The Conflict in Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

download print

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 734 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: May 14, 2021

Words: 734|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: May 14, 2021

Table of contents

  1. The Central Conflict in "Atlas Shrugged"
  2. Conclusion
  3. Works Cited

Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" skillfully introduces readers to a world where actions and values are meticulously examined and weighed against each other. While the narrative also encompasses various subplots, the central conflict primarily revolves around human actions. Rand masterfully injects dramatic elements into her storytelling by interweaving the theme of "the role of the mind in human existence." "Atlas Shrugged" places a strong emphasis on the significance of values and the subsequent actions that stem from them. Rand effectively interprets these actions using overarching abstract principles that thread through the unfolding conflict.

'Why Violent Video Games Shouldn't Be Banned'?

The Central Conflict in "Atlas Shrugged"

From the outset, "Atlas Shrugged" establishes its plot-theme, centering the narrative's focus on helping the audience comprehend the link between the theme and the central conflict, both of which are intricately tied to human existence. Delving deeper, Rand elucidates that the abstract theme centers around "men of the mind going on strike against an altruist-collectivist society." This underscores Rand's intention to draw attention to the pressing issue at hand—highlighting the substantial role of the mind in our lives and how each action generates a reaction.

Rand introduces the primary conflict in "Atlas Shrugged" indirectly, expressing it in terms of actions. This gradual approach eases readers into the conflict, allowing them to anticipate its eventual eruption. The author skillfully communicates the theme and, consequently, introduces the conflict by employing robust character dynamics, particularly between the creators and the looters. This moral conflict between the two groups serves as a conduit for Rand to explore how characters' actions contribute to the overarching theme.

Dagny Taggart and Hank Rearden, the creators, are portrayed as staunchly opposed to the looters, both in terms of principles and morals. However, they find themselves supporting the looters through their actions, a contradiction Rand deftly explores in the narrative. As the story progresses, Dagny and Rearden oppose John Galt and the strikers in action but align with them morally, underscoring Rand's argument that actions are the driving force behind human existence.

Throughout the story, Rand paints the heroes as the driving force behind success. These exceptional individuals possess the power to shape the world and shoulder its burdens. Special emphasis is placed on Dagny and Hank, who take initiative and responsibility, leading to their personal fulfillment. While they are portrayed as admirable figures, some characters, such as the producers, are depicted as only taking action when it directly benefits them. Rand's heroes are presented as extraordinary individuals, standing above the rest. Critical events in "Atlas Shrugged" are deliberately dramatized, unfolding before readers' eyes as Rand employs literary devices like flashbacks to emphasize their significance in relation to the central theme and the underlying cause of the story's conflict.

Furthermore, Rand introduces societal conflict stemming from hierarchies and social strata. Dagny faces public scrutiny and criticism for her values and identity, a situation paralleled in James's experience. Although Dagny's demeanor may come across as cold, in her own view, her actions align with goodness. Her struggles in navigating the world of capitalism while feeling pressured to conform highlight the challenges of societal pressure. Despite society's expressed desire to be part of the economic system, attempts to enlighten them result in resistance and backlash. "Atlas Shrugged" vividly illustrates humanity's resistance to change, even when remaining in ignorance adversely affects society. People are often reluctant to step out of their comfort zones, fearing that their actions may be perceived as unusual or strange. The narrative underscores the stubbornness and resistance to change prevalent in society.

Get a custom paper now from our expert writers.


Throughout "Atlas Shrugged," the dichotomy between honesty and corruption emerges as a central theme, illustrating how opposition and societal conflicts oppose both moral and physical well-being. As the story unfolds, it becomes evident that the solution to the conflict lies in intellect. Despite the looters' efforts to stifle the mind, John Galt finds a path to success through intellect, ultimately showcasing the transformative power of intellect in changing lives.

Works Cited

  1. Rand, A. (1957). Atlas Shrugged. Random House.
  2. Smith, G. H. (2008). Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged: A Philosophical and Literary Companion. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.
  3. Machan, T. R. (2009). Ayn Rand. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  4. Gladstein, M. R. (2014). The Ayn Rand Companion. Greenwood Publishing Group.
  5. Hsieh, D. (2009). Ayn Rand's Philosophy of Objectivism: A Brief Overview. The Objective Standard, 4(2), 47-54.
  6. Younkins, E. W. (2004). Philosophical Themes in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. In Essays on Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged (pp. 35-53). Lexington Books.
  7. Sciabarra, C. M. (2013). Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical. Pennsylvania State University Press.
Image of Dr. Charlotte Jacobson
This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

The Conflict In Atlas Shrugged By Ayn Rand. (2021, May 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 1, 2024, from
“The Conflict In Atlas Shrugged By Ayn Rand.” GradesFixer, 14 May 2021,
The Conflict In Atlas Shrugged By Ayn Rand. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 1 Mar. 2024].
The Conflict In Atlas Shrugged By Ayn Rand [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2021 May 14 [cited 2024 Mar 1]. Available from:
Keep in mind: This sample was shared by another student.
  • 450+ experts on 30 subjects ready to help
  • Custom essay delivered in as few as 3 hours
Write my essay

Still can’t find what you need?

Browse our vast selection of original essay samples, each expertly formatted and styled


Where do you want us to send this sample?

    By clicking “Continue”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.


    Be careful. This essay is not unique

    This essay was donated by a student and is likely to have been used and submitted before

    Download this Sample

    Free samples may contain mistakes and not unique parts


    Sorry, we could not paraphrase this essay. Our professional writers can rewrite it and get you a unique paper.



    Please check your inbox.

    We can write you a custom essay that will follow your exact instructions and meet the deadlines. Let's fix your grades together!


    Get Your
    Personalized Essay in 3 Hours or Less!

    We can help you get a better grade and deliver your task on time!
    • Instructions Followed To The Letter
    • Deadlines Met At Every Stage
    • Unique And Plagiarism Free
    Order your paper now