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Atlas Shrugged

Atlas Shrugged


by Ayn Rand

Atlas Shrugged Volume 3, Chapter 1 Summary


  • Dagny wakes up in a pretty green field with a handsome man kneeling beside her.
  • She thinks she might be dead, because this place seems heavenly and looks like the world she expected to find at age sixteen when she stood looking down the railroad tracks into a bright future.
  • Dagny tells the man that she never had to take it all seriously and he agrees.
  • They smile at each other.
  • Then Dagny starts getting her bearings and realizes that she doesn't know where she is and she doesn't know this guy.
  • He introduces himself: it's John Galt. Finally!
  • He tells Dagny she's in the Taggart Terminal and she's confused.
  • Dagny is injured but not too badly, so Galt picks her up and carries her off so they can go find her a doctor.
  • While he's carrying her, Dagny realizes that John Galt is mad hot, and he's the guy she's been looking for – her one true love.
  • He explains that she's in a secret valley that has a heat shield thing that protects it from prying eyes (but apparently not renegade airplanes).
  • She hears Richard Halley's Fifth Concerto and he tells her that Halley himself is here, and that's him playing the piano in his house.
  • They reach a hill and look down into the valley. There's a little town with a giant dollar sign hanging above it. Is this a secret Las Vegas?
  • Galt says the dollar sign was Francisco's idea of a joke. Yeah, we believe that.
  • Dagny can't believe Francisco lives here, and Galt says he has a house but he isn't around that much. Too busy stalking Hank and Dagny, apparently.
  • A car pulls up and two older men get out.
  • It's Hugh Akston and Midas Mulligan! This is nuts.
  • Dagny wonders if she's on drugs.
  • They men are stunned to see her – no one has ever busted into the valley uninvited before. Silly guys: this is Dagny Taggart, master of the Grand Entrance.
  • Akston lets slip that John Galt is the inventor of Dagny's magical motor.
  • She is overwhelmed with the craziness.
  • Dagny learns that everyone in the valley has been waiting for her and Hank Rearden to arrive.
  • They all pile into Mulligan's car, and we learn that the valley is his land.
  • As they drive down the hill, Dagny sees Ellis Wyatt and flips out.
  • Ellis runs up and is thrilled to see Dagny. Alas, he can't grab her and swing her around like he did on the opening day of the John Galt Line, since she's injured (remember?).
  • Ellis is stunned to hear that Dagny got there by crashing her plane. He thought she'd just agreed to join Team Galt.
  • They arrive at Galt's house and he carries Dagny inside. She asks if she's a prisoner and he says no, it's her choice.
  • Dagny questions Galt about everything she's just seen and heard and he confirms it.
  • He quotes her words about the destroyer back to her and she asks how long and how well he's been watching her.
  • Dr. Hendricks, a famous surgeon, comes to treat Dagny. She has some bruises and busted ribs and a sprained ankle. He patches her up and goes on his merry way.
  • John asks how Dagny ended up crashing, so she explains.
  • He fills her in on life in the valley. We learn that Galt's magical motor powers the whole place and that most people here work rather menial jobs, since it's a small, self-supporting community. Lawrence Hammond now runs a grocery store. Dagny is confused by this.
  • He says he'll give her the grand tour and calls Mulligan to rent his car. Rent? John explains that no one borrows anything here, you have to pay or trade for everything.
  • The first stop on the Welcome to Atlantis Tour is Quentin Daniels. Quentin is super excited to be there and freaks out about Dagny. He feels awful for leaving like he did and is worried that Dagny got seriously injured chasing after him.
  • She assures him she's fine now.
  • Daniels says that he's been hired as the janitor at the power plant, where he can be sort of a physics apprentice to Galt.
  • On with the Welcome to Atlantis Tour. Next up is Dwight Sanders of Sanders Aircraft.
  • He works as a farmer now and he is happy to see Dagny.
  • He jokes about her crashing one of his airplane models.
  • He then tells her that Sanders Aircraft still exists, since it's in his mind. He's been working to make farming in the valley more efficient so that he'll have more time to pursue his personal interests and passions, like designing airplanes.
  • She learns that everyone pays for stuff with gold in the valley and they all use the Mulligan Bank.
  • Next we meet Dick McNamara, the contractor who quit when Dagny was trying to build the John Galt Line.
  • McNamara is the utilities man, and his staff consists of an economics professor and a history professor who are both really quite good at their new jobs.
  • McNamara asks Dagny who the real traitors are – the ones who left or the ones who kept working in the looters' system.
  • Dagny is a bit peeved and they drive off. Galt says he's going to show her all the men he's taken away from her.
  • Next stop on the Welcome to Atlantis Tour is a nice woman who is the local fishwife. She's also a writer.
  • The Tour continues. We now arrive at Ellis Wyatt's place. She's shocked to see the young brakeman from Chapter 1 there – the one who was whistling the Fifth Concerto.
  • The brakeman now works for Ellis at the new Wyatt Oil in the valley, but he's really a musician and studies with Richard Halley.
  • Ellis then speechifies. He says he's manufacturing time for himself in the valley. He's working for himself alone, but the work he does makes life easier for everyone there. Everyone cooperates to make life easier and to have more time to live a full life with lots of interests and people.
  • The Welcome to Atlantis Tour continues. We now meet up with Andrew Stockton, who still runs a foundry. He explains that he put his predecessors out of business when he arrived and they now work for him. He says when Hank Reardon arrives he'll probably go out of business, but he'll gladly work for Hank. He'll have even more time for himself, since Hank will probably do a more efficient job than him.
  • Ken Danagger comes over. He's working on mining iron now, and they chat a bit.
  • The tour continues, and Dagny is amazed to see all these well-known people. She is also surprised that everyone recognizes her and waves.
  • Galt tells her they've been expecting her for a long time.
  • After a while they come to Francisco's house and Dagny makes Galt stop the car. She has a moment.
  • Galt admits that he knows about their past relationship. Francisco never actually told him, but he guessed.
  • They arrive at the powerhouse. Galt won't show her the inside, though.
  • Above the door is the pledge that everyone who enters the valley must take: "I swear by my life, and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine."
  • Thus concludes the Welcome to Atlantis Tour. We hope your mind was sufficiently scrambled, and be careful while exiting the vehicle.
  • Ahem. So Dagny goes back to Galt's house to take a nap.
  • When she wakes up that evening, they head off for a dinner party at Mulligan's house.
  • When she enters, Mulligan introduces her as Taggart Transcontinental.
  • Who's at this shindig? Ellis, Ken, Akston, Dr. Hendricks, Quentin, Mulligan, Judge Narragansett, and Richard Halley.
  • Dagny has a fangirl moment over Halley.
  • They all talk to Dagny and tell her to take her time thinking things over.
  • Ken tells her she's done a good job and she should rest now; she doesn't have to fight the looters alone anymore. This makes her cry.
  • Everyone has dinner casually in the living room, and Dagny questions everyone about why they "quit" and what they are doing now.
  • Everyone says they are still involved in the professions they had in the outside world, and then Galt tells her the big truth: they are all on strike.
  • Galt then speechifies for a bit. He says they are all on strike against the looters' system, which has bad values that go against the individual and the individual mind. He says they are on strike because the looters try to use their morals and minds for bad purposes and to chain them, through a sense of guilt and obligation.
  • Galt says his philosophy is one that celebrates life, not living death, and that his strike is to show the looters who really supports the world and what the looters' value system will bring them: death and destruction.
  • The guests now all tell Dagny why they went on strike.
  • Akston: quit because he couldn't work with professors and intellectuals who preached against reason and said that men were stupid animals.
  • Mulligan: quit over the Twentieth Century Motors Factory case, where he was forced to give a loan to that loser guy.
  • Judge Narragansett: quit over the same case, cause he saw the law was meaningless in the looters' world.
  • Richard Halley: quit when he realized that the public held artists in contempt and expected him to suffer for nothing then be grateful for what attention he did get from people who didn't really understand his music.
  • Dr. Hendricks: quit when medicine went under state control and became a corrupt and poorly run system.
  • Ellis, Quentin, and Ken confirm why they quit and say they joined the strike for the reasons that Galt outlined.
  • John Galt says he went on strike because he is against the idea of original sin – that people are all born sinners. He says he thinks people have noble potential and refuses to participate in a value system that implies otherwise.
  • He says he abandoned his motor out of love.
  • We next hear the story of how the strike began. Galt started by recruiting his two best friends, then they all went out separately to look for potential fellow strikers.
  • Galt recruited Akston first, then William Hastings. Richard Halley and Mulligan soon followed. Hastings took a year to decide whether or not to join, but finally did.
  • Mulligan already owned the valley, so they began setting it up as a private retreat. As more people joined the strike, it gradually grew into a functioning town.
  • It used to be a summer vacation spot, but the Colorado guys all had to come live there full-time since the government was after them.
  • Now a lot of the strikers live in the valley full-time. The strike will end when the looters' code collapses.
  • The valley is called Galt's Gulch, but Dagny says she'll call it Atlantis, and Galt seems to approve of this.
  • Later that night Dagny gets ready for bed. She's staying in Galt's guest room, which is known as the Anteroom. It's the room where everyone stays their first night in the valley. There are messages of support scrawled into the walls from people like Ken and Ellis.
  • Galt tells Dagny he never intended for her to occupy the room and says good night.

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