr. Thompson as the "Head of State" (rather than the President of the United States) because she felt that the title of "President of the United States" was still an honorable title that wouldn't be fitting to someone like Mr. Thompson. I'm not aware of a quote from her ...


2

Schadenfreude. Francisco hates government planners and policy makers. He likes to see them fail. But what is it that he finds amusing? He knows something they don't know and he knows people better than the planners and policy makers. If they knew that thing, they wouldn't have done it. I'll try to explain with an analogy. Person A is preparing a surprise ...


2

We're not told exactly how much time passed, but I agree with you - it doesn't seem like a lot of time in the book. The book glosses over the details of what happened in the interim. John Galt is also admittedly somewhat vague as to why he thought that it was time to go back: They could not see the world beyond the mountains, there was only a void of ...


2

Although Rand's writing in Atlas is certainly forward-thinking, I haven't seen much literary evidence of it being set in the future. Everything seems very contemporary 1940s and 1950s. Two exceptions may be futuristic devices such as the Harmonizer (symbolizes a nuclear weapon) and the motor. But everything else seems to be set comfortably in those mid-...


2

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it was all three. The scene was reinforcing the point that, once talented people like Francisco d'Anconia are out of the picture, they end up getting replaced with people like Tinky Holloway and Wesley Mouch. The book also points out its effect on Hank Reardon, who agreed to quit and disappear shortly after this ...


1

He was likely referring primarily to Hank Rearden (and likely secondarily to Eddie Willers as well). Francisco was already well aware that Dagny was having an affair with Hank Rearden due to his earlier confrontation with Hank in Dagny's apartment. (It's also possible that he would've heard about it from John Galt, who also knew about the affair, but this ...


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