Study Guide

Mr. Thompson in Atlas Shrugged

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Mr. Thompson

Mr. Thompson is like Wesley Mouch times five. Like Wesley, Thompson is nondescript and boring. In fact, he never even merits a first name. This is an important key to his character – we never fully understand the man, and there may not be much there to even understand. In a way, he's the consummate product of the looters' ideology: mediocre to the extreme, he doesn't stand out or make decisive decisions.

Mr. Thompson, the Head of the State, was a man who possessed the quality of never being noticed. In any group of three, his person became indistinguishable, and when seen alone it seemed to evoke a group of its own, composed of the countless persons he resembled. The country had no clear image of what he looked like.... (

Having Thompson as the Head of the State says a lot about the state the country is in. We get more scenes with him after Galt's radio address and see that he can scarcely fathom what a person like Galt can want.

"Now, wait! Wait! Don't go to extremes. There's always a middle ground. You can't have everything. We aren't...people aren't ready for it. . . .What's the . . .? Don't sit there grinning like that!...I don't think you understand me. I'm offering you Wesley Mouch's job – and there's nothing bigger that anyone could offer you!" (

Mr. Thompson is both indistinguishable and unimaginative. He's the product of the looters' system: afraid of change, indecisive, and greedy. And he's clearly unable to think outside of that system when he encounters Galt.

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