Atlas Shrugged Part 3, Chapter 4 Summary

Ayn Rand

Part 3, Chapter 4 Summary

James Taggart learns that Argentina will be declared, like most of the other major nations, a People’s State and will thus nationalize d’Anconia Copper Mines. He buys stock in a new company so he will have control when the State seizes the mines. This, with his other investments, ensures that he will have a major influence in every State in the Southern Hemisphere. On the way home, he gives a tramp a one hundred dollar bill because it is the only thing in his pocket. The tramp is as indifferent to this as James is.

When he returns to his apartment, he asks Cherryl for some champagne so they can celebrate. She is indifferent to the celebration, having lost all admiration for James since their marriage. She begins to ask questions of people involved in Taggart Transcontinental and learns that it was Dagny, not James, who runs the company, especially the John Galt Line. She expresses her disgust to James. He tries to belittle her for coming from the slums and tells her that she is ungrateful for all he has done for her. She puts on her clothes and leaves the apartment, not wanting to stay around James any longer.

Cherryl shows up at Dagny’s apartment. She apologizes for the things she said at her wedding, even though she knows she does not deserve forgiveness. She realizes that Dagny is everything she thought she loved in James. Dagny accepts her apologizes and states that they are sisters by choice, not by Cherryl’s marriage to James. She tells Cherryl that giving to those who do not deserve the gift is an evil. The only good is justice. Cherryl feels that Dagny is the only one who really understands her, and she returns to James’s apartment.

James is in a violent mood when Lillian Rearden arrives at his apartment. She wants him to help her prevent Rearden from divorcing her because this would leave her homeless and poverty stricken, but he has no power to do so. She spills her drink on herself and James tries to wipe it off, which leads to the two of them having passionless sex. Cherryl returns home and overhears them. She hides in her bedroom until Lillian leaves and then confronts James. He does not care and tells her that he will not allow her to divorce him. He married her only as an act of charity. He strikes her, and she runs out into the street. She has nowhere to go, so she keeps running until she reaches the river and jumps in.