Atlas Shrugged Summary and Analysis of Part I, Chapters IX and X


Chapter IX of Part I, “The Spiritual and the Profane” starts the morning after Hank and Dagny’s opening night together. They have a terrible exchange, in which Hank states to her “What I feel for you is contempt. But it’s nothing, compared to the contempt I feel for myself. I do not love you. I have actually never ever enjoyed anyone. I wanted you from the very first moment I saw you. I wanted you as one wants a slut– for the very same factor and function.” (254) Hank is seriously clashed about his desire for Dagny, and is disappointed with himself for breaking his wedding pledges. Dagny, defiant but not necessarily insulted by Hank’s frank admissions, and says “I am a lot more depraved than you are: you hold it as your regret, and I– as my pride. I’m more pleased with it than anything I have actually done, more happy than of developing the Line. If I’m asked to name my proudest achievement, I will say: I have slept with Hank Rearden. I had actually earned it.” (256) The arrangement between them is that they will not perform their affair publicly, but Dagny will have his “free time.” Hank leaves her disgusted with himself, however feeling that he can not offer her up. He is still of the viewpoint that sex is a low function of his body, which he should deny himself, specifically, this extra-marital affair. That he can not, and Dagny does not want him to, confuses him significantly.

Jim Taggart, in New York, is thinking again about avoiding duty at work when he ducks into a five-and-dime shop to buy paper handkerchiefs. He is somewhat impolite to a shop assistant who recognizes him. Cherryl Brooks thinks that Jim is responsible for the success of the John Galt line, and she sees him as a populist hero. He takes her out on a date, and she is shocked that he is considerate, if a bit condescending, to her. She is the item of a bad family in upstate New York, and she had actually pertained to New York to attempt to make something of herself. She does not actually think in the viewpoint the academic system and federal government are spouting, which is why she begins to hero-worship Jim.

Dagny and Hank go back to the East Coast together, spending their nights together, but when they get here Hank leaves her without a word. They resume their business lives as if nothing happened, however they have a plan that he stays with her at her home whenever he is in New york city. He contrives to be there typically.

Dagny and Hank take a vacation in his Hammond convertible. Driving through Wisconsin, they see the desolation of the countryside, and come across a ruined factory of a business they both understood well when it was in its prime. Dagny finds the skeleton of a kind of motor which would operate on the static electrical power intrinsic in the atmosphere. It is incomplete, but Dagny acknowledges it simply enough to know that a devoted scientist might be able to make it work. She believes that it would be the conserving of her railway if she might somehow make it work and convert it into motive power for her engines. They set up to have actually the motor delivered back to the Taggart Building in New York. Dagny wishes to look for the innovator of the motor, in order to bring this revolutionary technology to the world. As they browse Dagny and Hank are particularly appalled by the state of the countryside; there are no industries any longer and the people are living in a state of almost medieval poverty.

Chapter X, “Wyatt’s Torch” is the last chapter of Part I. In Wisconsin, Dagny continues to look for the inventor of the motor. She encounters great resistance and lack of knowledge on the part of everybody she interviews, however she does get a lead on who the motor’s developer might have been. She is recalled to New York due to the fact that of brand-new laws about to be passed which would hamper much of Taggart Transcontinental’s service. These laws look for to synthetically limit certain successful railroads in order to bring them in line with the production levels of other less effective railways. It is expected to give the failing railways a possibility, but the consequence is that it makes the whole industry suffer.

In the meantime Hank Rearden is double-crossed by his pal Paul Larkin. Larkin owns the iron ore mine that Hank would have purchased if it were not prohibited for him to own more than one service, and Paul makes deals behind his back which make Rearden lose his supply of the much-needed ore.

Through a series of clues Dagny is finally led to a rural coffee shop in Colorado, where she discovers the distinguished professor of approach. Hugh Akston is running the diner, and she keeps in mind the efficiency and quality of his work, but she is aghast that such fantastic thinker is investing his time working at a routine job. She gains from him that he understands the inventor of the motor, however he refuses to inform her. He offers her a cigarette, and she sees that it is inscribed with a golden dollar indication as its only recognition. She brings it back to her buddy the cigarette vendor in the Taggart Terminal, who tells her that it is not made by any business that he knows on the planet.

An unique tax is levied by the federal government on the economically successful state of Colorado to help out the nearby states. Ellis Wyatt, who produces a great deal of oil and a significant fraction of the state’s income and is one the brand-new John Galt Line’s major clients, is angered. He lights his oil wells afire and vanishes. The flaming waste of fuel is nicknamed “Wyatt’s Torch”, and it burns for a long period of time.


The story of Cherryl Brooks conference Jim Taggart is a particularly poignant one in this novel about the cynicism of people. This character is revealed to have a natural belief in her own goodness, and the accuracy of effort and achievement. Having actually come from a slum background, with a hard-drinking dad and a complaining mom, Cherryl believed that if she concerned the city and strove she ‘d be without that sort of despair. She does not understand it yet, however Jim Taggart is one of the chief enablers of the looters and moochers, and she is falling in love with a person who does not exist. Jim Taggart puts up a front for her of an accomplished and civic-minded industrialist, and in her youth and inexperience she is taken in by his lies. Possibly the most innocent and helpless victim that Rand portrays in any information is this hapless shopgirl.

More and more ideas to the strange West keep popping in Chapter X. Dagny discovers that the engine’s innovator has headed out west to Colorado, and she is very stunned to find a man like Hugh Akston running a restaurant out there. Hugh confesses that he understands the developer but refuses to provide her details about it. This makes Dagny suspicious, and the info about the cigarette even more intrigues her. She now has some inkling that there is more going on in Colorado than fulfills the eye. It is becoming clear that there is a group of essential people in Colorado who don’t want to be found, which they are working toward some strange objective.

Hank and Dagny’s relationship is definitely a complex one. Dagny seems to discover complete satisfaction simply in having Hank’s body. There are signs that she understands that he feels more deeply for her than he is letting on, but she does not feel the need to share this knowledge with Hank. She lets the relationship take its course. Her confessions of her love for him are of his prowess as a businessman and innovator, and of her physical desire for him; significantly missing from these admissions are any recommendation to the desire to win him far from his better half, or any reference of love. This practically business-like arrangement of sex and companionship appears incongruous, however it is completely in keeping with the reasonable beings that Dagny and Hank are. It is not till later that we know their finer sensations, or the depth and the nature of their morality.

Ellis Wyatt is the latest, and the most incredible, of the “deserters”– successful entrepreneurs who have actually retired or stop on a moment’s notification when faced with unjust policy of their markets. Wyatt understood that the limitation of Taggart Transcontinental’s number and speed of trains would hurt his organisation to such a degree that he was unwilling to continue. That he chose practically over night, and left such a harmful and visible suggestion of his departure, gives the reader an idea that something aside from human anguish is at work here.

The speed of the decline of company in America is now accelerating, and the repercussions of the Equalization of Opportunity Act are quickly felt by Hank Rearden, his customers, the industry, and, soon, the entire country. Because he was prevented from vertically incorporating his supply chain Rearden’s supply of ore was compromised; because of the arbitrary nature of the impulses of the government regulations, and double-dealing on Jim Taggart’s part made possible by favor-trading in Washington, the conditions needed to produce Rearden Metal legally have been ruined. Rand is demonstrating how misdirected concepts of fairness in company, when controlled arbitrarily by government, develop a culture of mediocrity and a decline of production. This concept goes through the entire unique, and is an important secret to the solution of objectivist viewpoint.

These chapters end Part I, “Non-Contradition”. What this beginning third of the book has been mainly occupied with is asserting that there is no contradiction between reality and success, and, specifically, human happiness and human desires. In this part the reader discovers the story of two manufacturers, Dagny and Francisco, and how their reasonable, independent, work-oriented upbringing has actually developed in them the type of psyche that turns down the irrationalism of the looter federal government’s teaching of self-sacrifice. In this part it is likewise hinted that things are not what they seem, particularly in regard to Francisco d’Anconia. Francisco and the theorist Hugh Akston advise Dagny to “examine her properties”, and not to believe something is that it is not. If Francisco appears to be a playboy, however that goes against everything Dagny has ever learnt about him, she ought to believe one or the other: not both. Similarly, in respect to the sneaking modifications in the federal government’s attitude towards company, Hugh and Francisco are implying, Dagny should not think that they do not want market’s damage when the policies of the government work continually toward that objective. Dagny is still attempting to reconcile contradictions to herself, and will continue in this mode in Part II. In that part, however, entitled “Either-Or”, Dagny will have to make some tough choices.

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