Chapter Summaries and Commentaries
Part Two: Chapter 9—The Face Without Pain or Fear or Guilt
The same evening, Francisco comes to Dagny’s apartment in one last effort to convince her toquit the railroad. But Dagny responds that if Taggart Transcontinental is to perish with thelooters’ system, then she will perish with it. Rearden enters and is furious to see Francisco,whom he believes is guilty of the worst kind of betrayal. Francisco is stunned to find that thewoman he loves is sleeping with Rearden. When Rearden realizes that Dagny is the womanFrancisco loves, he slaps him. Francisco, calling on the greatest self-control possible, refrainsfrom retaliating. He departs.Dagny receives a letter from Quentin Daniels informing her that he is resigning. He still wantsto solve the secret of the motor, so he will continue to work on rebuilding it privately. But if hesucceeds, he will not release the motor for commercial purposes in the looters’ world, so hewill not accept her money any longer. Dagny, desperate to reach Quentin before the destroyerdoes, calls him and makes him promise to wait for her. She will take the Comet west toexamine the track in Colorado and to speak with Daniels in Utah.Eddie Willers, in Dagny’s apartment taking notes before her departure, observes Rearden’sdressing gown in her closet and realizes that they are lovers. Eddie is shaken. After seeing heroff, he eats dinner with the worker in the Taggart cafeteria. He remarks to the worker that hisface looks as though he’s never known pain or fear or guilt. Eddie tells him that Daniels hasworked on the motor for a year and that Dagny is going to Utah to prevent the destroyer fromgetting him. Eddie also reveals that Dagny is Rearden’s lover, and the worker rushes away.When Dagny refuses to withdraw her mind from the looters’ world, Francisco makes clear toher that they are enemies and that she is never to ask him for money or help for her railroad.He feels certain that without her and Rearden, the looters cannot survive. Ironically, Dagny ispropping up the system the thinkers despise; she is Francisco’s most dangerous adversary.Although he still loves her, he must find a way to defeat her.The possibility that Quentin Daniels might give up his work on the motor is intolerable toDagny. She needs to know that somewhere in the world the human mind still moves forward.If any hope exists for the future, the great achievements of man’s mind cannot be abandonedon a scrap heap. Otherwise, all that remains are the looters and the devastation wrought bytheir policies. Dagny needs one bright spot related to her work to serve as fuel, as motivation,as some quiet knowledge that the human mind still works toward progress. At a literal level,Dagny’s quest to reconstruct the motor is an attempt to develop a specific invention of enormous life-giving power. But the quest is also a symbol of an unbreakable commitment tothe mind’s power to create life and a refusal to surrender this power to the encroaching DarkAge. Dagny, who worships the highest achievements of man’s mind and who has suffered as,one by one, the great thinkers abandoned the country, recognizes that Daniels’ work is themind’s last stand in the world. She will defend it until her final breath.In the course of several hours of one evening, three men discover that Dagny is Rearden’slover. First is Francisco, who has made it clear that, despite his playboy image, he has lovedonly one woman. Second is Eddie, who has never permitted himself to acknowledge his fullfeelings for Dagny. Third is the unidentified Taggart worker, who has no discernible connectionto Dagny. Francisco, though he hopes to win Dagny again after the looters’ world collapses,quietly accepts her relationship with Rearden. Eddie, her childhood friend, is confronted with apainful self-discovery: She means much more to him than a close friend and a respected boss.But the reaction of the Taggart worker seems inexplicable. “What’s the matter with you?” Eddie cries on observing the worker’s response to his news.