How we cite our quotes:
Motive power – thought Dagny, looking up at the Taggart Building in the twilight – was its first need; motive power, to keep that building standing; movement, to keep it immovable. (22.214.171.124)
Motive power is a running theme throughout the book. The idea of motors symbolizes Galt's strike and his value system, which proposes that the mind propels the world.
The sounds of torture became defiance, the statement of agony became a hymn to a distant vision for whose sake anything was worth enduring, even this. It was the song of rebellion – and of a desperate quest. (126.96.36.199)
Halley's Fourth Concerto seems to rebel against the world of the looters, expressing power by refusing to submit quietly. This concept of rebellion is important in the book: many of our heroes are trapped in bad situations with limited resources.
"Dan," she said through her teeth, "fight it."
He raised his head. His eyes were empty. "No," he said, "it would be wrong. I'm just selfish."
"Oh, damn that rotten tripe! You know better than that!"
"I don't know . . ." His voice was very tired. (188.8.131.52-4)
Dan has taken in the looters' ideas to such an extent that he can't see a way around them, even though he knows they are wrong. He doesn't realize his own power to fight back here and instead is beaten down and defeated.