Study Guide

Atlas Shrugged Volume 3, Chapter 8

By Ayn Rand

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Volume 3, Chapter 8

The Egoist

  • When Galt finishes, everyone is stunned. Either that or in a coma, we're not sure.
  • President Thompson starts barking orders and trying to get everyone to chill.
  • Hysteria is slowly rising.
  • All the looters desperately try to convince themselves that either no one listened to it, or they didn't buy it.
  • President Thompson asks what they should do, but no one answers.
  • Dagny pipes up and says they should all stand aside and let Galt and his crew come fix things.
  • Everyone says no way, but Thompson says it's not a bad idea. He says they'll find Galt and get him to work for them and help them out.
  • Dagny rolls here eyes and leaves with Eddie.
  • Stadler is starting to panic.
  • Thompson tells Mouch to have Dagny watched day and night, since she seems like a Galt follower and might lead them to him.
  • Scene break. Eddie is shocked and says that Galt is his Mystery Worker friend!
  • For real, Eddie. No wonder Galt was such a fantastic Dagny-stalker all those years! He was getting the dirt from fellow Dagny-watcher Eddie.
  • Dagny confesses she met Galt while she was away during her plane crash.
  • She tells Eddie they can't look for him or it will put him in danger.
  • Eddie asks if Dagny is going to leave and she says no. She says the looters' government will topple soon and she just has to hang in there a little longer.
  • Scene break. The hunt for John Galt is on.
  • The government took credit for the Galt speech, saying they wanted to present "unconventional" ideas for debate. They ask Galt to appear in person so they can continue the "conversation."
  • The government tries for weeks to make Galt show himself. Thompson offers rewards and promises and practically starts begging Galt to come help them.
  • Groups across the country start sending out pleas for John Galt to come "save them."
  • Things are worsening and the country is getting more depressed and angry. No one trusts the government anymore.
  • Steel production goes down the toilet with Hank gone, and his mills have to close.
  • President Thompson keeps coming to Dagny for advice, and she just keeps telling him to step down.
  • Finally Thompson hints that there's a violent faction gaining power – Ferris, Lawson, and Meigs – and that they want to send people to kill Galt.
  • Dagny panics when she hears this.
  • Scene cut! Dagny is in a slum. She tracked down Galt's address from the Taggart Transcontinental payroll. Galt is clearly not a super spy. Sydney Bristow never would have used her real address.
  • Dagny goes up to Galt's apartment and is thrilled to see he's unharmed.
  • John is thrilled to see Dagny, too, and he hauls her inside and embraces her.
  • John tells Dagny she was probably followed. (Dagny doesn't have any spy skills either.) He tells her that they'll probably capture him now, but it's all OK, because he would have been kind of sad if Dagny hadn't sought him out.
  • Galt shows Dagny his secret lab, where he has another motor.
  • There's a picture of Dagny cut out from a newspaper hanging on the wall. So sweet, yet so creepy.
  • Galt tells Dagny she'll have to pretend to hate him and act like she turned him in to the government herself for money.
  • Dagny agrees if it will keep them from hurting John and John says it will keep her safe, too, because otherwise they'd use her against him.
  • Some goons bust in. Dagny announces that she's found John Galt and they should arrest him.
  • Galt is hauled off.
  • Scene cut. Galt is being held at the Wayne-Falkland Hotel.
  • Mr. Thompson comes in and makes Galt an offer: they'll give him whatever he wants if he'll take over the economy and save them all.
  • Galt refuses, which confuses Thompson.
  • Galt insists that they can't give him anything that would tempt him to work for them.
  • They talk in circles for a long time and Thompson gets increasingly confused and frustrated at Galt's refusal to cooperate. Galt explains himself but Thompson doesn't get it.
  • Thompson finally leaves, frustrated. Galt shrugs and asks him, "Who is John Galt?" on his way out. Awesome.
  • Scene cut.
  • The looters are having a secret clubhouse meeting.
  • None of them want to talk to Galt anymore cause he freaks them out with his overwhelming coolness and logic.
  • Chick Morrison and Wesley Mouch offer up silly ideas like making Galt attend a mass public rally.
  • Fred Kinnan, as usual, is the only one who tells the hard truth. He says they are going to lose because they can't offer anything to a man who really wants to live.
  • James yells at him. Lawson yells back. Ferris makes a snotty remark. President Thompson yells at all of them to shut up, finally losing his cool.
  • Thompson keeps calling Dagny over for conferences. She tricks Thompson into thinking that Galt is greedy and that what he really wants is money.
  • Dagny is barely holding it together, but she keeps plugging away. She's turning into a good spy, too, fooling all the looters.
  • Francisco sends her a note telling her to hang in there and they'll find a way to bust Galt out soon.
  • A parade of looters comes by to try to get Galt to cooperate. Silly looters.
  • James Taggart does his usual screeching routine, which probably isn't the best way to persuade someone to do something.
  • James tries a moral tack and tells Galt that he has to help them to save people.
  • Galt says the looters caused the problems that are killing people, so they should step down.
  • James yells that Galt is an egoist. Galt says thank you.
  • Mr. Thompson notices Galt has a dollar sign cigarette. Galt says it was an anonymous gift.
  • Then Chick Morrison has a go. He asks Galt to take pity on them.
  • Galt asks if they took pity on Hank, and Chick laughs at the thought.
  • Galt gets peeved and Thompson quickly tells Chick to shut up, throwing him out.
  • Ferris tries next. He flat-out tells Galt that he has the country's blood on his hands and vaguely threatens him.
  • Thompson goes spastic and throws Ferris out.
  • Thompson is still desperate to try the whole friend routine with John.
  • Thompson asks if Galt would like to see anyone. He offers to send Dagny over.
  • Galt says he hates Dagny, since she's his only failure.
  • But Galt says he'd like to see Dr. Stadler.
  • That night Thompson and Mouch are having dinner together. We learn that some raiders attacked a train and damaged the Taggart Bridge.
  • Meanwhile, Eddie and Dagny are talking. California is in chaos and no Taggart trains can get out of San Francisco.
  • Eddie says he'll go try to help out.
  • Dagny wants him to stay, but Eddie says that if Taggart Transcontinental goes down, he's going with it.
  • Eddie tells Dagny he's always loved her and says goodbye. It's really sad.
  • Dr. Stadler comes to see John.
  • Stadler shouts that it wasn't his fault and he couldn't help it. He then goes on a desperate and vicious rant against Galt, defending himself and damning Galt. Stadler finally insists that everyone can't be wrong, and that Galt is the one who should be destroyed.
  • Galt sits silently the whole time. When Stadler is done he says that was exactly what he wanted to say to Stadler.
  • Stadler leaves, freaking out.
  • Scene break! Some goons come in and lead Galt away at gunpoint.
  • He's taken to a banquet and made to sit, still at gunpoint, at a table with President Thompson. There are TV cameras.
  • Dagny is in the audience sitting out of Galt's line of sight.
  • Mr. Thompson then unveils his plan in front of a live television audience: it's the John Galt Plan for Peace, Prosperity, and Profit! He says Galt has agreed to help them out and will magically save the world.
  • Chick Morrison is introduced as Galt's personal secretary.
  • All the looters gives speeches and Galt just sits there.
  • Dagny is horrified.
  • Finally Galt stands up so that the TV cameras can see the gun held against his side. He tells everyone to get out of his way.

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