Atlas Shrugged Part 3, Chapter 9 Summary

Ayn Rand

Part 3, Chapter 9 Summary

Dr. Stadler sees the John Galt Plan broadcast and hears Galt cry, “Get the hell out of my way!” Stadler decides he wants no part of the government. He drives to the testing site of Project X, where the sonic ray is stored. At the entrance, no one knows who he is. It is clear that another group has taken over the site. Dr. Stadler learns that Cuffy Meigs is now in possession of Project X. Dr. Stadler and Meigs fight over the controls and accidentally set it off. The machine, the building, and everything and everyone within a hundred-mile radius is destroyed.

Dr. Ferris decides it is best that John Galt be tortured into taking over the country as an economic dictator. Dagny hears about this and frantically tries to call Francisco d’Anconia. Dagny is on her way to meet him when she learns that the Taggart Bridge has also been destroyed, cutting people off from escape. An engineer desperately begs her to tell him what they should do. She says she does not know. She finds d’Anconia and repeats John Galt’s oath that she will never sacrifice her life for another man nor ask another man to sacrifice for hers. She then joins the other industrialists and goes on strike.

At the State Science Institute, John Galt is strapped naked to a table and rigged with electric probes. Dr. Ferris tortures him, ordering him to state what plans he has for taking over the economy of the nation. John Galt remains speechless. The machine malfunctions unexpectedly, and John Galt tells the operator what he needs to do to fix it. The operator rushes from the torture chamber, finally understanding what is happening. James Taggart takes over the machine, but Henry Mouch warns him not to kill John Galt. James says he does not care; he wants to hear John Galt scream. However, it is James who begins screaming. He catches a glimpse into his own inner self and sees that he wants John Galt to die even though he knows that he will soon die afterwards. He has long had an urge to defy reality by destroying it. It was John Galt’s greatness that he wanted to destroy. Faced with this reality, James is unable to accept reality and collapses. Mouch and Ferris decide they must never try to discover what it was that James saw. They carry James out of the room, promising John Galt that they will be back.