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Atlas Shrugged | Study Guide

Ayn Rand

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Atlas Shrugged | Characters

Character Description
Dagny Taggart Dagny Taggart is the fearless, responsible, indomitable Vice- President in Charge of Operation at Taggart Transcontinental. Dagny is devoted to the railroad and determined to find the "destroyer" who is causing industrialists to vanish as well as the person who invented a motor that makes energy from atmospheric static electricity. Read More
John Galt John Galt, who invented a motor that makes energy from atmospheric static electricity, quits his job as an engineer at the Twentieth Century Motor Company factory after the owners adopt communist principles. He then starts the industrialists' strike that collapses society. Read More
Hank Rearden Hank Rearden is an industrial genius and a man of reason who runs Rearden Steel and spends 10 years developing the revolutionary alloy, Rearden Metal. Read More
Francisco d'Anconia Francisco d'Anconia is the brilliant heir of d'Anconia Copper. He and Dagny Taggart were friends as children and later became lovers. A friend of John Galt's, he adopts the camouflage of a playboy while working to bankrupt Taggart Transcontinental and other powerful businesses. Read More
Ragnar Danneskjöld Ragnar Danneskjöld, a former student of philosophy at Patrick Henry University under Hugh Akston, is a pirate who is wanted around the world for his practice of sinking shipments of goods bound for socialist countries. Read More
James Taggart James Taggart, Dagny Taggart's brother, is an insecure, miserable man and the president of Taggart Transcontinental. He constantly negotiates favors with his Washington and business cronies and takes credit for his sister's achievements. Read More
Lillian Rearden Lillian Rearden is Hank Rearden's wife, a soulless, conniving society woman whose sole goal is to destroy the power of her husband. Read More
Hugh Akston Hugh Akston, a philosopher and a man of reason, taught Francisco d'Anconia, Ragnar Danneskjöld, and John Galt in college. He joined Galt's strike and quit teaching to be a cook in Wyoming, where Dagny Taggart meets him on her quest to find the motor's inventor.
Jeff Allen Jeff Allen is a tramp looking for work. After Dagny Taggart meets him on a train, he tells her the story of John Galt's resignation from the Twentieth Century Motor Company when the owners decided to run the factory according to communist principles.
Mayor Bascom Mayor Bascom is the former owner of the Twentieth Century Motor Company factory. Dagny Taggart and Hank Rearden meet with him while trying to find out who invented the motor they find in the factory's ruins.
Luke Beal Luke Beal, a fireman on the Taggart Comet, is the sole survivor of the Taggart Tunnel catastrophe.
Orren Boyle Orren Boyle, Hank Rearden's primary business rival, is a powerful, crooked, and incompetent man who runs Associated Steel and is president of the National Council of Metal Industries. He later becomes president of an organization that leases the rights to all industrial properties in South America.
Laura Bradford Laura Bradford is Kip Chalmers's mistress. She has little or no respect for him, and the feeling is mutual. Their unhappy relationship contrasts with the loving relationships enjoyed by Dagny, John Galt, and others who practice rational self-interest.
Bill Brent Bill Brent, the chief dispatcher for the Colorado Division of Taggart Transcontinental, has worked for the company for a long time. After trying and failing to prevent the Taggart Tunnel disaster, he quits his job, disgusted by what people are willing to do to placate a politician.
Cherryl Brooks Cherryl Brooks is a self-reliant, motivated 19-year-old salesgirl who meets and marries James Taggart. After she sees through him and becomes repulsed by the world she has married into, she commits suicide.
Kip Chalmers Kip Chalmers, who is running for the California legislature, is a passenger in the Taggart Comet when it breaks down near the Taggart Tunnel. After he throws a fit about the delay, Taggart executives send a coal-burning engine through the eight-mile tunnel. The resulting disaster collapses the tunnel, and hundreds of lives are lost.
Dan Conway Dan Conway is president of the Phoenix-Durango Railroad, Taggart Transcontinental's competitor. Following the Anti-dog-eat-dog Rule that favors Taggart Transcontinental by shutting down the Phoenix-Durango, Dagny tries to help Conway fight the injustice, but he is weary and unwilling to fight.
Kenneth Danagger Kenneth Danagger is a coal baron who makes a secret deal with Hank Rearden in defiance of the Fair Share Act. When the two are indicted, Danagger vanishes, and Rearden stands trial alone.
Sebastian d'Anconia Sebastian d'Anconia is Francisco d'Anconia's ancestor and the founder of d'Anconia Copper. Facing pressure from Spanish leaders to compromise his principles, Sebastian left Spain to establish his mining operation in the mountains of Argentina.
Quentin Daniels Quentin Daniels is a bright young physicist Dagny Taggart hires to work on the motor she found. She tries to persuade him not to vanish like so many other industrialists, but John Galt gets to him first. Dagny then follows their plane into Galt's Gulch.
Balph Eubank Balph Eubank is a famous writer who sells few books. His values are aligned with those of the looters.
Dr. Floyd Ferris Dr. Floyd Ferris works at the State Science Institute. He intimidates his boss, Dr. Stadler, into publicly supporting his propaganda and questionable projects. He oversees Project X, which creates the Thompson Harmonizer that destroys the Taggart Bridge, and he tortures John Galt.
Richard Halley Richard Halley, Dagny Taggart's favorite composer, wrote four concertos before vanishing. Dagny hears a brakeman on a train whistling what she is sure must be the Fifth Halley Concerto. Dagny meets Halley later at Galt's Gulch, where he has been living and working. He says his Fifth Concerto is "the concerto of deliverance."
Lawrence Hammond Lawrence Hammond runs the high-quality carmaker, Hammond Cars, in Colorado. Eventually, he quits to join John Galt's strike, and he opens a food store in Galt's Gulch.
Mrs. William Hastings Mrs. William Hastings is the widow of the former head engineer at the Twentieth Century Motor Company factory. She tells Dagny Taggart her late husband's assistant invented the motor that makes energy from atmospheric static electricity, and directs Dagny to a diner in Wyoming where a friend of the young assistant—who turns out to be Hugh Akston—is working.
Dr. Thomas Hendricks Dr. Thomas Hendricks is a renowned brain surgeon who joins John Galt's strike when the government starts to control the medical system.
Tinky Holloway Tinky Holloway is a bureaucrat. During the national collapse, he tries to convince Hank Rearden to become a government adviser in exchange for favors.
Lee Hunsacker Lee Hunsacker is the former president of the bankrupt Amalgamated Service Corporation, which formerly owned the Twentieth Century Motor Company factory. Dagny Taggart meets with him to get information about the motor that makes energy from atmospheric static electricity.
Gwen Ives Gwen Ives is Hank Rearden's secretary, a "ruthlessly competent employee."
Gilbert Keith-Worthing Gilbert Keith-Worthing is a British novelist who advocates political tyranny rather than freedom. He is traveling aboard the Taggart Comet with politician Kip Chalmers when the Taggart Tunnel disaster occurs.
Owen Kellogg Owen Kellogg, a bright young engineer at Taggart Transcontinental, resigns without explanation when Dagny Taggart tries to promote him. When she sees him later, he is in a hurry to get to Galt's Gulch but tells her he is going west for a vacation.
Fred Kinnan Fred Kinnan, head of the Amalgamated Labor of America union, tries to convince Washington that job creation will solve the national crisis. He calls Directive Number 10-289 the "anti-industrial revolution," but angles for control of the Unification Board.
Paul Larkin Paul Larkin is a family friend of the Reardens. After the Equalization of Opportunity Bill passes, Hank Rearden signs his ore mines over to Larkin.
Eugene Lawson Eugene Lawson is the former president of the Community National Bank of Madison, which bought the Twentieth Century Motor Company factory after it went bankrupt. Dagny Taggart meets with him to find out information about who created the motor that makes energy from atmospheric static electricity.
Clifton Locey Clifton Locey takes over Dagny's position as Vice-President in Charge of Operation after she quits. He is one of James Taggart's cronies.
Dick McNamara Dick McNamara is a competent contractor who laid the rail for the San Sebastian Line. Hired to lay the new rail for the Rio Norte Line, he quits without explanation before beginning. She later finds out he joined John Galt's strike and moved to Galt's Gulch.
Cuffy Meigs Cuffy Meigs is a corrupt Chilean bureaucrat who administers the Railroad Unification Plan at Taggart Transcontinental and becomes treasurer of the Interneighborly Amity and Development Corporation, which gives Orren Boyle exclusive rights to all industrial property in the Southern Hemisphere. Later, he seizes Project X as leader of the Friends of the People and pulls a lever that vaporizes everything as far as the Taggart Bridge.
Dave Mitchum Dave Mitchum is a supervisor of the Colorado division of Taggart Transcontinental. He was hired by the state and knows very little about trains. His poor decisions help cause the Taggart Tunnel disaster.
Wesley Mouch Wesley Mouch, a power-hungry bureaucrat, is Hank Rearden's Washington lobbyist before being appointed to the Bureau of Economic Planning and National Resources. He issues a series of edicts, including Directive Number 10-289, designed to hobble and control industrialists such as Dagny Taggart and Hank Rearden. He later participates in John Galt's torture.
Midas Mulligan Midas Mulligan, a shrewd Chicago banker and the country's richest man, vanishes in protest after Lee Hunsacker sues him, and the court orders Mulligan to pay him. He then buys the property at Galt's Gulch and begins the community there, reestablishing his bank as well as the community's mint. When he predicts the Taggart Bridge will soon collapse, Dagny Taggart decides to return to the outside world to keep fighting for the railroad.
Judge Narragansett Judge Narragansett rules in favor of Midas Mulligan during Mulligan's court case, but the decision is reversed. The judge then retires and joins John Galt's strike.
Newsstand owner Dagny Taggart regularly buys cigarettes outside Taggart Terminal from a newsstand owner who is a cigarette expert. When she brings him a cigarette bearing a dollar sign, he investigates and concludes such a cigarette is not made anywhere on Earth.
Ted Nielsen Ted Nielsen runs Nielsen Motors and is the John Galt Line's last major shipping customer as industry collapses. He vanishes before the line closes.
Betty Pope Betty Pope is a shallow society girl and James Taggart's indifferent lover before he marries Cherryl Brooks.
Dr. Potter Dr. Potter works for the State Science Institute. He pressures Hank Rearden to keep Rearden Metal off the market because it threatens to put other metal producers out of business. When Rearden refuses, he tries to buy the rights to the Metal. Upon a second refusal, Potter warns Rearden the State Science Institute will issue a statement condemning Rearden Metal.
Dr. Simon Pritchett Dr. Simon Pritchett is the department head of Patrick Henry University's philosophy department. He is Hugh Akston's successor. He believes life is meaningless and reason is a naive superstition.
Hank Rearden's mother Hank Rearden's mother lives in his house and is supported by him, although she is highly critical of her son and berates him for being selfish and unloving. She becomes afraid Rearden will vanish, leaving her on the streets, and only then apologizes and begs for the indifferent Rearden's mercy.
Philip Rearden Philip Rearden is supported by Hank Rearden, his older brother, and volunteers for Claude Slagenhop's organization, Friends of Global Progress. Philip is rude and critical of Hank and believes he is entitled to the support he receives. Hank refuses to give Philip a job, saying he'd be a worthless employee.
Bertram Scudder Bertram Scudder is a radio and print journalist who runs a magazine called The Future. He is a government mouthpiece and a proponent of the morality of sacrifice. Scudder is scapegoated and ruined when Dagny Taggart appears on his radio show and reveals how her affair with Hank Rearden was used to blackmail Rearden into giving up his Metal.
Claude Slagenhop Claude Slagenhop is the president of the nonprofit charity organization Friends of Global Progress. In league with bureaucrat Tinky Holloway, Slagenhop uses Philip Rearden as a pawn to try to gain access to Hank Rearden's mills, but the plan fails when Hank Rearden refuses to hire Philip.
Dr. Robert Stadler Dr. Robert Stadler taught physics to Francisco d'Anconia, Ragnar Danneskjöld, and John Galt, and is now head of the State Science Institute where he compromises his principles and allows himself to be manipulated by Dr. Floyd Ferris. Stadler's attempt to take over Project X in the wake of national collapse leads to his own demise as well as widespread destruction.
Ivy Starnes Ivy Starnes, as one of the Twentieth Century Motor Company heirs, shares responsibility for implementing the communist policy that sparked John Galt to resign. Dagny Taggart meets with Starnes to learn who invented the motor that makes energy from atmospheric static electricity. Starnes gives Dagny the name of William Hastings, the company's former head engineer.
Andrew Stockton Andrew Stockton, an industrialist who makes coal-burning stoves, retires and disappears after Ellis Wyatt's disappearance. His sister tells Dagny Taggart a stranger visited Stockton the night before his disappearance and the two men talked all night long.
Nathaniel Taggart Nathaniel Taggart, Dagny and James Taggart's heroic ancestor, was the indomitable founder of Taggart Transcontinental. Dagny is driven by her desire to honor Nathaniel's memory. She regards his statue outside Taggart Terminal with deep reverence.
Mr. Thompson Mr. Thompson is the head of the state, a man who seeks power because those who pushed him into office expect him to do so. When John Galt commandeers the airwaves and Thompson has no idea how to save the nation, he decides to negotiate with Galt and offers him Wesley Mouch's job as "economic dictator."
Mr. Ward Mr. Ward runs the Ward Harvester Company of Minnesota. When he can't obtain steel from Orren Boyle's Associated Steel, he meets with Hank Rearden to request 500 tons of steel to save his company.
Clem Weatherby Clem Weatherby is a bureaucrat who attends the Taggart Transcontinental Board of Directors meeting as a representative of Wesley Mouch.
Wet Nurse Wet Nurse is a nickname for Tony, the young college graduate sent from Washington to be Hank Rearden's Deputy Director of Distribution, helping Rearden comply with the Fair Share Law. Rearden also calls him Non-Absolute in mocking recognition of the college education that keeps him from relying on his own reason. After he experiences a change of morality and aligns himself with Rearden, he is shot and killed for attempting to stop a staged riot of government goons at the mills.
Eddie Willers Eddie Willers is Dagny Taggart's devoted assistant at Taggart Transcontinental. He often speaks to an unnamed track laborer who, unbeknownst to Willers, is John Galt. When Dagny leaves to complete the John Galt Line, Willers takes over her position. At the novel's end, he refuses to abandon a broken-down train in Arizona and collapses, sobbing by the engine.
Ellis Wyatt Ellis Wyatt is an industrial prodigy who runs Wyatt Oil Fields in the Colorado mountains, anchoring the industrial boom there. When Wesley Mouch passes his directives, Wyatt disappears—but not before setting his oil fields afire and creating the perpetual flame that comes to be known as Wyatt's Torch. Dagny reunites with him in Galt's Gulch.
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