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Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Characters

Bertram Scudder

Character Analysis

We have to hand it to Bertram: for someone who isn't a politician or a businessman, he manages to stay in the thick of things for a really long time. Bertram is a journalist who writes angry, ranting essays. His most notable one is a rant targeted at Hank Rearden that wins him a lot of respect in looter circles. It's why Lillian invites him to Hank's party, which Hank doesn't realize for a while. Bertram seems to be everywhere, and is close to James Taggart until his downfall:

Bertram Scudder was staring at [Dagny]; this was not the speech he had expected and he felt, in dim panic, that it was not proper to let her continue, but she was a special guest whom the Washington rulers had ordered him to treat cautiously; he could not be certain whether he was now supposed to interrupt her or not. (3.3.3.17)

Bertram demonstrates the flaws in the looters' philosophy here; he doesn't know how to make decisions, and he's too scared of Washington to do anything that might upset them. He ultimately becomes the scapegoat for Dagny's bold radio speech. Ironically, Bertram was supposed to debate Dagny on the merits of Rearden Metal way back in Volume 1, but Dagny refused to go on the air with him. Ironically, Bertram may have survived as long as he did because of that refusal.

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