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Atlas Shrugged

Atlas Shrugged


by Ayn Rand

Nathaniel "Nat" Taggart

Character Analysis

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 state legislator who attempted to revoke a charter granted to him... but the charge could never be proved. (

This guy doesn't seem like a great role model. But Dagny sees him as more than some sort of legendary Old West figure; he represents hard work and achievement:

All that Dagny wanted of life was contained in the desire to hold her head as he did. (

Dagny wants to live the sort of bold and uncompromising life that Nat lived, and she finds inspiration in his struggles and his never-say-die attitude. She even communes with him during a meeting where the Board shuts down the John Galt Line she'd worked so hard to build:

"You had to bear it, too, generations ago – and it was just as hard for you, just as bad, but you did not let it stop you." (

Nat is a guiding presence in the book and ties in to the running themes of history, inspiring legends, and the importance of having people to look up to in life.