Atlas Shrugged Part 3, Chapter 8 Summary

Ayn Rand

Part 3, Chapter 8 Summary

Panic erupts in the radio station following John Galt’s broadcast. The men disagree whether they should resume regular broadcasting without comment or make a statement so the public will not think the state has endorsed John Galt’s message. Dagny tells them they should give up, step aside, and let free men live their lives. The men discuss the next course of action in relation to John Galt.

Eddie Willers tells Dagny he has known John Galt for years and did not realize it. Galt was the worker with whom Eddie always spoke in the cafeteria. Dagny tells him he will not see John Galt again. Thompson tries to calm the country following the broadcast and calls out to John Galt to come to negotiate with the government. Thompson asks Dagny if she knows where John Galt is, but Dagny does not.

Dagny tracks down John Galt’s dwelling place in a tenement. He tells her that the men who followed her will arrive within a half hour to arrest him, as he had previously told her would happen should she try to find him. She is horrified by what she has done, but he tells her she must pretend to be on the other side and identify him as the John Galt they want. He shows her the motor he is using to create energy, then he locks the door to the room in which he keeps it. When the men arrive, Dagny identifies John Galt as their target. John Galt tells the men to keep Dagny away from him. They break into the locked room, where they find only the ashes of the motor, which has self-destructed.

John Galt is held prisoner at gunpoint while Thompson tries to convince him to take autocratic control of the nation’s economy. John Galt tells him it won’t work, but Thompson insists that he can have anything he wants if he will just save the nation. John Galt says that, because Thompson has a gun pointed at him, he can make him to do anything except use his mind for him. The newspapers falsely report that John Galt has agreed to save the nation, but the public does not believe it. The government announces triumphantly that they have created the John Galt Plan. At the ceremony announcing the plan to a television audience, the camera swings to John Galt, who leans to one side to reveal a gun pointed at him. He shouts, “Get the hell out of my way!”