Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Characters

Meet the Cast

John Galt

Who Is John Galt?Seriously, we really want to know who this guy is. We get lots of wacky theories about his identity (he's living in an undersea city! he discovered the fountain of youth!) before f...

Dagny Taggart

The novel may be obsessed with the question "Who is John Galt?" but first we need to ask, who is Dagny Taggart? At first glance, Dagny may seem like the easiest character to figure out. She's the s...

Hank Rearden

Han is our co-protagonist, along with the savvy Dagny Taggart, and our main romantic male lead for much of the novel. (At least until he gets upstaged in Volume 3. Which is a serious bummer for poo...

Francisco d'Anconia

If John Galt is the shadowy, mysterious figure in the book, Francisco is the mystery man hiding in plain sight. We see a lot of Francisco in the first two volumes of the book, and each time he pops...

James Taggart

We agree with Betty Pope's assessment of James Taggart: she calls him a snail (1.4.2.10). It's quite fitting really. James is slimy, often slow, and seems to enjoy mucking around in the dirt. Snail...

Eddie Willers

We get Eddie Willers. In a book filled with larger-than-life heroic figures, living legends, moral strikers, destructive "looters," and industrial giants, Eddie is just a normal guy. He works a dec...

Robert Stadler

At the beginning of the movie Trainspotting, the main character Renton goes on a rather famous rant, telling people to "Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family." And on and on,...

Lillian Rearden

Lillian Rearden might be the most boring character in whole book. She really almost seems pointless. First off, she's a totally ineffectual villain – she's totally inept at getting Hank:The p...

Cherryl Brooks Taggart

Cherryl is probably the most major minor character in the novel. After all, an entire chapter is devoted to her, which is highly unusual (3.4 – Anti-Life). Though we get glimpses of her earli...

Ragnar Danneskjöld

Ahoy mateys! It's time to discuss everyone's favorite pirate: Ragnar. (He even has an "aargh" sound in his name!)OK, so actually Ragnar is an odd duck. He's like the Ron Weasley of Galt's Golden Tr...

Hugh Akston

If John Galt is the father of the strike, Hugh Akston is its grandfather. Dr. Akston is a highly paternal presence who instructs and guides all the young strikers. It's his intellectual and moral g...

Ellis Wyatt

Ellis Wyatt is pretty hardcore. He shows the rest of the world what he thinks of them when he torches his own oil fields. He definitely has the most dramatic exit of all the strikers, even more dra...

Jeff Allen

Often simply called "the tramp," Jeff Allen is a man who has fallen on seriously bad times. His sole purpose in the book is to tell Dagny the story of the decline and fall of the Twentieth Century...

Mayor Bascom

The Mayor of Rome, Wisconsin, a town approaching Starnesville status, is one of the first people that Hank and Dagny track down regarding the Motor Factory. While the mayor puts them on the trail o...

Luke Beal

Luke was the fireman aboard the Comet when it entered the tunnel, and he was the only person to escape the tragedy alive. Luke's account is the one Dagny hears on the radio at her cabin. His story...

Orren Boyle

Just as Wesley Mouch epitomizes the villainous politician in the book, Orren Boyle represents the bad businessman. We start getting hints at how corrupt Orren is from the very start. He badly misma...

Laura Bradford

Laura is Kip Chalmer's mistress and is shown to be a very whiny and obnoxious woman. She and Kip obviously have a lot of contempt for each other, and this tiny glimpse into their relationship helps...

Bill Brent

Bill is a long-time Taggart employee, like Pat Logan. Like Pat, Bill also walks off the job when he realizes what is happening and how deadly a risk people are taking just to pacify some idiot from...

Kip Chalmers

Kip is a looter politician who is largely to blame for the disaster. He is on his way to a campaign rally when the train he is on breaks down. In his impatience to get moving again, and his refusal...

Dan Conway

Poor Dan is the businessman who didn't quite make it. He ran everyone's favorite Old West sounding railroad, the Phoenix-Durango, which mainly provided service in Colorado. But Dan was the unfortun...

Ken Danagger

We would totally be BFFs with Ken. First off, he has a great last name. Sounds like Danger. Second, he's a fan of Hank. And third, he gets some of the best scenes in the whole book, and he's not ev...

The d'Anconias

We only hear of three d'Anconias in the book: Francisco's father and his two famous ancestors Sebastián d'Anconia and his wife. Francisco's father has a lot in common with the Taggarts. He see...

Quentin Daniels

Quentin is sort of like the kid brother of the strike. He's like Robin to the strike's League of Super Friends. And if Eddie Willers had been a super genius, he might have been this kid.Quentin is...

Balph Eubank

Balph probably wins the award for stupidest name in the whole book. At least the Nickname Looters crowd had real names that weren't quite as silly. Balph is just ridiculous. And he obviously has so...

Dr. Floyd Ferris

Dr. Ferris is a member, along with Wesley and James, of what we like to call the trio of evil. While James embodies evil business and Wesley evil politics, Ferris is here to represent evil science....

Richard Halley

Richard Halley is another of the book's legendary figures. At the beginning of the novel, he is almost not even a "real" character at all. We hardly hear his name when it's not linked to his concer...

Lawrence Hammond

Like Dagny, Hammond was in the transportation business (automobiles) before going on strike. Hammond's snazzy cars are actually featured in the novel more than Hammond himself, which is rather appr...

Pop Harper

Another snapshot, one-off character, Pop Harper has only one scene in the first chapter of the book. A depressed and stressed-out Eddie is leaving the office when he spies Pop Harper trying to repa...

Mr. and Mrs. William Hastings

We only hear about William Hastings from other people, since he died before the novel started. Hastings was Galt's boss at the Factory and one of the earliest people to join Galt's strike. From wha...

Dr. Hendricks

A famous surgeon who joined the strike early on, Dr. Hendricks cares for Dagny after she is injured in her plane crash and also gives us some interesting information about the state of health care...

Tinky Holloway

Tinky is another of the "nickname era" looters, albeit one who is referred to much more than he is featured. In fact, the only really substantial sequence we get with him is at a Washington meeting...

Lee Hunsacker

Hunsacker was the owner of the dubiously named Amalgamated Services Inc., which took over the Factory after the Starnes children abandoned it. Hunsacker is directly responsible for Mulligan and Nar...

Gwen Ives

Along with Dagny, Kay, and Cherryl, Gwen is one of the few good women (actually, one of the few women) that we meet in the book. As Hank Rearden's efficient and professional secretary, she's also t...

Gilbert Keith-Worthing

A British intellectual turned expat, Gilbert is an aging elitist who voices communist doctrine and enjoys making grandiose statements. He is the quintessential example of the intellectual who uses...

Owen Kellogg

Owen has the distinction of being the very first striker we meet, although we don't realize it at the time. In fact, for a long time we're not really sure what this guy's deal is. When Dagny offers...

Fred Kinnan

Fred is one of the book's most outspokenly cynical characters. Like Floyd Ferris, he doesn't mind cutting through the crap and admitting to what's really going on, which people like James and Eugen...

Paul Larkin

Though he plays a fairly sizable role at the beginning of the novel, Paul Larkin disappears around halfway through. In a way, his absence from the action does more to characterize him than his pres...

Eugene Lawson

Eugene Lawson might just be the worst banker ever. Eugene is a pro at making bad investments. He dumped a lot of money into the Twentieth Century Motor Factory when it was under bad management. Whe...

Mort Liddy

Mort plays a small role at Hank's anniversary party, but it's one that sets off a huge chain reaction, so to speak. Mort is a hack composer who turns up the radio so everybody can hear a great new...

Clifton Locey

Clifton Locey is a trained seal, according to Eddie Willers (2.7.1.1). We think this is a great description. Clifton, who is appointed to Dagny's job after she temporarily quits, is clearly a moron...

Pat Logan

Logan is the engineer who wins the drawing to drive the first John Galt Line train on opening day. An older company man, Logan is serious and devoted to his job, but he also has a very dry sense of...

The Looters

We have a lot of people who fit into this category in the book. Many of them are only featured in one scene, while others keep popping up like bad pennies. The vast majority of these men, and a few...

Kay Ludlow

For the most part, the novel focuses on industrialists and businesspeople. But artists are also a part of Galt's strike, as we discover in Atlantis. Art is an important part of Galt's philosophy, s...

Dick McNamara

McNamara has the distinction of being the first person to "disappear," leaving Dagny in a serious lurch business-wise. He was a contractor who was going to help Dagny with her railroad in Colorado....

Cuffy Meigs

And confronting her daily there was the final product of it all, the heir and collector – Cuffy Meigs, the man impervious to thought. Cuffy Meigs strode through the offices of Taggart Transco...

Dave Mitchum

Mitchum is both the tragic hero and chief villain of the Tunnel Disaster. A man who got his job through personal connections and shady dealing, Dave Mitchum has never made an important decision in...

Chick Morrison

Chick Morrison arrives on the scene with a couple other minor looters who bear mentioning – Tinky Holloway, Buzzy Watts, and Bud Hazleton. The era of the lame nicknames had begun, and this re...

Wesley Mouch

Wesley Mouch probably has the most appropriate name in the book, since he's basically a moocher. He rides other people's coattails into positions of power and influence, then proceeds to do a terri...

Mr. Mowen

The owner of a switch and signal company, Mr. Mowen is another of the book's minor, bad businessmen. He isn't a bigwig in the looter regime, but he definitely plays a part. Mr. Mowen crops up a few...

Midas Mulligan

Midas Mulligan is another one of our legendary, larger-than-life, heroic figures in the book, comparable to characters like Richard Halley and Galt himself. Like Galt, Midas is linked to a Greek my...

Judge Narragansett

The Judge is directly linked to the Midas Mulligan mystery and mythology, and like many of the older members of the Atlantis community, he is a sort of living legend, more closely tied to the past...

Ben Nealy

Ben is the contractor Dagny hires to work on the John Galt Line after the guy she wanted, McNamara, disappears. Nealy is competent but definitely lacks imagination. He doubts everything and isn't v...

The Newsstand Owner

Though Dagny is friendly with the Newsstand Owner, we never learn his name. She considers him a part of the Taggart Terminal and stops by periodically to speak with him. He's a seemingly lonely old...

Ted Nielsen

Another member of the Colorado crowd, Ted Nielsen is distinctive for being the last holdout to join the strike. It isn't clear whether this had to do with Nielsen himself or with Galt's recruitment...

Betty Pope

Betty is the woman who is having an affair with James Taggart at the beginning of the novel. In her one main scene with James, she is rude and trashy. Her tawdry relationship with James contrasts w...

Dr. Simon Pritchett

Dr. Pritchett becomes a big player at Patrick Henry University after Dr. Akston leaves, signaling the nose-dive that institution took in the post-Akston era. Dr. Pritchett is the polar opposite of...

Mrs. Rearden

If we were handing out Mother of the Year awards, Mrs. Rearden would not be a finalist. Not even close. She might even be disqualified. Mrs. Rearden has taken in the looters' moral system so comple...

Philip Rearden

Hank's younger brother shows us exactly what's wrong with the idea of being your "brother's keeper." Philip mooches off Hank then bites the hand that feeds him. He wants free handouts and shows no...

Dwight Sanders

Sanders, like Dagny and Lawrence Hammond, is in the transportation business: airplanes in his case. Sanders' planes, like Hammond's cars, feature more prominently in the story than the man himself....

Joe Scott

Joe is the drunk engineer who agrees to drive the train into the Tunnel after the other engineer quits in protest over what they are about to do. We hear about Joe's panic during the disaster and h...

Bertram Scudder

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, ranti...

Claude Slagenhop

Good old Claude is the president of the Friends of Global Progress, a rather questionable charitable foundation. It's a ridiculous organization that practices the looter ideology and the illogic th...

The Starnes Family

It's fitting that the dilapidated Starnesville was named for the Starnes family. The town essentially tells the story of the decline and fall of this family, and their factory.We start off with Jed...

Andrew Stockton

Stockton is yet another Colorado industrialist who stands out for the extended scene we get with him in Atlantis. Let's check it out:The smiling face that approached her out of the fog was Andrew S...

Mr. and Mrs. Taggart

Both are dead before the book begins, and we get the sense that neither of them made all that much of an impact on the lives of their children. Mr. Taggart seems aware that his son is a fool and th...

Nathaniel "Nat" Taggart

Dagny worships at the Church of Nat Taggart, and it's a religion with a bizarre messiah:Many stories were whispered about him. It was said that in the wilderness of the Middle West, he murdered a s...

Mr. Thompson

Mr. Thompson is like Wesley Mouch times five. Like Wesley, Thompson is nondescript and boring. In fact, he never even merits a first name. This is an important key to his character – we never...

The Trainmaster

This unnamed man is one of the many people complicit in the Tunnel Disaster. We get a very interesting backstory for him that helps explain his role in all of this. The trainmaster's younger brothe...

Lester Tuck

Even though he is Kip Chalmer's campaign manager, Lester doesn't have much influence over Kip. He is sort of a pathetic, beaten-down older guy who couldn't get a job doing anything else. He just so...

The Twentieth Century Motor Factory

The Twentieth Century Motor Factory is one of the book's ongoing mysteries and a sort of microcosm of the country as a whole. The downfall of the Factory, like that of the country, was caused by ba...

Mr. Ward

Mr. Ward only appears in one scene in the book, but it is an important one. Mr. Ward is one of the book's many snapshot characters, meaning characters that we get a quick picture of in a small scen...

Mr. Clem Weatherby

Mr. Weatherby appears on the scene during the closure of the John Galt Line. He's the "man from Washington" sent to keep an eye on things at Taggart Transcontinental. Mr. Weatherby is in many respe...

The Wet Nurse

It's fitting that we only learn the Wet Nurse's name at the moment of his death. In a lot of ways, he is the male Cherryl Brooks. As Hank Rearden's Washington advisor, the Wet Nurse is the victim o...

Mark Yonts

Owner of the People's Mortgage Company, this is the man who sold the Factory to Mayor Bascom. The Mayor recalls Mark fondly and has no idea where he has gone. Mark Yonts sold the Factory to two dif...

The Young Brakeman

We never learn this young man's name, even though he appears at some crucial moments in the story, but the brakeman is closely connected with the book's theme of mystery. When we first meet him, th...

The Young Mother

This is actually the only good mother we meet in the entire book, standing in dramatic contrast to the book's other prominent mother, Mrs. Rearden. Actually, Mrs. Taggart probably wasn't a bad moth...
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