Atlas Shrugged Summary and Analysis of Part II, Chapters V and VI


Ken Danagger’s cousin, who has attempted to take over Danagger Coal after the executive’s disappearance, tells Taggart Transcontinental in Chapter V that “he might not assist it” (496) that the delivery to the railway was delayed. Rearden Steel, too, has actually had to default on an order for the first time in its history. The economy is seriously breaking down, with services and industry all over closing or declaring bankruptcy. The government refuses to acknowledge the value of business to the general public welfare, calling them only “private ventures for private revenue” (497 ).

Throughout this cold winter season individuals all over are suffering horribly, but the federal government declines to take any action to promote company. The government and individuals believe that they are doing the right thing by restricting bigger concerns to offer more chances to smaller ones; the result is that practically all the businesses not supported by favors from Washington stop working. Copper from d’Anconia Copper is no longer reaching the United States since the pirate Ragnar Danneskjold is sinking every ship that carries it; this seriously hinders almost every market in America.

Dagny participates in the meeting of the Board of Directors of Taggart Transcontinental. After much discussion about blame and the “best individuals in Washington” the board agrees that it is now required, since the absence of freight traffic, to close the Rio Norte Line. All of Dagny’s work building that line (which she called the John Galt Line and for which she had briefly left Taggart Transcontinental to develop) is now for absolutely nothing because of the looter federal government’s inefficient policies. Nevertheless, they have to ask authorization of the government to close the line, and the government is not ready to give it. The union desires a wage boost, and the federal government officials blackmail Taggart Transcontinental into the increase by threatening to remember, prior to the agreed-upon time, a big amount of Taggart Transcontinental bonds. The rail has no choice, and it is clear that there is no justice to be had from the government. In exchange for the wage increase, Washington allows Taggart Transcontinental to close the Rio Norte Line.

A depressed Dagny finds Francisco d’Anconia waiting on her in the lobby. He understands how much the John Galt/Rio Norte Line suggested to her, and he offers his quiet friendship on this tough night. They go out for a beverage together, and talk about how the world has actually changed considering that the days of Nat Taggart and Sebastian d’Anconia, their ancestors. Prior to they leave each other Dagny questions Francisco about his current talks with Hank Rearden. She knows that Hanks is now really mad with Francisco about something, but Francisco responses “He was the only guy– with one exception– to whom I would have offered my life!” (517 ). Dagny would like to know who the other male is, and Francisco says that he currently has actually given his life to him. They discuss John Galt, and Francisco says that he, Francisco, understands who he is– a Prometheus who has actually withdrawn his present of fire from humankind until humankind stops torturing him.

Dagny goes to monitor the last train run on the John Galt Line, and the disgruntled individuals there complain that the only method the bad will have an opportunity is if the abundant are damaged. Rearden appears and assists Dagny through this difficult minute, and they ride back to New york city together in her personal automobile.

Lillian Rearden is gotten in touch with by James Taggart– he is dissatisfied that Hank has managed to wriggle out of problem by defending himself at the trial. Lillian had actually guaranteed to help Jim control Hank, but she has failed in this regard. Jim wishes to know to blackmail Hank, but at present Lillian has nothing for Jim. It is an undesirable conversation in between them, loaded with half-truths and deceptiveness.

Lillian does, however, understand that Hank has a girlfriend. She learns that Hank is aboard the Taggart Comet from his secretary Gwen Ives, however she likewise discovers that he is not traveling under his own name. Lillian deduces that this is due to the fact that he is not traveling alone, and he is probably with his mistress. Lillian, hoping to catch him out, waits on him on the platform of the Taggart Terminal searching for him so that she may discover the identity of his mistress. She finds him on the platform, and then sees Dagny Taggart coming out of her private vehicle. She now knows the identity of his girlfriend, and, as Hank and Lillian ride away in a taxicab, she insults Hank and Dagny. She testifies never divorce him, nevertheless, and Hank promises to beat her up if she ever discusses Dagny once again.

Chapter VI “Wonder Metal” starts with Wesley Mouch, Jim Taggart, the Head of State Mr. Thompson, and various other functionaries and flunkies discussing the passage of Regulation 10-289. This directive completes the shift of America to an authoritarian socialist state. There are eight points in the Instruction: all employees are attached to their tasks, and efficiently shackled, all existing businesses are obliged to remain in operation, all patents and copyrights must be “willingly signed” over to the state, no new patents will be permitted, all production levels need to stay the same as the present year, every person must invest each year what they spend this year, all salaries, rates and kinds of income will be frozen, and any case not decided under these 8 points should be decided with final authority by the Marriage Board.

Dagny is working at her desk in the Taggart Building when she learns that this law will quickly be enacted. She resigns immediately, before they can chain her to her task when the regulation goes into impact on May 1st. She informs nobody where she is going other than Eddie Willers. She leaves guidelines, nevertheless, that if Hank Rearden wants to discover her, Eddie might inform him where she is. She retreats to a remote cabin, acquired by her from her household, in the woods.

Hank Rearden is now being informed that he should make a voluntary present to the state of the patent on Rearden Metal, so that all other producers might profit by his work. Rearden, on the eve of Might 1st, has no objective of providing the State his Metal, however Dr. Floyd Ferris, an old opponent, concerns his office and informs him that he is compelled to do so. Ferris threatens to make Hank and Dagny’s affair public understanding if he does not transfer the metal. The government has discovered this from Jim Taggart, who got the information from Lillian Rearden. Hank does not know where the information came from, however, however Floyd Ferris shows him that the government has evidence of their affair. Hank attempts to factor with Ferris, stating that this sort of scheme would not work if he and Dagny were the type of wrong individuals that he will try to make them out to be. Though he knows that Dagny would not allow it if she understood what he was going to do, he signs the Gift Certificate in order to spare Dagny the disgrace that would undoubtedly fall more heavily on her than on him.


Rearden’s act of altruism reveals that he does not think of Dagny just as a sexual things as he stated he did after their opening night together at Ellis Wyatt’s home. He remembers his very first conference with her very fondly, and he has pertained to the conclusion that he would rather give up his Metal than see her bear the force of the pity. Dagny is nowhere that she can be reached, at the minute, so there is no other way that she can stop it. All the years of work that Rearden has actually spent on his special, revolutionary alloy are now to be transformed into revenue for other individuals instead of himself. But the truth that the government should utilize blackmail of the most affordable kind in order to compel Hank to abide by their undemocratic “directive” is maybe the thing that hurts Hank the most. The irony is extreme when Hank signs his name “at the foot of the Statue of Liberty” on the Gift Certificate. There is no liberty left in America after the death of 10-289.

Directive 10-289 is modeled on actual practices carried out by different communist states around the globe, although rarely were all of these brought into practice in one fell swoop as they are in Atlas Shrugged. The paradox of making “the bastards stall” (536 ), as Wesley Mouch states, by ways of these crippling directives, which basically make all company a synthetic function of the government and all employees servants, is that this will have the most terrible impact on the economy of anything yet undertaken. While the circumstance seems preposterous, and that numerous individuals in Washington might have such a misunderstanding of the operations of the economy of a nation, Rand utilizes this example as an object lesson that excessive control over business will just throttle it, causing suffering and privation to everybody in the end. Mouch, Taggart, and Mr. Thompson appear to have no understanding of this whatsoever, which appears a bit disingenuous; but this is a work of fiction.

Lillian’s motivation is more difficult to understand, but Rand makes it clear that her desires are not cash. She does not appear to enjoy Rearden for his sake, just for the position in society he offers and, potentially, the power marital relationship to him will give her to broker favors with people like James Taggart. She seems less injured by envy when she learns that Hank is having an affair than she is outraged that he would dare to do something like this of his own initiative. Their relationship had not, from almost the very start of their marital relationship, been a close one, however one questions how the cold distance of Hank might have lead her to this form of reprisal. However it is clear that she has actually never enjoyed Hank for who he is, or perhaps appreciated his capability to attend to her and the rest of his family. She, and Hank’s mom and sibling, had constantly insulted Hank’s commitment to organisation and, they assumed, his lack of finer feelings.

The damage of service is really ending up being worrying, and Directive 10-289 is a really misdirected effort to stop what appears to be now the inescapable decline. The hypocrisy of the federal government is absurd– the truth that a “Present Certificate” had actually been signed by Hank Rearden to give up the rights to his Metal does not fool anyone. No one is safe from the predation of the government now, and it’s hollow reasoning that anything it does is for the “common welfare.”

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