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Francisco d’Anconia in Ayn Rand's _Atlas Shrugged_ Essay

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Francisco d’Anconia bursts onto the pages of Atlas Shrugged just as “he flew through the days of his summer months,” “like a rocket” (94). Through Dagny’s eyes, Ayn Rand introduces Francisco as larger than, and full of, life—a being of pure joy; a shining beacon of ability, productiveness, purpose. It is no wonder that Dagny expects great things from Frisco d’Anconia.

Yet, Dagny is crushed by what Francisco does become. He “changes his course,” leaving Dagny, and the reader, with the question: how could Francisco d’Anconia, purpose and productivity incarnate, a man who, even as a boy, understood that industry is “the most important thing on earth” and that to study a motor is to “[absorb] the culture of the world” (95)—how could he become the thing which, by his own admission, is “the most depraved type of human being:” “The man without a purpose” (99), a worthless playboy?

Francisco later reveals that he chose deliberately to pose as a playboy as “camouflage… for a purpose of [his] own” (493). He explains to Dagny that, upon becoming president of d’Anconia Copper, he “began to see the nature of the evil” (766) of the world. He saw that the world had abandoned reason—abandoned the mind. “I knew it,” he tells her, “I saw no way to fight it. John found the way” (766).

John Galt’s solution, “the strike of the men of the mind” (738), prompts many men to leave their challenging professions and take on less impressive and less conspicuous careers. Yet, Francisco, uniquely among the strikers, remains where he is, as president of d’Anconia Copper. As Francisco explains it, he faces a challenge not faced by the other strikers. While industries like Taggart Transcontinental are “precision machinery,” requiring constant, focused tho...


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...accomplished his destruction of d’Anconia Copper, he abandoned his mask and a world that had progressed into its final stages of mindlessness.

So we see, in the end, that Francisco always was the man of purpose. He was the man who, when faced with “a world where there’s so little occasion for [joy]” (98), stayed true to his childhood motto of “let’s make it” (94), and made a world which abounded with occasion for it. The straight line of his aim led through a period where he was required to disguise himself as that which he most despised, a worthless playboy, but, through an unbroken devotion to reality, he moved forward, rarely flinching, steadily achieving his goal of being the richest of his family line. We see, in the end, that Francisco was “the climax of the d’Anconias” (94).


Works Cited

Rand, Ayn. Atlas Shrugged. New York: Penguin Group Inc., 1996. Print.


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