14 Scenes Why Atlas Shrugged is One of the Most Gratifying Novels of All Time

Originally published in Ayn Rand New Zealand

After seeing the “Yoga Teacher Cultural Appropriation” article, I decided to write something nice for a change, something which actually helps the reader, not the click bait pieces from Buzzfeed, Jezebel, Huffington Post, Elitedaily, Salon, Upworthy, New York Times, Washinton Post, etc.

So I now present to you: 14 Scenes Why Atlas Shrugged is One of the Most Gratifying Novels of All Time.

Many people who have not read Atlas Shrugged either because of intimidation by its volume or ideological differences have assumed the novel to be pessimistic and cynical, but in fact it is one of the most uplifting novels ever written. Below are the 14 scenes which would brighten up your day. (Contains spoilers)

1. Ellis Wyatt destroying his oil wells- Ellis Wyatt is a oil tycoon from the novel, after increase regulation from the government and the warning of government takeover, he decided to “leave it as how he has found it” The result was the widespread shortage of petrol and other products which require fossil fuels, which made Dagny’s determination to maintain Taggart Transcontinetal much harder but also embarked her quest to find the “Destroyer”.


2. Dagny Taggart foresaw the nationalisation of railroad in Mecixo- despite Dagny’s protest, James insisted on laying railroad to Mexico in order to “serve his duty of a global brotherhood”. However, Dagny also had a few tricks up her sleeves: she made sure the Mexico line was ran at the minimal expense with the worthless train and cheap rail, so when the nationalisation happened, Taggart Transcontinental was not significantly affected, much at the dismay of James.


3. Lilian Rearden’s trading of jewellery with Dagny Taggart- Hank designed a bracelet made out of Rearden metal (his greatest invention) for his wife Lilian, however, Lilian simply did not appreciate it for she couldn’t understand the (non monetary) value of the bracelet. At the dinner party, Lilian made a scene to humiliate Dagny by demanding her to trade the bracelet made out of Rearden metal with Dagny’s bracelet and Dagny gladly accepted it much to Lilian’s dismay.


4. Hank Rearden won his trial: Mouch, Boyle and Ferris have all been trying to get their hands on Rearden metal but Hank would budge, they thought they could use threat of imprisonment to force Hank to surrender but Hank was a clever man, he had the upper hand by refusing to participate in his trial to obstruct the due process and made fools out of the looters and moochers.


5. Francisco D’Anconia’s Money speech- during the engagement party of Cheryl and James, Francisco responded to a moocher by explaining the origin and function of money and how only the producers are capable of understanding and enjoying the value of money. In the same scene, Cheryl also taunted Dagny for she did not realise Dagny was the one who made the John Galt line possible and Dagny replied witty to Cheryl.


6. Ragnar Danneskjöld as a privateer- the U.S. Government had been conducting foreign aid to other (communist) countries by shipping out the goods, Ragnar became a Anti-Robin Hood who stole from the thieving poor and restore the the goods back to the productive rich. He was so effective that the U.S. Navy almost always surrendered and Ragnar ensured no one was harmed in the process yet goods never ever reached their destination. Ragnar represented the non-violent methods to protest tyranny can still be successful.


7. Ken Dannagar’s joy- Dagny needed more Rearden metal for her rails and attempted to persuade Dannagar to stay fighting the governmental control but she arrived too late. Dannagar was known as a stern man but when she met him for the last time before she found the Destroyer, he radiated a joy that Dagny had never seen before, he was full of… Hope!


8. John Galt leaving 20th Century Motor Company- Galt loved working in 20th Century Motor Company, but when the heirs took over and decided to communise the company, Galt objected and vowed to stop the “Motor of the World” and he did!


9. Francisco D’Anconia destroyed his copper mines- the Argentinean government was going to nationalise the D’Anconia mines, but Francisco had planned to resist them by laying off all the workers and planted dynamites in every mine. When nationalisation happened, the dynamites simultaneously exploded along with all the equipment for mining, rendering the mines useless.


10. Midas Mulligan’s departure- during one of the interviews on Dagny’s quest to learn about the disappearances of the most talented individuals in the last non-communist country, she encountered an “aspiring” writer who told her the story of how Mulligan refused to grant him a loan, when the government forced him to do so, Mulligan liquidated his assets and left to go to “Mulligan’s valley”. It exemplified that when life gives you lemon, make some lemonade.


11. Dagny met the Destroyer: after about 800 pages of searching, Dagny finally found the Destroyer, but along with her discovery was a world of pure joy and happiness. It symbolised everyone’s search for their values, the journey is not always a straight line nor would there be no obstacles but if you truly wish to achieve your goal, you will succeed. Act and you shall be granted.


12. Tony changed- Tony was a young bureaucrat sent by the government to spy on Hank. Initially he appeared to have been completely brainwashed by the philosophy of anti-reason, after conversing with Hank, Tony began to discover Reason and eventually found value and began to understand and admire producers. Tony represented the typical brainwashed university students who often are too late to be saved but are not completely hopeless.


13. Cheryl Brooks apologised to Dagny Taggart- Cheryl finally understood that James was part of the ranks of the looters and moochers, Dagny was the real producers and she felt absolutely terrible for being rude to Dagny this whole time. She eventually caught up with Dagny and reconciled with her. Cheryl represented another type of the brainwashed individual who was confused about their values and was blinded by the lies and propaganda (of the liberal media), however, if facts were presented to them, they could still turn around and appreciate the producers.


14. This is John Galt speaking- the three hour speech delivered by Joh Galt outlined the philosophy of Objectivism and taught the listeners one of the most important lessons: I swear by my life, and my my love of it that I shall never live for the sake of another man nor ask another man to live mine. Enjoy life everyone, it is yours!

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