Friday, August 05, 2005

Chapter 5: The Climax of the d'Anconias

This is d'Anconia's chapter. Dagny finds out that the San Sebastian mines had been worthless, devoid of copper, and she sets out to question Francisco on the reason for his actions. Despite the reports from the tabloids, a part of her still has hope in him, that he is still the man she had fallen in love with--still loves. As she walks to his hotel, she reminisces memories of him, their youth together, his accomplishments, his sheer nature--he cannot have become the depraved playboy without a reason. Dagny does not see his reasons, although when she confronts him at the Wayne-Falkland, he is still the man she remembers. She cannot bring herself to believe that she has become a destroyer of all that she holds as good, the trademarks of the world.

Francisco is expected to become the climax of the d'Anconias, but the sense of something not right with the world, his becoming convinced by Galt of the evil of the world and what must be done, makes it seem as if he has become an utter failure. The tradition of the d'Anconias is that every heir must earn his name, must increase the family's fortune, that the first heir to be unable to do that would be dead to the family. Yet, Francisco has not become forlorn to his heritage--his sense of "investment" is just a bit unconventional. Being equipped with the burden of having to destroy the remaining wealth in the world--to save the world from the looters--his "investment" would be a good one only if it damaged as many establishments of wealth as possible. His task would not be done until the world is fully destroyed, the good fully taken away from the hands of the looters.

Ironically, although people attempt to encourage the heroes to "have a good time," meaning to live aimlessly, have random fun, they are not pleased with Francisco's show of merely-human error and ways. The excuse of having betrayed the people of Mexico is used to attempt to wring guilt in Francisco and to lessen his name, that a rich bastard's mistake had denied the Mexican government from serving free food to the people, thus upping the standard of life of the crumbling country. What do they mean when they say "to have a good time?" They deny the fact that it is not possible for a hero to be "like them" (having pointless joy) and still be a hero.

Dagny and Francisco's relationship, essentially, begins and end with a "slap." When Dagny feigns the threat of losing herself to the mindless, to retract her greatness, receiving bad grades, for the stake of popularity, Francisco slaps him--the blow encapsulates his love for her as she is, that were she to join the mindless, that would be the most depraved thing she could do, and that it would hurt him beyond all. When Dagny beats Francisco, it is her first victory as well as her first acceptance of decision to do only her best--her decision that she would win, that she had to and would, that she'd die to do it. It is a creed--that of competence being the only standard left, of wealth being not based in rotting emblems, but in the great moving industries of the world--Francisco has been leaking to her, and when she finally accepts it, Dagny's beating him is really Francisco's victory--that he has her. They discover joy in sensuality from each other because they "had to learn it from each other," a double conundrum referring to both Dagny's education of the meaning of wealth as well as the methods of pleasure. The fact that their love had to be kept secret from a world, one which would lambast it as morally degrading, man's lower nature, foreshadows that there is something wrong with the world--that the world would view joy as sin. Dagny knows that Francisco will always be true to her, that indiscriminate desire and unselective indulgence are possible only to those who view sex and themselves as evil. Yet, Francisco lets Galt sway him--he's forced with the high chance of losing Dagny, as with infinite bitterness and as if crushed by a burden unholy, he forewarns Dagny of the events to come, yet being unable to tell her in clear objective terms what would come. To Dagny, Francisco is a lost cause--it is beyond heart break for her, but a horrible tragedy, "the destruction of what had been greatness." As Dagny exits, her verbal admission that yes, she still desires him, but it does not matter what she thinks, is a rhetorical slap that neatly ends their relationship. (Later, Rearden would give Francisco a physical slap. Rand likes ppl slapping each other.)

Because it was Francisco who had taught Dagny about wealth, that the only gold standard left is that of competence, it is germane that it would be he who would be the one who appears to destroy wealth--but it is only wealth as she knows it.


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