Character Analysis Francisco d'Anconia


Francisco is one of John Galt's two closest friends and an indispensable ally in the strike. He takes on the role of squandering playboy as cover for his two real activities. One of these is to gradually obliterate all assets of the world's wealthiest corporation — d'Anconia Copper — and in so doing, to help destroy other industrial concerns, such as Taggart Transcontinental. His other purpose is to recruit great thinkers for the strike. More than anyone else, Francisco helps liberate Hank Rearden from the shackles of the self-sacrifice ethics, enabling Rearden to recognize the virtue and necessity of the strike.

The swashbuckling gaiety and enthusiasm that define Francisco's character result from his view of the world — a view that Ayn Rand terms the benevolent universe premise. This theory holds that reality is open to the achievements of rational men. Human beings who recognize that rational thought and productive effort alone advance their lives, and who don't place their whims above facts, can expect to attain their goals and live in happiness. Francisco's recognition of this truth is expressed in the two refrains of his childhood. "Let's find out!" was his way to motivate Dagny and Eddie to embark on a new adventure. "Let's make it" was his call to engage in acts of construction. The first expresses an explorer's premise, the second a builder's. Both represent a man to whom reality is open, an individual for whom all roads are cleared and green lights stretch to the horizon.

Even Francisco's characteristic mockery, his use of irony and biting derision, is always benevolent and positive. He always directs his mockery at the irrational, never at the good and never at strangers. He laughs openly at people like James Taggart, because he knows that man can and should be much better. While James Taggart uses derision as a weapon of destruction, Francisco uses it as a means of destroying the destroyers, thereby clearing the road for the creative. His trademark mockery always supports his values. A scene from his childhood proves this point. When a professor of literature saw Francisco on top of a pile in a junk yard, happily "dismantling the carcass of an automobile," he said, "'A young man of your position ought to spend his time in libraries, absorbing the culture of the world.'" Francisco replied, "'What do you think I'm doing?'" He didn't intend to needle or insult the professor. He intended to expand the meaning of the term "culture" to recognize the profound value of technology and industrial production. Even at such a young age, Francisco focused on making a positive point.

Francisco's life-giving benevolence is shown in his love for Hank Rearden. The injustice of Rearden being enslaved and exploited by his family and the looting politicians is deeply moving to Francisco. He undertakes the long process of teaching Rearden to check his moral premises — to reject both the mind-body dichotomy and the self-sacrifice ethic. He receives both insults and a physical blow from Rearden but brushes them aside. He tells Rearden that if he saw Atlas straining with his last ounce of strength to support the world for a final instant before he expired, he would tell him to shrug, to release the self-sacrificial responsibility, and to recognize his own right to live.

Francisco does more than save Rearden's life during the assault on the mills; he shows him the reality of a new life. Francisco's unceasing campaign bears fruit when Rearden understands the senseless futility of cannibalizing the productive and virtuous for the sake of vicious moochers. Francisco's work is complete when Rearden throws off the shackles of guilt and servitude binding him to the parasites and joyously recognizes his own inestimable moral value. Francisco, recruiting agent for the strike, wins his greatest conquest.