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Quotes

Quote #7

Her only power was the power of his own virtues. What if he chose to withdraw it? (2.4.1.58)

Hank begins to realize the power of choosing retreat here. This paves the way to his joining the strike, which is all about choosing to do nothing in order to accomplish something.

Quote #8

"Mr. Rearden," said Francisco, his voice solemnly calm, "if you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood... 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 on his shoulders – what would you tell him to do?"

"I...don't know. What...could he do? What would you tell him?

"To shrug." (2.2.6.13)

Francisco handily explains the title here, noting that the metaphorical Atlas can choose a nonviolent way to combat violence. This illustrates the book's peaceful protest theme.

Quote #9

She had said she would give her life for one more year on the railroad. She was back; but this was not the joy of working; it was only the clear, cold peace of a decision reached – and the stillness of unadmitted pain. (2.9.1.5)

It's interesting that Dagny finds a sort of "peace" in the midst of pain. Peace for her comes from making a decision, however difficult. In a sense, the only way people experience any emotions at all is through choice. We can see the contrast with the apathetic, beaten-down people in Starnesville, who don't choose anything.

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