by Ayn Rand
Atlas Shrugged Visions of America Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Volume.Chapter.Section.Page). We used the 50th Anniversary Edition published by Signet Books in 2007.
It began with a few lights. As a train of the Taggart line rolled toward Philadelphia, a few brilliant, scattered lights appeared in the darkness; they seemed purposeless in the empty plain, but too powerful to have no purpose. The passengers watched them idly without interest. [...] An office building appeared, close to the tracks. The big neon sign on its roof lighted the interiors of the coaches as they went by. It said: Rearden Steel. (188.8.131.52-7)
The light motif emerges again here in connection with Rearden Steel and industry in general. This passage also sets up a recurring theme: that of an oblivious society that doesn't appreciate what it has.
She walked on. She stopped at the window of a bookstore. The window displayed a pyramid of slabs in brownish-purple jackets, inscribed: The Vulture if Molting. "The novel of our century," said a placard. "The penetrating study of a businessman's greed. A fearless revelation of man's depravity." (184.108.40.206)
In this sequence Dagny encounters an entire series of signs of cultural decline. It's no mistake that in a looter-dominated culture, the bestselling book involves "vultures."
The car jerked forward. It moved slowly through a gap in a plank barrier, past the hole of a broken water main. She saw the new pipe stacked by the excavation; the pipe bore a trademark: Stockton Foundry, Colorado. She looked away; she wished she were not reminded of Colorado. (220.127.116.11)
The importance of Colorado is demonstrated through a series of images where Dagny sees how Colorado's industries are basically supporting New York. Scenes of urban decay are contrasted to shiny new equipment from Colorado.