These discussion questions and podcast were prepared by Diana Hsieh for ExploreAtlasShrugged.com for people interested in creating their own Atlas Shrugged Reading Groups, as well as for anyone wishing to study the novel in more depth. They may be freely used for the study and discussion of Atlas Shrugged, provided that this paragraph remains intact in any reproduction.

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Atlas Shrugged, Part 3, Chapter 1

  • Part 3, Chapter 2: The Utopia of Greed

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Discussion Questions

(Note: The listed page numbers are for the larger edition, softcover or hardback.)

Part 3, Chapter 2: The Utopia of Greed

Section 1 (752-761)

  • Why does John Galt not want to hear what Ragnar Danneskjöld has to say about Hank Rearden? (756-7)
  • What kind of lesson does Ragnar seek to teach the world by his piracy?  Given the risks, is he sacrificing himself for the cause? Why do the other strikers disapprove?  Who is right? (757-8)
  • Why does Dagny want to earn her keep as Galt’s cook and maid?  What does the work — and the wages in gold — mean to her?  (760-1)

Section 2 (761-769)

  • What does Dagny’s apparent death mean to the outside world, and to Hank Rearden?  What does she think and feel about that? (761-3)
  • Why is communication between the valley and the outside world forbidden during the vacation month?  Should Dagny have asked for a special exception to tell Hank that she is safe?  Why doesn’t she do so? (763-4, 769)
  • Why did Francisco go on strike?  How was Dagny the final argument for doing so, even though that meant giving her up?  Are his reasons selfish or selfless? (765-7)
  • Why does Francisco accept Dagny’s taking Hank as a lover?  Why does he say that she still loves him?  In what way does she love him?  (767-8)

Section 3 (769-781)

  • Why and how will Francisco be richer producing one pound of copper in the valley than in producing tons of copper in the outside world?  What does that say about the value of production and wealth?  (771)
  • Why is Dagny agitated over John Galt’s routine absences from home in the evening?  Of her two worries, which is more severe — and why? (773)
  • Why do Dagny and Galt feel such strong sexual desire for each other — yet refrain from consummating it?  Would it be wrong at this point — and if so, why? (775-81)

Section 4 (781-791)

  • How and why does Richard Halley have more in common with the businessmen in the valley than with the artists in the outside world?  What is the commonality between art and business? (782-4) 
  • What is the attitude of the mother toward the raising of her children?  How does it differ from the mothers in the outside world?  (784-5)
  • How are Dr. Akston’s three pupils — John, Ragnar, and Francisco — both normal men and exceptional? (786) What were the critical points about their education?  (786-90)
  • How does Dr. Akston explain the roots of Dr. Stadler’s moral decay?  What choices did Stadler face?  Where did he choose wrongly?  Why is Stadler the most guilty?  How has he made the world in his own image? (789-91)

Section 5 (791-802)

  • Why is Dagny so excited by Francisco’s mine?  Why does that excitement collapse?  (791-4)
  • Why did Galt give Francisco a chance with Dagny when she went to the cabin at Woodstock?  Why won’t he do so later, in the valley?  (795-7)
  • Why does Francisco want Dagny to stay with him for the week?  Why does Dagny want Galt to decide?  What is the significance of his decision?  What would have been the consequences for Dagny, Galt, and Francisco if Galt decided other than he did?  How would that act of self-sacrifice have been faking reality?  (796-8)
  • How does Dagny react to Hank Rearden’s plane? Why does she react that way?  (799-802)
  • What is Dagny’s basic conflict about whether to stay in the valley or not?  (801-2)

Section 6 (802-813)

  • Why does Dagny choose to return to the world?  What does she still have left to learn?  (806-7, 811-2)
  • How does Francisco react to learning about Galt and Dagny’s feelings for each other?  Why?  (809-10)
  • Why is John Galt going back to the world?  Is he right to do so?  (809-13)

Section 7 (813-815)

  • How does Dagny feel about returning to the world? (813-5)

Whole Chapter

  • What is the significance of the title of this chapter?
   
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