Study Guide

Atlas Shrugged Volume 2, Chapter 8

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Volume 2, Chapter 8

By Our Love

  • Dagny is having a hard time on her own in Woodstock. She is really depressed and can't figure out what to do with her life. She can't work for the railroad under the Directive, but she can't bring herself to let the railroad go either. She's in limbo.
  • She also misses Hank, but she wants to pull herself together before seeing him again.
  • Dagny is hanging out listening to classical music on the radio.
  • A Hammond car pulls up – it's Francisco!
  • They greet each other as they did in childhood, with their nicknames.
  • He then grabs her into a bear hug and she realizes how much he still loves her.
  • She's caught up in the moment but then remembers how he dumped her and pulls away from him.
  • Francisco is excited and tells her he is sorry for leaving her alone here in the woods. He says if he thought she was ready to quit, he'd have come to see her sooner.
  • Dagny is confused.
  • Francisco confesses that he is deliberately sabotaging his own business because he's on some sort of quest against the looters.
  • Dagny is conflicted and can't quite bring herself to believe that quitting is the right thing to do.
  • Francisco gives her a big pep talk, telling her the looters are basically holding her own virtues for ransom. He tells her she doesn't need them and shouldn't let them use her.
  • But just then a radio announcement breaks in: the Taggart Tunnel in Colorado has collapsed, in one of the worst railroad disasters in history.
  • The Comet went into the tunnel using a coal engine. Smoke from the engine filled the tunnel and everyone started to suffocate. Someone pulled the emergency break and they couldn't get the train moving again. Then another train, an Army Freight, came along, hit the Comet, and caused a massive explosion that brought the entire tunnel down. Only one person escaped alive from the suffocation – the train's fireman, Luke Beal.
  • Dagny screams and runs out to her car. Francisco begs her not to go back, but Dagny isn't listening and drives off frantically.
  • Scene cut. James is in his office staring at his letter of resignation. He's is super stressed out but is trying to ignore his problems.
  • He then barges out and starts yelling at Eddie Willers, demanding to know where Dagny is. He blames her for the disaster and wants her to come fix it.
  • Eddie is refusing to tell him when Dagny enters, dramatically.
  • Everyone in the office is relieved except Eddie.
  • James starts yelling at Dagny but she just ignores him and has Eddie bring her up to speed.
  • Dagny gets back to work immediately and tells Eddie to bring her an old railroad map from the days before the tunnel. They'll keep running trains without the tunnel.
  • We learn about the frozen train phenomenon: since May, train crews have just been walking off and leaving trains stranded in the middle of nowhere.
  • Wesley Mouch calls Dagny and claims he's glad she's back.
  • She tells him to shut it and to get her Mr. Weatherby.
  • Weatherby gets on the phone. Dagny says she'll only talk to him and he better keep all the Washington goons off her back. She won't deal with Mouch cause she remembers how he betrayed Hank way back in the day when he was Hank's "Washington man."
  • Dagny calls Hank and they are both depressed. Dagny says she doesn't care about the Gift Certificate thing since she's given in, too. She says they'll both go down with the ship.

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