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Atlas Shrugged

Atlas Shrugged


by Ayn Rand

Atlas Shrugged Volume 3, Chapter 2 Summary

The Utopia of Greed

  • Dagny gets up and decides to fix breakfast.
  • Suddenly someone bursts in: it's Ragnar!
  • He is stunned to see Dagny and she fills him in on her plane crash
  • Ragnar asks after Francisco and is surprised to learn that he isn't in the valley.
  • John then comes in and formally introduces the two. Dagny is surprised to be meeting a super hot Viking pirate.
  • We learn that Ragnar is one of Galt's BFFs, the other one being Francisco. The three of them always have breakfast together every year on June 1, and Francisco has never missed it.
  • But they say Dagny can be his stand-in this year and sit down to eat.
  • Ragnar starts chatting about his pirate adventures and mentions Hank Rearden, which upsets Dagny.
  • Galt tells him to shut up and Ragnar is confused.
  • Then he tells Dagny about how she, like Hank, is one of his "clients," and he fills her in on all the stuff he told Hank earlier.
  • Ragnar then says he's off to see his wife. He's married to the famous actress Kay Ludlow.
  • Dagny is surprised they are married since he's off pirating all the time, but Ragnar says it's cool and they earn their time together.
  • John informs Dagny that she'll be staying in the valley for a month like everyone else, since it's vacation time.
  • He says he'll charge her room and board but Dagny says she'd rather work instead. She offers to work as Galt's housemaid. Galt bursts out laughing at this and says she's hired.
  • Scene cut! On Dagny's third day in the valley, a plane arrives with all the strikers who still live in the outside world. Owen Kellogg is with them and freaks when he sees Dagny.
  • Everyone in the outside world thinks she died in the plane crash.
  • Owen says he contacted Eddie and Hank like she asked and says that Hank sounded devastated.
  • Dagny is super upset about this.
  • She asks John if she can send Hank a message and he says no. It's against valley rules apparently: no contact with the outside world.
  • Dagny complies with this and drops the subject.
  • Later at John's house, a tired-looking Francisco knocks on the door. He says he can't stay long because he has to keep looking for Dagny.
  • John tells him to come in. When he sees Dagny, Francisco flips out.
  • He runs up, falls to his knees, and grabs her. John leaves them alone.
  • Epic confession time! Francisco tells Dagny everything: his role in the strike, why he joined, and how he still loves her. Francisco joined the strike for her sake, because he didn't want her to have to live in a horrible world that took advantage of her. He says he'll always love her and understands that she needed to move on and that he's happy that they can be friends again.
  • It's a Kleenex-worthy spiel and Dagny starts crying.
  • She tries to apologize to Francisco for everything he's gone through but he won't hear it and says everything is great now. He was fighting for a good cause before, so it's cool.
  • They kiss and then go out to see John.
  • Francisco fills John in on the search for Dagny's plane. He says the outside world is flipping out over her presumed death.
  • Galt apologizes to Francisco for the beating he's taken over the years and Francisco laughs him off.
  • Galt is watching Dagny this whole time.
  • Scene cut! Dagny is hanging out with Francisco at his house. He tells her all about his hopes for the future and how he plans to rebuild d'Anconia Copper and make it great. Dagny feels like she's recaptured her youth with him.
  • But Dagny is starting to fall really hard for Galt, and she's conflicted about it.
  • She gets jealous, which she never has been before, when Galt keeps disappearing every night. But it turns out Galt is giving physics lectures in town. Summer in the valley is the time when everyone shows off their work, so there are lots of lectures, performances, concerts, etc.
  • Dagny is impatient for him to return one night and she falls asleep waiting.
  • She wakes up to find him watching her, and he lets slip that he's wondered what she looks like when she's asleep. Creepy!
  • In a confessional mood, John tells her he saw her for the first time ten years ago, then describes it in extreme detail.
  • But he also tells her she's his worst enemy in the outside world, along with Robert Stadler. She can do him the most damage.
  • Dagny asks if he wants to keep her in the valley, and he says more than anything.
  • It's an epic stalker love story!
  • They go to their separate bedrooms. Dagny really wants to sleep with him, but restrains herself. She hears Galt up pacing and realizes he's having the same problem.
  • Scene cut! Richard Halley is giving Dagny a private performance.
  • It's a fangirl dream come true!
  • He thanks her when he's done and explains that he's a trader and that Dagny's understanding and love for his music are the best payment he could ask for. Aw.
  • Halley then speechifies about how he wants his art to be experienced and appreciated by worthy people, which is why he won't perform in the outside world anymore.
  • Dagny realizes that the businesses are like art and art is like business in the valley.
  • She makes the rounds and chats with the valley residents.
  • Kay Ludlow performs in a play and it's fantastic.
  • When she isn't acting, Kay works at a diner in town.
  • She tells Dagny that she quit because she didn't want to use her talent to act in trashy, stupid movies in the real world.
  • Dagny then meets a young mother with two sons who came with her husband, an economics professor working for McNamara.
  • One evening Hugh Akston invites her over for a dinner party. The other guests are Kay, Ragnar, Francisco, and John. It's a family party.
  • Akston tells Dagny about his three students, who were like sons to him. They were all brilliant. All of them double majored in philosophy and physics, which was seen as an odd combo, and they were the favorites of him and Stadler.
  • He interrupts his narrative to tells Ragnar not to sit on the ground since it's wet. It's hilarious. Dr. Akston is a cute little dad.
  • Back to his flashback-o-rama. He says that Francisco planned to go into business, John wanted to be an inventor, and Ragnar wanted to be a philosopher.
  • Akston then tells Dagny to watch out for people who believe the world is a place of evil, because they reap what the sow.
  • He then tells her he's proud of his three "sons" and calls her Dagny for the first time.
  • He nods at Galt, who looks surprised and pleased. Akston just gave him his blessing to have a relationship with Dagny, and treated her as part of the family.
  • Good times.
  • Scene cut! Francisco is showing John and Dagny his first copper mine in the valley.
  • They all start chatting and Dagny's railroad genius kicks in and she starts making plans for a track in the valley.
  • The men are thrilled.
  • Then Dagny cuts herself off and says she can't let go of Taggart Transcontinental just yet.
  • They are understanding and say she has a week left to decide.
  • Francisco lets slip that John sent him after Dagny at Woodstock.
  • He walks off to answer a question from a miner and Dagny confronts John about this.
  • John says it was fair and he wanted to give Francisco a shot to win her back. He didn't know about Hank at the time.
  • Francisco then comes back and asks Dagny to stay with him for the week.
  • Dagny gives some lame excuse about being Galt's employee and he agrees that she should stay with him and keep earning her wages. Francisco is like, whatever, and leaves.
  • Galt tells Dagny that she shouldn't worry about love-triangle antics and that their value system is one of honesty.
  • Later Dagny is buying groceries at Hammond's store when the see a plane circling the valley.
  • It's Hank's plane.
  • Dagny flips out and runs off to watch the plane. She yells to Hank and then cries for a while.
  • Scene cut. Tomorrow is Dagny's final day and Mulligan asks for her decision.
  • She asks to have until tomorrow and the guys at Mulligan's house all give her advice and a pep talk.
  • Galt then reveals that he's going back to the real world as usual.
  • Mulligan is shocked and says that there's no need to go anymore, since the only two people left out there who matter are Dagny and Hank. Mulligan starts going on about how dangerous the world is going to get, probably in an attempt to convince Dagny not to go back.
  • But then Mulligan says the Taggart Bridge will probably collapse soon. Dagny shouts out that it won't.
  • The party comes to a screeching halt and they all stare at her.
  • Dagny says she's going back. While she holds the same values as them, she thinks that the looters' system is going to collapse soon, and she wants to be out there fighting them until they do. She also thinks there's still hope for the vast majority of people out there, and she wants to fight for them.
  • They are all sorry to see her go, but Akston says he respects her decision and the fact that she's acting on her convictions.
  • They all give her parting advice and tell her that she must not come looking for the valley again.
  • Later she goes to have a drink at Francisco's house with Francisco and John.
  • Francisco says he knows about their growing feelings for each other and gives them his blessing.
  • Later still, at John's house, Dagny makes a little speech. She tells him that she's fighting her battle for him, in an attempt to win back the world that is rightfully his. She basically lets him know, in a subtle way, that he's the man she's been searching for her whole life, and that she loves him.
  • We'd be down with all of this, but what about Hank?
  • John accepts her decision to leave and tells her that soon she'll learn that she doesn't need to fight the whole world by herself.
  • Scene cut. The next day John flies Dagny out of the valley and drops her off near a train station in Colorado. She watches his plane fly away till it's out of sight.

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