Atlas Shrugged/Section152

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Atlas Shrugged, Part 1, Chapter 5, section 2:     Previous Next

  • Plot summary

In this long section, Dagny goes to the Wayne-Falkland Hotel to confront Francisco d'Anconia. Before she arrives she reminisces about her childhood with Francisco and we learn why this man is so significant to her.

Francisco had been a childhood friend of Dagny and Eddie Willers. He spent his childhood all over the world, because his father wanted him to feel the world was his home. But for one month every summer he visited the Taggart estate, and his visit was the highlight of Dagny's and Eddie's year. Francisco had an unlimited capacity for joy, and he loved tackling new challenges. His great goal for his life was to run D'Anconia Copper so well it would double in size. He talked to Dagny about their great futures running their respective family businesses - this was the vision of the future Dagny came to expect.

When Dagny was sixteen she began working at Taggart Transcontinental, much to her mother's chagrin. Her mother was worried that Dagny showed no interest in boys, or in feminine things in general. She decided to throw Dagny a coming out party at the Wayne-Falkland Hotel. Dagny loved the idea, and went there with the eager expectation of finding people who were as filled with joy as Francisco, but instead she found they were just as bored and unhappy as in everyday life. In later years Dagny would discover her vision of the future was mistaken in the same way, and she would often think back to this party and wonder why people seemed incapable of living life in joy, why they lived instead with a constant undertone of fear and unhappiness. Where were the men of joy? Where were the men who were appropriate for life on earth?

That summer, when Francisco returned, he and Dagny discovered they were in love, and spent the summer going off together and making love in secret places where no one could discover them. They kept it secret not out of guilt, but because they felt it was too personal and too special to share with anyone else.

The romance continued for eight years, as Francisco rose to become head of D'Anconia Copper and Dagny finished college and began her rise at Taggart Transcontinental. Then, when she was 24, Francisco invited her to his room at the Wayne-Falkland Hotel. She was shocked to see, for the first time, pain in his face, and that he was torn by the obvious struggle within him that he could not explain to her. He warns her that he will have reasons for things he does, and tells her not to wait for him.

After that night, she did not hear anything about Francisco for a year, and then she began to hear the stories of a new Francisco, a worthless, irresponsible playboy, with no apparent interest in his work. At first she could not believe these things, but as the years passed and the stories piled up, she had no choice. Time deadened her pain, but she never found another man to love -- another man for whom life was joy.

When she arrives at the Wayne-Falkland and confronts Francisco, she accuses him of deliberately plotting the swindle of the San Sebastian Mines. She tries to determine his motives, and he leads her on, eventually telling her that he is deliberately trying to destroy the producers, that his goal in the San Sebastian Mines was to waste millions of dollars, and that Ellis Wyatt will be next one to be destroyed and Taggart Transcontinental will collapse as well; he tells her that she is the one he must fight. She could never believe he had become so corrupt, but she has no choice but to believe it now.

  • Setting

Downtown New York, on and around the Taggart Estate in Dagny's childhood, the Wayne-Falkland Hotel.

  • Characters
Dagnys Father
Dagnys Mother
Dagny Taggart
Eddie Willers
Ellis Wyatt - Mentioned.
Francisco d'Anconia
Franciscos Father
James Taggart
Mrs. Gilbert Vail - Mentioned.
Nathaniel Taggart - Mentioned
Orren Boyle - Mentioned.
Richard Halley - Mentioned.
Sebastian d'Anconia