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Atlas Shrugged | Chapter Summaries

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Timeline of Events

  • Fall

    Mexico nationalizes the San Sebastian Line and mines. The Anti-dog-eat-dog Rule passes.

    Part 1, Chapter 4
  • December 10

    Dagny Taggart trades Lillian Rearden a diamond bracelet for the Rearden Metal bracelet.

    Part 1, Chapter 6
  • Early the next year

    Dagny leaves to finish the John Galt Line. The Equalization of Opportunity Bill passes.

    Part 1, Chapter 7
  • July

    The John Galt Line begins running. Dagny and Hank Rearden become lovers.

    Part 1, Chapter 8
  • Shortly thereafter

    Dagny finds a motor that uses atmospheric static electricity; she vows to find its creator.

    Part 1, Chapter 9
  • About a year later

    The d'Anconia stock crashes. Rearden is indicted. The destroyer takes Ken Dannager.

    Part 2, Chapter 3
  • Later that fall

    Rearden wins public approval at his trial. Francisco d'Anconia reveals his lifestyle is a ruse.

    Part 2, Chapter 4
  • The next spring

    The John Galt Line closes. Lillian Rearden discovers Hank Rearden's affair with Dagny.

    Part 2, Chapter 5
  • April and May

    Directive Number 10-289 passes. Rearden is blackmailed into giving his Metal to the government.

    Part 2, Chapter 6
  • May

    Dagny takes a leave of absence. Ragnar Danneskjöld and Rearden meet. The Taggart Tunnel collapses.

    Part 2, Chapter 7
  • Soon after

    Seeking to save Quentin Daniels from the destroyer, Dagny crashes her plane at Galt's Gulch.

    Part 2, Chapter 10
  • June

    Dagny spends a month at Galt's Gulch but chooses to return to New York.

    Part 3, Chapter 2
  • July

    Project X is demonstrated. Dagny admits her affair publicly; she and Rearden vow to keep fighting.

    Part 3, Chapter 3
  • August

    Cherryl Taggart commits suicide after James Taggart has sex with Lillian Rearden.

    Part 3, Chapter 4
  • September and October

    D'Anconia Copper is destroyed. Dagny and John Galt consummate their love.

    Part 3, Chapter 5
  • October and November

    Francisco stops a riot at Rearden Mills and convinces Rearden to vanish.

    Part 3, Chapter 6
  • November 22

    John Galt delivers his speech to the nation.

    Part 3, Chapter 7
  • That winter

    The government pleads for Galt's help. Men follow Dagny and capture Galt.

    Part 3, Chapter 8
  • Soon after

    Project X destroys Taggart Bridge. Galt is tortured. James Taggart breaks down.

    Part 3, Chapter 9
  • Afterward

    Galt is rescued. The lights of New York go out. The industrialists plan to return and rebuild.

    Part 3, Chapter 10

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Part 1: Non-Contradiction As Eddie Willers walks through the streets of New York City on September 2 of an undisclosed year, a homeless person ask... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 2 Hank Rearden, a self-made industrialist and inventor, spent 10 years developing Rearden Metal. Now he fills the first or... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 3 The National Council of Metal Industries is studying whether Rearden Metal is dangerous. Orren Boyle of Associated Steel... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 4 Taggart Transcontinental needs diesel engines but can't obtain them. Dick McNamara, the competent contractor who laid th... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 5 The People's State of Mexico is in an "uproar of indignation" after discovering the San Sebastian Mines are worthless. D... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 6 At her party on December 10, the Rearden Metal bracelet looks "like an ugly piece of dime-store jewelry" on Lillian Rear... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 7 Rearden Metal rails are being laid on the Rio Norte Line, and Hank Rearden shows Dagny Taggart a plan for a new type of ... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 8 When they were teenagers, Dagny Taggart told Eddie Willers she felt the railroads were "held in the hand of a man beyond... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 9 After sex, Hank Rearden tells Dagny Taggart he feels contempt for both of them. They have degraded themselves like anima... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 10 Lillian Rearden tells her husband it is his job to figure out what would make her happy, even if it means lying to her. ... Read More
Part 2: Either-Or Next May, Dr. Robert Stadler is angry because Dr. Floyd Ferris has published a book claiming Stadler's discoveries prove... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 2 By September, regulations have crushed the Colorado boom. As the best men continue to disappear, Dagny Taggart feels she... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 3 D'Anconia Copper's stock crashes. Lillian Rearden confronts Hank about his affair; unwilling to divorce him, she insists... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 4 It is Thanksgiving; Hank Rearden's trial is the next day. Lillian Rearden thinks her husband's willingness to risk impri... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 5 Dagny Taggart can't replace rails due to Hank Rearden not having copper. The trains stop running for lack of coal; consu... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 6 In mid-April Wesley Mouch issues Directive Number 10-289 to stabilize the economic crisis. The directive freezes workers... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 7 The chapter's title is Francisco d'Anconia's phrase to describe Directive Number 10-289. The moratorium is a legal order... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 8 At the cabin, Dagny Taggart finds purpose in improving the property. She thinks life is linear, progressing toward a goa... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 9 Dagny Taggart plans to continue to fight for the railroad out of an "unrequited love" for a person she has always "expec... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 10 On the train to Utah, Dagny Taggart speaks with Jeff Allen, a tramp, who mentions he might be among those responsible fo... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 1 The title of Part 3 refers to Aristotle's law of identity, which says a thing is itself. In other words, things are what... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 2 The next morning Ragnar Danneskjöld arrives for vacation. Danneskjöld says Hank Rearden soon will be ready for the valle... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 3 Dr. Robert Stadler uneasily attends the first public demonstration of Project X in Iowa. Dr. Floyd Ferris tells the crow... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 4 On August 5 James Taggart gives a party celebrating the Interneighborly Amity and Development Corporation's (IADC's) exc... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 5 By September food is scarce, and the trains barely run. Powerful men are selling a commodity known as "pull," which allo... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 6 On October 20 the Unification Board refuses the demands of Hank Rearden's workers for a raise. The press predicts an "ou... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 7 Hank Rearden sends Dagny Taggart word he is in Colorado with John Galt. The country descends into violence; the papers a... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 8 Mr. Thompson asks what should be done, and Dagny Taggart says, "Give up and get out of the way." Thompson decides John G... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 9 Dr. Robert Stadler drives to Project X, intending to "seize control ... and rule a part of the country as his feudal dom... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 10 Dagny Taggart, Hank Rearden, Francisco d'Anconia, and Ragnar Danneskjöld arrive at Project X. They dispose of the guards... Read More
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