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Atlas Shrugged

by: Ayn Rand

Dagny Taggart

Dagny is remarkable in every way: beautiful, talented, determined, and highly intelligent. Her independent spirit leads her to trust her own judgment over public opinion. Though calmly rational, she is also tremendously passionate about her work and love. She is enormously successful as a woman in a man’s world. Rand presents her this way to demonstrate that rationality and great accomplishments are not gender-specific. Dagny’s defining characteristic is a supreme self-confidence. She is keenly aware of her own abilities and always knows the right thing to do. But her confidence is also her flaw. She leaves the strikers and rejoins the real world because she feels she can single-handedly save her railroad and by extension her world. No one person can do this, and her realization comes nearly too late, as she is the last to join the strike. She is also flawed in her optimism about people. Until the end, when she learns the looters will torture Galt to make him help them, she continues to believe they can be made to understand their errors.