Atlas Shrugged Book Discussion Questions

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

'Atlas Shrugged' is a dystopian novel by Ayn Rand in which United States government overreach leads to economic collapse. This asset provides classroom discussion questions about this novel.

Atlas Shrugged

Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged is a cautionary tale about a worst-case scenario if corrupt government leaders go unchecked. The novel features a United States in which government controls industry and workers, which leads to the nation's economic failure. The following questions accompany secondary classroom discussions about this novel.


Questions in this section review the setting, background, and main characters in the book.

  • Describe the setting of the novel. Why do you think the author chose to alter an existing setting rather than create a fictional setting?
  • What does the setting of the novel reveal about economic conditions? What are some indicators of wealth and poverty in different locations near your community?
  • Why does the homeless man ask, 'Who is John Galt?' How might you apply this phrase in your life?
  • Compare James Taggart to Dagny Taggart. What are some factors that threaten Taggart Transcontinental? How do James and Dagny approach these threats differently? What do you think is the best way to hold industries accountable for maintaining safety?

Government Interference

In this section, students will discuss government interference in industry and other conflicts in the novel.

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