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Atlas Shrugged

Atlas Shrugged


by Ayn Rand

Atlas Shrugged Volume 1, Chapter 9 Summary

The Sacred and the Profane

  • Time for some morning-after awkwardness.
  • Hank and Dagny are awake and staring at each other.
  • Hank brushes back some of Dagny's hair and seems like he's feeling tormented.
  • He gets up to get dressed and then decides it's time to speechify.
  • Hank proceeds to tell Dagny that he feels guilty, that what they did last night was depraved, that he used to admire her but now he sees that she's not so pure, and that he is ashamed of himself for sleeping with her.
  • Dagny goes from confused to amused in about ten seconds flat, which is amazing.
  • She then starts laughing.
  • Dagny gets up, naked, and makes her own speech. She tells Hank that he needs to chill out.
  • She says she wants to have lots of sex with him and that she's fine having an affair with him. (She has practice at the clandestine thing after all.) She doesn't see any problem because they are consenting adults who are attracted to each other.
  • Then they go at it again, so we're guessing Hank's reservations have flown out the window.
  • Scene cut! James is wandering around New York in the rain.
  • He just left a Board Meeting at Taggart Transcontinental, where everyone gave him credit for getting the John Galt Line up and running. Super lame.
  • James is feeling emo and depressed as usual.
  • He hears some news about Ragnar and his pirate antics that upsets him.
  • He stops at a drugstore for some Kleenex.
  • The girl at the counter recognizes him and is all excited to meet him, like he's a movie star or something.
  • The girl questions James excitedly about the John Galt Line and asks him how he deals with being so awesome.
  • She seems to have him confused with his sister.
  • James is confused and amused by the kid.
  • She tells James that she admires him and wants to be a successful, cool person when she gets older.
  • James likes being flattered, so he invites her to his place for drinks.
  • She acts like this is the most incredible thing ever.
  • At James's place he grills her about her background.
  • We find out that she is Cherryl Brooks, age nineteen, from Buffalo, New York. Her family was poor and she ran away from home to make it on her own in the big city.
  • James then starts whining to her (he really just can't help himself) about how mistreated he is, how nothing is his fault, etc. He also throws out some communist dogma for good measure and says some stuff about how no one has ideas and nothing really exists.
  • Cherryl finds this all confusing.
  • James then complains about the people he works with and laughs about how the success with the John Galt Line threw everyone for a loop. Dr. Ferris apparently changed gears quickly and started going on about how Rearden Metal is a national treasure, but Bertram Scudder still had nothing good to say.
  • James then starts griping about how much he hates Dagny and tries to convert Cherryl to his communist ways.
  • Cherryl is confused but manages to rationalize all this to herself, thinking that James is just being modest about his achievements and that he's sad because people are so jealous of how cool he is.
  • James thinks this is hilarious.
  • He then takes Cherryl home and she thanks him for not putting the moves on her. James then deliberately embarrasses her by acting like he doesn't know what she's talking about. She runs away, blushing.
  • Scene cut! We are back in New York with Hank and Dagny.
  • They are at Dagny's apartment.
  • Hank decides to go off on his "Dagny is impure" kick again.
  • He tells her all the reporters think she's cool and respect her but he knows the truth.
  • Dagny finds this amusing and they have sex again.
  • Later, still in bed together, Hank asks Dagny about her past lovers.
  • Dagny tells him about Francisco without naming names.
  • Hank demands a name, but she refuses. Dagny seems to enjoy the fact that this bothers Hank.
  • They have sex yet again.
  • Scene cut! We go to Connecticut to visit a Mr. Mowen of the Amalgamated Switch and Signal Company. We're really not quite sure what he manufactures, but it's presumably something to do with railroads. He is standing sadly outside.
  • His neighbor factory, the Quinn Ball Bearing Company, is moving to Colorado.
  • Mr. Mowen is mad that everyone is going to Colorado and thinks that people should stay put so nothing has to change, ever.
  • Mr. Mowen starts chatting with a young guy who is helping to load stuff up at the Quinn factory.
  • Mr. Quinn is moving because of the Equalization of Opportunity Bill. He wanted to open a second factory branch in Colorado, but since that's no longer allowed he's just moving out there.
  • Mr. Mowen then goes on a contradictory rant about how change is bad and Colorado is awful. He complains about people like Hank who have a monopoly but then also complains about newcomers to the Switch and Signal business since he has seniority..
  • The young guy makes snobby comments and also praises Hank Rearden.
  • We learn that his name is Owen Kellogg. It's the guy who quit Taggart Transcontinental in Chapter 1!
  • Mr. Mowen gripes some more but then says the new head of the Economic Planning Bureau should fix everything: his name is Wesley Mouch. Doom!
  • Quick Historical Context Lesson: Economic Plans are a signal of communist shenanigans. Communist countries like the Soviet Union always had "X-Year Plans" where they would do things like tell factories exactly how much they had to produce. These plans were usually big disasters.
  • Scene cut. Dagny is hanging out at home, thinking deep thoughts, as usual, about the world and life and business.
  • Hank comes in – he has his own key now.
  • He was at a banquet for the National Council of Metal Industries. Sounds thrilling.
  • Hank and Dagny flirt.
  • Hank complains about the banquet, saying that the people there were all awful and seem to have no values at all. They all seemed to want something from him and acted like leeches.
  • Dagny confesses that she needs Hank, too, but he assures her that she doesn't sound like a leech. Hank sure knows how to give a girl a compliment.
  • They then discuss future business plans, and Hank says they'll overturn the Equalization of Opportunity Bill soon cause it's so stupid.
  • They then decide to take a vacation together.
  • They make out and flirt some more.
  • Hank tells Dagny he wants her to wear his Rearden Metal bracelet and she agrees.
  • Guess what they do next?
  • Scene cut! Hank and Dagny are cruising through Wisconsin, that vacation hotspot.
  • They are both depressed by how rundown everything looks. Economic hard times are everywhere.
  • Hank and Dagny are using their vacation to visit old factories. Seriously.
  • Hank wanted to drive to an ore mine that he was thinking of buying, though he'll have to wait till the Bill is repealed.
  • During the day they talk about business – Hank never wants to discuss their relationship, and he still seems somewhat ashamed about all the sex they are having.
  • They drive around the Midwest for days.
  • Dagny sees a coal-burning train and has a freakout. Hank asks what's the matter with her.
  • She's worried about the economy crashing and how it's so hard to find equipment. She's also worried that Ted Nielsen won't be able to manufacture the engines she needs for her trains in this economy.
  • Dagny asks Hank if they can visit another old factory on their Tour of the Industrial Graveyards of America.
  • Hank says sure.
  • It's the Twentieth Century Motor Company, in Wisconsin, which shut down years ago. Dagny wants to see if there's any equipment left there that Ted Nielsen could use.
  • They arrive at a rundown old factory town that's kind of creepy.
  • They ask for directions to the factory but no one can help them out.
  • The people in the town are all really apathetic and super poor.
  • Some punky kids smash out a window in Hank's car.
  • Dagny sees an old woman who looks overweight, but she turns out to be pregnant. Dagny asks her how old she is and the woman says 37.
  • Dagny is freaked out because she's 35. She can't imagine living in this kind of crushing poverty.
  • They finally get to the factory, which has been thoroughly looted.
  • But then Dagny finds an old motor in a pile of junk.
  • It's some sort of miracle motor that uses static electricity, and Dagny is shocked at this awesome discovery.
  • Hank and Dagny agree that this motor could change the world, but Hank thinks that the person who invented it is likely dead, since it's been abandoned here.
  • But Dagny wants to try to find the inventor, since it's an incredible scientific discovery. Hank agrees to help her. It's a new quest!

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