I’ve made it to the 25% complete mark on Atlas Shrugged today. I consider that a feat in its own right. On top of that, it seems I’ve finally reached the end of whatever material was used for the movie, so with the upcoming chapters I’ll be heading into unknown territory as far as plot and characters are concerned.
Before I get into the details of what has happened in the last few chapters, let me say one thing: these chapters are long. None of them stick to just one viewpoint, none of them cover just one small piece of action, and they all go on for what seems like forever. I thought I was used to long chapters after reading so much of Robert Jordan’s work in the past, but he’s got nothing on Ayn Rand. Even more terrifying is that my wife has told me I’ve not even reached the longest of them yet. Wow.
Anyways, on to the big things that have happened since my last post.
First, Dagny Taggart went on hiatus from Taggart Transcontinental. She was receiving far too much resistance about the reconstruction of the Rio Norte Line so she up and leaves to build the line on her own with her own investors. As it turns out, the line still gets completed on time, and within budget. Of course, she names it the John Galt Line, which just makes me want to know who is all the more.
Francisco d’Anconia refused to give Dagny any money for the John Galt Line, but Hank Rearden fronted a full one million dollars toward the effort. Not to mention, Rearden offers to build her a new bridge to cross a particular canyon that’s in the way and he does it for what seems like no cost at all once he figures out a magnificent way to use his Rearden Metal for the construction.
The only interesting thing about Francisco is that when he’s discussing the building of the railroad with Dagny he asks what she’s going to name it. When she responds that she intends to name it the John Galt Line he is quite surprised. Dagny asks him what the worst that could happen would possibly be, that John Galt would come and claim it for himself?
To which Francisco responds, “He just might.”
If that doesn’t add another layer of intrigue to the mystery that is John Galt I don’t know what does. I was already pretty sure he was an actual person, but now it’s safe to say that’s correct and it isn’t just some sort of euphemism people are tossing around. It also adds credence to my theory that the unnamed Taggart Transcontinental worker who Eddie Willers keeps associating with at lunch in the diner is actually John Galt. It only makes sense since that worker shows up again in these chapters talking to Eddie and there must be something important about him continuing to show up.
It’s also my belief that Dagny has already had her first encounter with John Galt, but she doesn’t realize it. In one scene she is working alone late at night in the John Galt, Inc offices when a shadowy figure approaches the door. The figure doesn’t knock, but also doesn’t seem to know if it wants to stay or go. I think that was John Galt coming to say something to Dagny, but something then changed his mind. I’m excited to see what that was all about.
Also, the success of the first run of a train on the John Galt Line has caused quite an uproar, almost all of it positive as far as the general public is concerned, but it’s causing a major headache for James Taggart and his friends in Washington. Specifics haven’t been revealed yet, but I think that will be coming soon as I move forward.
Chapter 9 concluded with Dagny Taggart and Hank Rearden discovering a miraculous type of engine left abandoned in an old factory. It clearly has something to do with what happens next in the book, that much I picked up, but the chapter ended before any more specifics could be entertained. I’m guessing the engine has something to do with John Galt as well, but then I think everything has to do with John Galt at this point until I am informed otherwise.
And last but not least, Hank Rearden and Dagny Taggart finally gave in to the inevitable and have started their affair. Of course, I knew that was going to happen since it was covered in the movie, but I’ll admit I thought it would be earlier in the book, not nearly one-fourth of the way through. Nothing intriguing has come of the affair yet, but I don’t think it will stay that way.
Oh, and another last thing.
The head of the State Science Institute had a chat with Dagny Taggart about three former students of his. One of them is Francisco d’Anconia, and I’m positive the one who he mentions as having disappeared is John Galt, but I’m diligently searching to figure out who the last one is. I don’t have a clue on that third one yet though.