Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 437
The workers at Rearden Steel request a raise; however, they do not present their request to Rearden himself but to the Unification Board. Rearden learns of it only indirectly. He also learns that the Unification Board has denied their request. When the newspapers report that the Rearden Steel workers are...
(The entire section contains 437 words.)
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The workers at Rearden Steel request a raise; however, they do not present their request to Rearden himself but to the Unification Board. Rearden learns of it only indirectly. He also learns that the Unification Board has denied their request. When the newspapers report that the Rearden Steel workers are near destitution and that their request for a wage increase has been denied, they fail to mention who exactly turned down their request—they allow the assumption that Rearden did it. Rearden receives a notice that his bank accounts have been “attached” (garnished) for three years’ worth of unpaid back taxes (which is a false accusation). He agrees to meet with the Unification Board on November 4.
The same day, his mother calls Rearden and says she desperately needs to see him. He arrives at her home to find Philip and Lillian also there. His mother tells him that they have not received their allowance check because of the attachment and are short of money. Rearden points out that he is short of money as well. Mrs. Rearden begs for her son’s forgiveness, but Rearden sees forgiveness as pointless. Philip says that Rearden cannot leave without money. At this, Rearden realizes the purpose of the attachment. It is to prevent his escape as the other industrialists have escaped.
At the meeting with the Unification Board, Rearden is unmoved by their requests that he produce as much Rearden Metal as he can on the promise that the money will be put in a Steel Unification Pool and divided at the end of the year according to the number of open furnaces in each steel mill. Rearden tells them that his ovens produce more than do those of Orren Boyle, who has more furnaces. He will thus operate at a loss to support Orren Boyle. He realizes that they are counting on the fact that he will keep on producing steel because it is what he loves.
At the mill, the workers go on strike and riot. Rearden sees the Wet Nurse, who has been shot. The Wet Nurse tells him that he had tried to stop the striking workers. Rearden finally calls the Wet Nurse by his name, Tony, and holds him as he dies. Then Rearden is attacked and knocked unconscious. When he regains consciousness, he tells of someone killing his attacker and shooting into the rioting crowd, killing several. Rearden’s “savior” enters: it is Francisco d’Anconia, who tells Rearden that he has been working for the steel mill and acting as Rearden’s bodyguard since the day the D’Anconia Copper Mines were destroyed.