Atlas Shrugged/Synopsis/Section 2

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See Also: Structure, Part 1: Chapters 1-5, Part 1: Chapters 6-10, Part 2: Chapters 1-5, Part 2: Chapters 6-10, Part 3: Chapters 1-5, Part 3: Chapters 6-10

Atlas Shrugged, Part 2, Chapters 1-5[edit]

CHAPTER ONE: The Man Who Belonged on Earth[edit]

Section 211: Part 2, Chapter 1, Section 1[edit]

  • Plot summary:
    • While waiting for Dr. Ferris to arrive, Dr. Stadler paces in his office and thinks about the outrageous weather and the Ferris' outrageous book. Stadler is worried about how the book will be received. Although it was not written by him, it was published by the State Science Institute, and whatever notoriety it acquires will inevitably be attributed to him, since his name helps affirm the SSI. He is worried about the philosophy in the book which begins "Thought is a primitive suspicion. Reason is an irrational idea." After some time Dr. Stadler screams to himself that "I had nothing to do with it!"
    • Dr. Ferris arrives one hour late because his car broke down and he "had a hell of a time trying to find someone to fix it." They briefly talk of the trouble with reclaiming the Wyatt oil fields - the scientists cannot discover the special method Wyatt used. Dr. Ferris had yet to reclaim one drop but has received many large grants from the government. Moreover, he gauges the project's success based on approval from certain incumbents, rather than actual results. Dr. Stadler attempts to ask for actual results, but Ferris tells him he's not interested in practical technological endeavors. Stadler then complains of the lack of heating due to the oil shortage. Dr. Stadler then asks about Project Xylophone or Project X. Ferris informs him that it is a top secret project that has to do with sound. Stadler then presses Ferris on the book. Ferris is flustered and asks "did you find the text confusing?" Stadler warns of the dangerous message of the book and Ferris shrugs it off. Ferris claims the audience is one that does not want to think and thus will not be troubled by the content. He believes the audience will embrace the books for giving them justification for not thinking.
    • Dr. Stadler lets Ferris leave without saying he will denounce the book in public. He fears this threat would not faze Ferris. He begins to feel that his word no longer had any power.
    • His secretary informs him that Dagny is on the line. She asks him to meet with her in New York, and although he does not have an engagement there, he lies so that he can meet her today. He leaves as soon as he can, desperate for another mind of like competence.
  • The following Places in Atlas Shrugged are used as settings in this section:
    • Dr. Stadler's office
  • The following Characters in Atlas Shrugged appear in this section:
    • Dr. Robert Stadler
    • Dr. Ferris
    • Ellis Wyatt (mentioned)
    • Dagny
  • The following quotations appear in this section:
    • Excerpts from Why Do You Think You Think by Dr. Floyd Ferris
      • "Thought is a primitive suspicion. Reason is an irrational idea." (316)
      • "The more we know, the more we learn that we know nothing" (316)
      • "Do not expect consistancy. Everything is a contradiction of everything else. Nothing exists but contradictions." (317)
      • "You cannot be sure of anything" (317)
    • "You see, Dr. Stadler, people don't want to think. And the deeper they get into trouble, the less they want to think. But by some sort of instinct, they feel that they ought to and it makes them feel guilty. So they'll bless and follow anyone who gives them justification for not thinking. Anyone who makes a virtue - out of what they know to be sin, their weakness and their guilt." - Dr. Ferris to Dr. Stadler (322)
  • The following pieces of Literature in Atlas Shrugged appear in this section:
    • Why Do You Think You Think by Dr. Floyd Ferris

Section 212: Part 2, Chapter 1, Section 2[edit]

  • Plot summary
    • While at work, Dagny reminisces the recent events -- the dying companies, and Jim's triumph. Hammonds and Stockton have disappeared, and Dagny has no longer become astonished at this steady disappearance of the producers. Through his friends in Washington, Jim has managed to make all the restrictive legislatures favor Taggart Transcontinental, in some way, usually through forced elimination of competition. Jim has thus grafted large sums of money, "Listed as profit, on the glossy pages of his report to the stockholders, was the money he had not earned--the subsidies for empty trains; and the money he did not own--the sum that should have gone to pay the interest and the retirement of Taggart bonds, the debt which, by the will of Wesley Mouch, he had been permitted not to pay. (327)" He proclaims to Dagny, "'You have always considered money-making as such an important virtue... well, it seems to me that I'm better at it than you are (327)."
    • In her conversation with Stadler, Dagny almost finds herself sympathizing with Stadler when he offers a potential scientist to take on the quest of reconstructing the motor. This type, as Stadler admits himself, is the type who would refuse to work for the State Science Institute. The small talk of incompetent railway workers broaches up the rhetorical question, "Who is John Galt?" Stadler mentions that he knew of a John Galt once, "He had such a mind that, had he lived, the whole world would have been talking of him by now (334)." Ominously, Stadler declares that this John Galt must be dead, he has to -- even though he appears to be lonely for a like mind.
  • The following Places in Atlas Shrugged are used as settings in this section:
    • Taggart Tunnel
    • Dagny's office
  • The following Characters in Atlas Shrugged appear in this section:
    • Stadler
    • James Taggart
    • Dagny Taggart
    • John Galt (mentioned)
    • incompetent railway workers
    • Hammond
    • Stockton's sister

Section 213: Part 2, Chapter 1, Section 3[edit]

  • Plot summary
    • Rearden receives a mysterious order from the State Science Institute demanding that he sell 10,000 tons of Rearden Metal for a certain Project X. Recent legislation has required that he limit sales to any one customer only 500 tons -- which is clearly an arbitrary sum set by some clueless incumbent, since it's barely enough to lay 3 miles of Taggart rail. Rearden refuses to sell to the State Science Institute.
    • The Wet Nurse, a representative from Washington hired to monitor Rearden's progress, advises Rearden to reconsider, because the source is the government, and that there will be trouble if he rejects it.
    • When a representative of the State Science Institute comes to discuss the issue with Rearden, Rearden states that because it's his creation, he has a moral right to know what use is made of his metal -- regardless of the fact that just a short while ago, the State Science Institute had issued libel against Rearden Metal. The spokesman invokes a bunch of words, stating that it's a great project of great social value, but does not actually state what Project X is. Rearden then gives him the ultimatum -- if you want the metal, just go out and take it like any looter. He can't shoot him, but he will not help make this extortion look moral and legal. The spokesman leaves, ominously stating that he will regret his action. Rearden, however, feels elated. His reaction is a step closer to understanding of his role in the Sanction of the Victim.
  • The following Places in Atlas Shrugged are used as settings in this section:
    • Rearden's office
    • Rearden Metal
  • The following Characters in Atlas Shrugged appear in this section:
    • Rearden
    • Rearden's Superintendent
    • Miss Ives
    • The Wet Nurse

Section 214: Part 2, Chapter 1, Section 4[edit]

  • Plot summary
    • Rearden buys Dagny a bunch of expensive luxury items, some of which he can't afford, in hopes of turning her into his own luxury item. Dagny claims the ownership is righteous because he has bought her long ago through his ability and achievement. (This ritual of courtship through merit is typical in Ayn Rand's romances.) Hank admits that he'd never had a reason for spending the money he'd earned -- he'd always envisioned that he'd buy treasures for a woman, but has not found her until now.
    • Dagny tells Rearden of Quentin Daniels and the possibility of finding a mind to revive the motor. She mentions Stadler, and Rearden tells her that Stadler wanted from Dagny a recognition that he's still great, "to juggle reality for him, so that his greatness would remain. (350)"
  • The following Places in Atlas Shrugged are used as settings in this section:
    • Dagny's apartment
    • d'Anconia Copper (mentioned)
    • Elegant and hidden Inn situated in a knoll in the woods
  • The following Characters in Atlas Shrugged appear in this section:
    • Hank Rearden
    • Dagny Taggart
    • Dr. Stadler (mentioned)


CHAPTER TWO: The Aristocracy of Pull[edit]

Section 221: Part 2, Chapter 2, Section 1[edit]

  • Plot summary:
    • Within view of the giant citywide calendar across the street, Dagny reminisces recent events in her office in New York. The giant calendar is a looming presence that haunts her with the thought that her days are limited, and that she's working towards an end it knows, but she does not know.
    • She remembers her meeting with Quintin Daniels, the scientist Stadler suggested to her who might remake the motor. Daniels had refused to work at the State Science Institute on the basis that "Governmental scientific inquiry" is a contradiction in terms. Instead, Daniels works as a night watchman at the Utah Institute of Technology. The low pay is sufficient to pay for his meals, and he has full access to the labs; cut off from the world, he is doing research for his own personal enjoyment. He had refused Dagny's high monthy pay, stating that he would gamble with his own mind and not with her money, uncertain about whether he will succeed in reconstructing the motor. However, when and if he succeeds, he will demand a high percentage of the profits. Daniels' method of payment is both ideally Objective and a tribute to the meaning and worth of money, which is clarified later in this chapter by Francisco's speech at Taggart's wedding.
    • As Dagny leaves the building, the cigarette-collecting old man at the cigar stand stops her, telling her that he'd looked everywhere to try to find the manufacturer of the cigarette with the sign of the dollar she had given him -- though the cigarette is definitely machine made, to the best of his knowledge, "that cigarette was not made anywhere on earth."
  • The following Places in Atlas Shrugged are used as settings in this section:
    • Giant citywide calendar "Calendar in the sky beyond the windows of her office (352)"
    • Dagny's office
    • Corner cigar stand
  • The following Characters in Atlas Shrugged appear in this section:
    • Quentin Daneils
    • Dagny Taggart
    • Dr. Stadler (mentioned)
    • Old man at the cigar stand

Section 222: Part 2, Chapter 2, Section 2[edit]

  • Plot summary:
    • Rearden sits in his room in the Wayne-Falkland Hotel reminiscing his secret meeting with Dannager. He had arranged to give Dannagar enough Rearden Metal to reinforce the roofing of Dannagar's mines from caving in. Dannager is one of the only competent men remaining, and Rearden feels this underhand action is a blow against the looters. Yet, he feels contempt for himself that he is reduced to having to pull a secret meeting for an honest trade.
    • After the waiter has cleared away the in-room dinner cart, Lillian bursts into the room. Rearden is surprised at her appearance. Though he does not want to attend the party, Lillian convinces Rearden to attend Taggart's wedding. The fact that she has convinced him to go to the party means that she still holds him as a victim.
  • The following Places in Atlas Shrugged are used as settings in this section:
    • Wayne-Falkland Hotel
  • The following Characters in Atlas Shrugged appear in this section:
    • Lillian Rearden
    • Ken Dannager
    • Hank Rearden

Section 223: Part 2, Chapter 2, Section 3[edit]

  • Plot summary:
    • Cherryl reminisces while she dresses for her wedding under the supervision of a sob sister who had taken Brooks under her protection. Masses of reporters have tailed after Brooks, shooting pictures of her in her slum neighborhood, making Brooks something of a sensation, though to her chagrin. Brooks senses something wrong in the sort of publicity she's receiving -- indeed, Taggart had not only not offered her money to escape the reporters, he had also not hired her an escort to take her to the wedding. The sobsister would be the one to drive Brooks to her wedding.
    • Cherryl also recounts her "romance" with Taggart. She had been surprised that Taggart had dropped by her slum room one day, out of the blue. Taggart seems to find in her an unlikely confidante; he spills out his animosity towards his contemporaries, both heroes and looters, while Brooks, understanding little of what he rambles about, innocently assumes the burden of listening to his words. Taggart is drawn to Brooks by her innocence, her hero-worshipping ideals; he feels like he's winning by making Brooks believe that he is the hero, and Dagny and Rearden the villains.
    • The sob sister warns her that "there are people who'll try to hurt you through the good they see in you--knowing that it's the good, needing it and punishing you for it. Don't let it break you when you discover that. (364)" Rather than taking heed from the sobsister's words, Brooks is optimistic that she'd soon be Mrs. James Taggart.
  • The following Places in Atlas Shrugged are used as settings in this section:
    • Cherryl Brooks' Apartment
  • The following Characters in Atlas Shrugged appear in this section:
    • Cherryl Brooks
    • Sob Sister

Section 224: Part 2, Chapter 2, Section 4[edit]

  • Plot summary:
    • The section on Cherryl and Jim Taggart's wedding. Jim has received media attention for his democratic wedding--that his bride is one of the poor.
    • Bertran Scudder states that "Money is the root of all evil". To which d'Anconia gives a lengthy rebuttal.
    • Lillian asks Dagny for the bracelet back, but Dagny refuses to return it. Lillian attempts to get Dagny to admit that she's having an affair with Rearden, yet when Dagny gets to the point, Lillian realizes how ludicrous the speculation is. Taking Dagny's side, Rearden asks Lillian to apologize to Dagny.
    • In Francisco's speech, he asserts that "money is the root of all good." Those who believe it is evil have let money be its own value, when the value of money is dependent on its creator and trader. This value can be deprecated into something evil if money is abused through fraudulent trade.
    • The party ends when Francisco states to Rearden that he has instigated the crash of D'Anconia Copper Stock, and the party guest leave in a hurry to try and talk to their respective stockbrokers.
  • The following Places in Atlas Shrugged are used as settings in this section:
    • Wayne-Falkland Hotel
  • The following Characters in Atlas Shrugged appear in this section:
    • Cherryl Brooks
    • James Taggart
    • Dagny Taggart
    • Lillian Rearden
    • Hank Rearden
    • Francisco d'Anconia
    • Orren Boyle
    • Bertran Scudder
    • Several unnamed party guests




CHAPTER THREE: White Blackmail[edit]

Section 231: Part 2, Chapter 3, Section 1[edit]

  • Plot summary:
    • Rearden returns to his hotel room in the Wayne-Falkland Hotel after Taggart's party. Lillian announces that she's going to take a train home and complains that she hates d'Anconia, that he could have kept his mouth shut until tomorrow morning, that "he owed a certain duty to his stockholders, didn't he? (392)" The tension in her voice is revealed in a later section.
    • Rearden escorts Lillian by taxi to the train station, still dressed in his evening clothes.
    • Rearden gives the taxi driver the address of Dagny's apartment, and he goes there immediately after dropping Lillian off.
    • At Dagny's apartment, Dagny explains the nature of their love for one another--that it is like a mutual trade. In accords with Ayn Rand's Theory of Sex, Dagny tells Rearden that that her "way of trading is to know that the joy [he] gives [her] is paid for by the joy [he] gets from [her]--not by [his] suffering or [hers]. (394)" She won't accept sacrifices, and if he asks her to give up her railroad, she'd leave him. She tells him that if the pleasure of one is bought by the pain of the other, then the trade is a fraud. She warns him that, "You don't do it in business, Hank. Don't do it in your own life. (394)" Dagny's words remind Rearden of how different she and Lillian are.
    • Rearden asks Dagny who had been her first lover. Dagny refuses to answer, in part because of Rearden's motive in asking, and instead prompts Rearden to understand his error in envy over her first man, "Do you know your only real guilt? With the greatest capacity for it, you've never learned to enjoy yourself. You've always rejected your own pleasure too easily. You've been willing to bear too much. (395)" Ironically, Rearden mentions that that's exactly what Francisco told him at the party. Dagny asks Rearden what he thinks of Francisco, and Rearden admits that he's the one man to whom he'd entrust his life.
    • Rearden apologizes for the insults he threw at Dagny, the morning after at Wyatt's house.
  • The following Places in Atlas Shrugged are used as settings in this section:
    • Wayne-Falkland Hotel
    • Taggart Terminals
    • Dagny's apartment
  • The following Characters in Atlas Shrugged appear in this section:
    • Lillian Rearden
    • Hank Rearden
    • Francisco d'Anconia (mentioned)
    • taxi driver
    • Dagny Taggart
    • Ellis Wyatt (mentioned)

Section 232: Part 2, Chapter 3, Section 2[edit]

  • Plot summary:
    • The radio announces the stock-market crash of d'Anconia Copper.
    • Lillian returned to the Wayne-Falkland hotel earlier the previous evening, and is waiting when he returns in the morning, to discover's Hank's unfaithfulness. She wants him to move out but will not allow a divorce and loss of her social status. He refuses to tell her with whom he has been having an affair.
    • Dr. Ferris wants Rearden to sell the State Science Institute some Rearden Metal for use in Project X. He threatens Rearden with the possibility of ten years jail time for illegally selling Rearden Metal to Ken Dannager. Rearden has Dr. Ferris thrown out of his office.
  • The following Places in Atlas Shrugged are used as settings in this section:
    • Wayne-Falkland Hotel, New York City
    • Rearden's office at Rearden Steel, Pennsylvania
  • The following Characters in Atlas Shrugged appear in this section:
    • Hank Rearden
    • Lillian Rearden
    • Gwen Ives
    • Dr. Ferris

Section 233: Part 2, Chapter 3, Section 3[edit]

  • Plot summary:
    • Eddie Willers is talking to the Worker in the employee cafeteria of Taggart Transcontinental. He mentions how Rearden and Ken Dannager were both indicted for the illegal sale of Rearden Metal. He fears what will happen if Ken Dannager quits and abandones his business, because while Rearden can take it, Dannager is barely hanging by a thread; Dagny has recognized that he is "ready for the destroyer" and a small push might set him off and make him quit. He also mentions that Dagny wishes she knew who the destroyer was, so that she could kill him, even if it meant she had to die in the process.
  • The following Places in Atlas Shrugged are used as settings in this section:
    • Cafeteria of the Taggart Transcontental Building
  • The following Characters in Atlas Shrugged appear in this section:
    • Eddie Willers
    • The Worker

Section 234: Part 2, Chapter 3, Section 4[edit]

  • Plot summary:
    • Dagny goes to Pittsburgh to try to see Ken Dannager and prevent him from quitting.
    • There is an unannounced visitor already in the office with Mr. Dannager, who is causing his appointment with her to run late. This is extremely unusual for Dannager, who is as punctual as a train schedule.
    • Dagny is admitted to Dannager's office, only to find that the visitor ahead of her was The Destroyer, who has convinced Dannager to quit. Dagny tries to beg Dannager not to quit, but is unsuccessful, and he will be leaving that day. Dannager asks Dagny to tell Hank Rearden that he is probably "the only man I ever loved," indicating how much he cared about Rearden.
    • Dannager tells her not to worry, as she'll be seeing him again soon. "Oh? Are you going to return?" "No. You're going to join me."
  • The following Places in Atlas Shrugged are used as settings in this section:
    • Dannager's office at Dannager Coal Company in Pittsburgh.
  • The following Characters in Atlas Shrugged appear in this section:
    • Dagny Taggart
    • Ken Dannager's Secretary
    • Ken Dannager
    • Unnamed visitor (The Destroyer, actually turning out to be John Galt).

Section 235: Part 2, Chapter 3, Section 5[edit]

  • Plot summary:
    • Rearden is sitting in his office thinking about how badly he feels that his friend Ken Dannager has quit. Dagny's mention to him of Dannager's admission of how much of a friend Rearden was to him has made him realize how much he will miss Dannager.
    • As Rearden prepares to leave the office, he discovers Francisco d'Anconia waiting outside. Francisco talks to him about whether his actions in making metal or running his business have given him any benefits, or is he simply being punished for his good qualities, and whether any one should continue under the circumstances. "Mr. Rearden, if you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders—what would you tell him to do?" "I... don't know. What... could he do? what would you tell him?" "To shrug."
    • As Francisco tries to speak to Rearden about the nature of his burdens and ask him a question, an alarm sounds as a break-out has occurred at one of the furnaces. Rearden and Francisco both run out to the furnace, and both begin acting to stop the furnace from overflowing.
    • While responding to the break-out, Rearden saves Francisco's life as he almost slips and falls into a pool of molten metal.
    • After the crisis is over, Rearden suggests Francisco come work for him in order to appreciate the business he has inherited. Francisco admits he wishes he could, but he can't. Rearden asks him to tell him the question he was going to ask. Francisco admits that it's pointless to ask the question, he already knows the answer.
  • The following Places in Atlas Shrugged are used as settings in this section:
    • Rearden's office at the mill
    • Mill floor in front of a furnace
  • The following Characters in Atlas Shrugged appear in this section:
    • Hank Rearden
    • Francisco d'Anconia
    • Various mill workers



CHAPTER FOUR: The Sanction of the Victim[edit]

Section 241: Part 2, Chapter 4, Section 1[edit]

  • Plot summary:
    • Rearden's family prepares to celebrate Thanksgiving, but are unhappy that he might end up going to jail over the illegal sale of metal that he and Ken Dannager were indicted over, instead of cooperating with the government.
    • Rearden listens to Lillian's condemnation of him, and realizes what she is stating represents a monstrous system where one's own goodwill is used for one's very destruction.
    • Lillian says they know what he is thinking, and that's why they are cracking down on him. He says they don't, and he's going to tell them at his trial. Phillip criticises Rearden's attitude, saying he thinks he's guilty as hell and finds it contemptible. Rearden tells him if he talks that way to him again in his house he will throw Phillip out on the street.
    • Rearden, disgusted with his family, walks out to go to New York.
    • Rearden remembers how the Wet Nurse knew about his deal with Dannager, but never told anyone about it.
    • Rearden goes to Dagny's Apartment in New York, but discovers she's at her office. Rearden goes there and meets Eddie, who tells Rearden that his trial is something he doesn't believe in and even if it's done in the name of the people, he's not one of the people that is represented. Dagny tells Rearden that if he's sent to jail she'll quit, without any destroyer coming to see her. Rearden does not think that will happen, and informs Dagny that for the sixty thousand tons of steel they ordered, he is actually going to deliver eighty thousand tons of Rearden Metal, and if anyone finds out, he will make it look like he is the only one to blame, and he doesn't want her to ever admit she knows about it.
  • The following Places in Atlas Shrugged are used as settings in this section:
    • Rearden's home
    • Rearden's office
    • Dagny's apartment
    • Dagny's office
  • The following Characters in Atlas Shrugged appear in this section:
    • Hank Rearden
    • Lillian Rearden
    • Phillip Rearden
    • Rearden's Mother
    • The Wet Nurse
    • Eddie Willers
    • Dagny Taggart

Section 242: Part 2, Chapter 4, Section 2[edit]

  • Plot summary:
    • Hank Rearden appears for his trial for illegally selling Rearden Metal. He is asked to enter a plea in his own defense. He admits he has no defense because he does not recognize the court's right to try him, as he is not before a tribunal of justice, but, in effect, a kangaroo court, and will not allow them to disguise what they are. They can rule in whatever fashion they please, since he has no rights and no ability to defend himself, but he will not co-operate in their actions. If they want him to go to jail, they will have to send armed men to carry him; if they want to impose fines upon him, they will have to seize his property themselves, he will not pay it. He has done nothing but act honorably in his business, and he will neither accept sacrifices from others nor be sacrificed for others, or be a victim. "If it is now the belief of my fellow men, who call themselves the public, that their good requires victims, then I say: The public good be damned, I will have no part of it!" The audience in the courtroom cheers.
    • The judges are overwhelmed by Rearden's stand, and choose to fine him $5,000 and suspend sentence. The audience in the courtroom laughs at them.
    • Rearden tries to understand why people had allowed themselves to accept the doctrines of self-destruction such as what the court had effectively been a part of, and that is the real sentence imposed upon him, to learn why.
  • The following Places in Atlas Shrugged are used as settings in this section:
    • Courtroom in Philadelphia
  • The following Characters in Atlas Shrugged appear in this section:
    • Hank Rearden
    • Dagny Taggart
    • Eddie Willers
    • Mr. Mowen
    • Paul Larkin
    • Bertram Scudder
    • Lillian Rearden
    • Three judges
    • Members of the courtroom audience

Section 243: Part 2, Chapter 4, Section 3[edit]

  • Plot summary:
    • Dagny admits to Rearden as a result of the decision in his trial that she will never doubt that right wins in the end. Lillian chides Rearden over his stand in the trial.
    • The Wet nurse asks Rearden a question about his speech: "What's a moral premise?" "Something you're going to have a lot of trouble with." Rearden discovers that his fellow businessmen are unwilling to refuse to be victims, or to stand up for themselves, despite the results that occurred in his own case.
    • Rearden sits in his hotel room, wanting to see Francisco, then realizes he could simply go see him in his suite in the same hotel. Rearden does so, and discovered Francisco had been listening to Rearden's trial over the radio. Rearden admits he does not understand why someone with the intelligence and the ability of Francisco has chosen to live as a womanizing wastrel playboy.
    • Francisco introduces Rearden to the value theory of sex, that only a neurotic man chases worthless women, and since he isn't a neurotic, it's another reason: to camouflage his actions for a secret purpose of his own.
    • Rearden admits that since Francisco has told him a secret, he will tell him one: Rearden has secretly ordered copper from d'Anconia copper in order to fill the order for Taggart Transcontinental's rail, an order that is ten times the size of the one he was indicted for.
    • Francisco is furious, reminding Rearden that he had told him never to deal with d'Anconia Copper. Francisco reaches to use a telephone, but stops himself. Rearden realizes there is something Francisco has the power to prevent, but it is a power he will not use. Pained, Francisco swears to Rearden that despite what he is going to find out, he is still Rearden's friend.
    • Rearden is informed he will not be receiving the copper, because Ragnar Danneskjold has sunk the d'Anconia ore freighters.
    • Rearden later realizes he must stay away from Francisco, lest he kill him on sight.
  • The following Places in Atlas Shrugged are used as settings in this section:
    • Rearden's Office
    • Rearden's suite at the Wayne-Falkland hotel
    • Francisco's suite at the Wayne-Falkland hotel
  • The following Characters in Atlas Shrugged appear in this section:
    • Hank Rearden
    • Lillian Rearden
    • Various businessmen
    • Francisco d'Anconia
    • Dagny Taggart
    • The Wet Nurse


CHAPTER FIVE: Account Overdrawn[edit]

Section 251: Part 2, Chapter 5, Section 1[edit]

  • Plot summary:
    • Various businesses are closing, affecting other business and often causing them to close in turn.
    • The Atlantic Southern bridge over the Mississippi River collapses. After investigation, two other bridges are condemned, leaving the Taggert Bridge as the only train bridge crossing the Mississippi.
    • Dagny is at a Taggert Board Meeting. A Mr. Weatherby from the government is there, although his role is unclear. Taggert Transcontinental is becoming a financial disaster. One reason of many is that there are less goods to ship on any given line due to closed businesses, there is no longer an economy of scale. Mr. Weatherby wants a raise in wages and a drop in rates. Dagny responds that she can't make the company profitable any longer. The Board must close one of the lines in order to use track from one to repair another. They decide to close the John Galt Line for political reasons as opposed to financial ones.
    • Leaving, Dagny sees Francisco waiting for her. He knew what would happen and came to help her get past it. They talk about how the world is being run these days, the injustice of it.
  • The following Places in Atlas Shrugged are used as settings in this section:
    • Taggert Transcontinental
    • A diner

Section 252: Part 2, Chapter 5, Section 2[edit]

  • Plot summary:
    • Dagny and Hank are in Colorado to buy any machinery that can be salvaged from closed businesses. They leave on the last run of the John Galt line. They hear other passengers quoting various popular sayings of the time, about their needs being important because of that need, about the greed of the industrialists.
  • The following Places in Atlas Shrugged are used as settings in this section:
    • On a Taggert train
  • The following Characters in Atlas Shrugged appear in this section:
    • Dany Taggert
    • Hank Reardon
    • various passengers

Section 253: Part 2, Chapter 5, Section 3[edit]

  • Plot summary:

Lillian meets Jim for lunch. He accuses her of double crossing him regarding Hank's behavior at his trial for illegally selling steel. She was supposed to control Hank. She tells him she didn't betray him, she just failed, and she doesn't yet know why.

Lillian decides to meet Hank when his train comes in, but there is no car reserved for anyone named Hank Rearden. She realizes that Hank must be in a car under some other name, and suspects that he is having an affair. This pleases her, as she has been waiting for this moment. She saw that Hank was good and pure and hated him for it. She married him solely to detroy the good in him.


Section 254: Part 2, Chapter 5, Section 4[edit]

  • Plot summary:
    • Lillian confronts Hank at Taggart Terminal. She was hoping that Hank's mistress was a nobody, and is angry to learn that it is Dagny because Dagny is a true threat. Hank confirms the affair but is completely unapologetic, he tells Lillian to either divorce him or let it be. Either way, she is not to speak to him of Dagny again.
  • The following Places in Atlas Shrugged are used as settings in this section:
    • The Taggart Terminal
  • The following Characters in Atlas Shrugged appear in this section:
    • Lillian Rearden
    • Hank Rearden
    • Dagny Taggart

See Also: Structure, Part 1: Chapters 1-5, Part 1: Chapters 6-10, Part 2: Chapters 1-5, Part 2: Chapters 6-10, Part 3: Chapters 1-5, Part 3: Chapters 6-10