Atlas Shrugged Part 3, Chapter 1 Summary

Ayn Rand

Part 3, Chapter 1 Summary

Dagny regains consciousness and finds herself lying in a field of grass in a mountain valley. She is looking up at a face that strikes her as free from guilt or pain. He addresses her by name and then introduces himself as John Galt. When she asks where she is, John Galt tells her she is at Taggart Terminal. Dagny is unable to walk, so John Galt carries her to his small home and places her in the guest room. On the way, Dagny sees a large golden dollar sign. John Galt tells her it is a joke by Francisco d’Anconia, a symbol of what the valley stands for. The valley is protected by rays invented by John Galt, who also invented the motor. She meets Hugh Akston (who greets her) as well as Midas Mulligan, the banker who owns the valley. She learns that this is where all the vanished men have gone. They have each become part of a community and are doing something other than how they made their fortunes or reputations.

John Galt explains that he has been watching Dagny for some years. She is the first person who has seen this valley before deciding to move here. Quentin Daniels brings a car for John Galt to use to give Dagny a tour. Daniels apologizes for breaking his word to Dagny; he simply forgot when John Galt came for him. As Dagny tours the valley, she learns that each inhabitant is someone who has left the world of business, science, or academia and come here to form a self-supporting community. Each earns money from the product of his labor, but it is not subject to taxes or any other form of “looting” by a central government. She sees the building where the motor is kept. Above the door is written:

I swear by my life and my love of it that I will not live for the sake of another man, nor ask for any man to live for mine.

This is the official oath of the community, and taking it is a requirement for anyone who wants to live here. Dagny and John Galt join other residents that evening at a dinner hosted by Midas Mulligan. John Galt explains that they are all on strike. Other laborers have gone on strike, withholding their services until demands are met. These people are withholding the products of their minds. They have been the ones who have held the world up on their shoulders through their knowledge and capabilities.