Dagny and Hank discuss Francisco. Neither can figure him out. They think that they should hate and despise him, yet they like him and are drawn to him.
Rearden: “Yes… yes, like the Wyatt fire. But, you know, I don’t think I care too much about that. What’s one more disaster? Everything’s going anyway, it’s only a question of a little faster or a little slower, all that’s left for us ahead is to keep the ship afloat as long as we can and then go down with it.”
Dagny: “Is that his excuse for himself? Is that what he’s made you feel?”
Rearden: “No. Oh, no! That’s the feeling I lose when I speak to him. The strange thing is what he does make me feel.”
Lillian catches Hank cheating.
During their conversation, Lillian says that she’s known he wanted a divorce since the first month of their marriage. He responds by asking why she stayed. She says, “It’s a question you have lost the right to ask.” He agrees, and thinks that there is “only one conceivable reason, her love for him, could justify her answer.”
Hank still believes that it her love for him that keeps Lillian around. Hank is still naive and believes Lillian loves and cares for him, and wants the best for him. I think that Lillian sticks around for the status and power. She gets to be the wife of the great Hank Rearden, and all their friends know how he comes home late and doesn’t treat her like a queen. She gets to hold this over his head. She holds power over Hank.
She confirms this when she says, “Do you suppose I will allow your romance with a floozie to deprive me of my home, my name, my social position?”
Cafeteria Man and the Destroyer
Eddie meets with the unnamed man in the cafeteria. He discusses Danagger and how Dagny fears the destroyer will soon reach him. The stranger seems interested. We still don’t know who this man is or what role he plays in the novel.
In the next section of the chapter, Danagger announces that he will retire, after a mysterious visit from an unknown man. Are the two events connected? Why else would Rand put them side by side in the chapter? Is the mysterious man in the cafeteria some how connected to the destroyer? Could he be the destroyer?
Dagny and Danagger are saying their goodbyes. Dagny asks him if he will return. He says, “No. You’re going to join me.” What could he mean by this? Will the destroyer come after Dagny? If these men are leaving happily, willingly, is he really a destroyer? What is his goal?
“Could I now reclaim a single hour spent listening to my brother Philip and give it to Ken Danagger? Who made it our duty to accept, as the only reward for our work, the gray torture of pretending love for those who rouased us to nothing but contempt? We who were able to melt rock and metal for our purpose, why had we never sought that which we wanted from men?”
Hank regrets not befriending Danagger, a man he respected and loved. And, regrets giving what could have been Danagger’s time to his worthless brother, Philip.
“Closing his eyes, he permitted himself to experience for a moment the immense relief he would feel if he, too, were to walk off, abandoning everything. Under the shock of his loss, he felt a thin thread of envy. Why didn’t they come for me, too, whoever they are, and give me that irresistible reason which would make me go?”
Hank is slightly jealous. He understands walking away.
Francisco comes to see Hank.
“Mr. Rearden,” said Francisco, “if you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling, but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down on his shoulders — what would you tell him to do?”
“I… I don’t know. What…. could he d? What would you tell him?”
When the weight of the world is upon your shoulders, you shrug it off and move on.
Things to think about/discussion questions/journal entries
1. Both Dagny and Rearden think they should hate Francisco, but don’t. Why do you think this is? How do they feel about him? How do you feel about Francisco?
2. Discuss what you think about the destroyer. Who is he? What characters has he taken? Why do you think they leave willingly? What is he doing? What characters could he be connected to? Why did he have a cigarette with the golden dollar sign?