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futile
used in Atlas Shrugged

48 uses
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Definition
effort that is pointless because it is unproductive or unsuccessful
  • But her quest had remained futile.
    2.1 Part 2 Chapter 1 — The Man Who Belonged on Earth (36% in)
futile = unproductive
  • ...Taggart rail that was being rolled...... He remembered the silent reproach, the look of accusation, long-bearing patience and scorn, which he always saw in the eyes of his family when they caught some evidence of his passion for his business-and the futility of his silence, of his hope that they would not think Rearden Steel meant as much to him as it did-like a drunkard pretending indifference to liquor, among people who watch him with the scornful amusement of their full knowledge of his...
    1.6 Part 1 Chapter 6 — The Non-Commercial (5% in)
  • His hands spread and dropped in a gesture of futility.
    1.7 Part 1 Chapter 7 — The Exploiters and the Exploited (39% in)
  • Futility?
    1.7 Part 1 Chapter 7 — The Exploiters and the Exploited (63% in)
  • She saw him and said dryly, guiltily, in apology, "I'm sorry, Mr. Rearden," not attempting the futile pretense of hiding her face.
    1.7 Part 1 Chapter 7 — The Exploiters and the Exploited (94% in)
  • So you tell people that science is a futile fraud which ought to be abolished!
    2.1 Part 2 Chapter 1 — The Man Who Belonged on Earth (20% in)
  • She knew that questions were futile and that there was nothing she could say to him.
    2.3 Part 2 Chapter 3 — White Blackmail (63% in)
  • Yesterday, Dagny had told him the story of her futile attempt and given him Danagger's message.
    2.3 Part 2 Chapter 3 — White Blackmail (66% in)
  • Don't you think that your attitude is perfectly futile?
    2.4 Part 2 Chapter 4 — The Sanction of the Victim (5% in)
  • We must all pull together as a team to carry our railroad through this desperate emergency," A gray-haired man of patrician bearing, who had remained silent throughout the session, with a look of the quietly bitter knowledge that the entire performance was futile, glanced at Dagny in a way which would have been sympathy had he still felt a remnant of hope.
    2.5 Part 2 Chapter 5 — Account Overdrawn (33% in)
  • "Miss Taggart," said the chairman severely, "don't you think that I told-you-so's are futile?
    2.5 Part 2 Chapter 5 — Account Overdrawn (42% in)
  • Dagny found herself pushing people out of the way, fighting to reach the end of the train-but an emaciated man, with the staring eyes of years of malicious futility, rushed at her, shouting, "It's all right for you, you've got a good overcoat and a private car, but you won't give us any trains, you and all the selfish-"
    2.5 Part 2 Chapter 5 — Account Overdrawn (69% in)
  • She sat gracefully not quite straight, as if she were leaning back, enjoying the futility of his performance and the fact that he had to stage it for her benefit.
    2.5 Part 2 Chapter 5 — Account Overdrawn (72% in)
  • Feeling nothing but the emptiness of wonder, he observed the thing which he had glimpsed briefly in the past and was now seeing in the full ugliness of its futility: the spectacle of pleas for pity delivered, in snarling hatred, as threats and as demands.
    2.5 Part 2 Chapter 5 — Account Overdrawn (93% in)
  • The lighted lamp on the desk looked futile in the glow of the morning, over the piles of paper which were her cheerless, unfinished task.
    2.6 Part 2 Chapter 6 — Miracle Metal (52% in)
  • At seventy, he was an obese old man with retouched hair and a manner of scornful cynicism retouched by quotations from the yogis about the futility of all human endeavor.
    2.7 Part 2 Chapter 7 — The Moratorium on Brains (48% in)
  • He stumbled through the darkness, bumping into half-clothed figures that waved the futile little flares of matches.
    2.7 Part 2 Chapter 7 — The Moratorium on Brains (53% in)
  • The man in Bedroom A, Car No. 1, was a professor of sociology who taught that individual ability is of no consequence, that individual effort is futile, that an individual conscience is a useless luxury, that there is no individual mind or character or achievement, that everything is achieved collectively, and that it's masses that count, not men.
    2.7 Part 2 Chapter 7 — The Moratorium on Brains (95% in)
  • But the only sound to give her a futile start of hope at times, was the sudden crackle of some large bird's wings hurtling through the branches into the sky.
    2.8 Part 2 Chapter 8 — By Our Love (18% in)
  • It was an involuntary cry and it sounded futile, with its passionate sincerity offered-to be rejected-as its only proof.
    2.9 Part 2 Chapter 9 — The Face Without Pain or Fear or Guilt (28% in)
  • She waited, and he heard, in the silence, the futile clicking of the unanswered call.
    2.9 Part 2 Chapter 9 — The Face Without Pain or Fear or Guilt (65% in)
  • They knocked in an even rhythm, every fourth knock accented-and it seemed to her that through the rapid, running clatter of some futile stampede to escape, the beat of the accented knocks was like the steps of an enemy moving toward some inexorable purpose.
    2.10 Part 2 Chapter 10 — The Sign of the Dollar (1% in)
  • That which others claimed to feel at the sight of the stars-stars safely distant by millions of years and thus imposing no obligation to act, but serving as the tinsel of futility-she had felt at the sight of electric bulbs lighting the streets of a town.
    2.10 Part 2 Chapter 10 — The Sign of the Dollar (86% in)
  • "Oh no ...." she whispered, knowing that the gratitude was hers and that it was futile to express it.
    3.2 Part 3 Chapter 2 — The Utopia of Greed (46% in)
  • He told me their story as a justification for his belief in the futility of human intelligence.
    3.2 Part 3 Chapter 2 — The Utopia of Greed (61% in)
  • Robert Stadler now believes that intelligence is futile and that human life can be nothing but irrational.
    3.2 Part 3 Chapter 2 — The Utopia of Greed (62% in)
  • I want you to observe, Miss Taggart, that those who cry the loudest about their disillusionment, about the failure of virtue, the futility of reason, the impotence of logicare those who have achieved the full, exact, logical result of the ideas they preached, so mercilessly logical that they dare not identify it.
    3.2 Part 3 Chapter 2 — The Utopia of Greed (62% in)
  • ...to fake, since her will to self-deceit was the essential required for Galt's self-sacrifice, then living out her years in hopeless longing, accepting, as relief for an unhealing wound, some moments of weary affection, plus the tenet that love is futile and happiness is not to be found on earth-Francisco, struggling in the elusive fog of a counterfeit reality, his life a fraud staged by the two who were dearest to him and most trusted, struggling to grasp what was missing from his...
    3.2 Part 3 Chapter 2 — The Utopia of Greed (73% in)
  • She smiled faintly, thinking that she had now experienced it in both roles and knew that no action could be lower or more futile than for one person to throw upon another the burden of his abdication of choice.
    3.2 Part 3 Chapter 2 — The Utopia of Greed (81% in)
  • She had lost the habit of observing despair as the normal and dominant aspect of human existence, so normal as to become unnoticed-and the sight of it struck her in all of its senseless futility.
    3.3 Part 3 Chapter 3 — Anti-Greed (35% in)
  • She marveled at the futility of his method: he was acting as if, by naming her opinion in advance, he would make her unable to alter it.
    3.3 Part 3 Chapter 3 — Anti-Greed (51% in)
  • And suddenly, broken by the whole of this day and of that month, she was sobbing in his arms, slumped against him, sobbing as she had never done in her life, as a woman, in surrender to pain and in a last, futile protest against it.
    3.3 Part 3 Chapter 3 — Anti-Greed (83% in)
  • Were I to surrender to pain and give up in futile regret that my own error has wrecked my past-that would be the act of final treason, the ultimate failure toward that truth I regret having failed.
    3.3 Part 3 Chapter 3 — Anti-Greed (94% in)
  • ...his friends attended, of the novels they read, of the political magazines they discussed-the art shows, where she saw the kind of drawings she had seen chalked on any pavement of her childhood's slums-the novels, that purported to prove the futility of science, industry, civilization and love, using language that her father would not have used in his drunkenest moments-the magazines, that propounded cowardly generalities, less clear and more stale than the sermons for which she had...
    3.4 Part 3 Chapter 4 — Anti-Life (26% in)
  • These were not words in her mind, these were the words which would have named, had she had the power to find them, what she knew only as a sudden fury that made her beat her fists in futile horror against the iron post of the traffic light beside her, against the hollow tube where the hoarse, rusty chuckle of a relentless mechanism went grating on and on.
    3.4 Part 3 Chapter 4 — Anti-Life (97% in)
  • ...dog she had heard about, she thought .... somebody's dog in somebody's laboratory .... the dog who got his signals switched on him, and saw no way to tell satisfaction from torture, saw food changed to beatings and beatings to food, saw his eyes and ears deceiving him and his judgment futile and his consciousness impotent in a shifting, swimming, shapeless world-and gave up, refusing to eat at that price or to live in a world of that kind...... No! was the only conscious word in her brain-no!
    3.4 Part 3 Chapter 4 — Anti-Life (98% in)
  • He dropped his hand in a gesture of futility.
    3.5 Part 3 Chapter 5 — Their Brothers' Keepers (29% in)
  • They had known what to fear; they had grasped and named, before he had, the only way of deliverance left open to him; they had understood the hopelessness of his industrial position, the futility of his struggle, the impossible burdens descending to crush him; they had known that in reason, in justice, in self-preservation, his only course was to drop it all and run-yet they wanted to hold him, to keep him in the sacrificial furnace, to make him let them devour the last of him in the...
    3.6 Part 3 Chapter 6 — The Concerto of Deliverance (28% in)
  • He felt as if he were seeing them from the rear window of a speeding express, as if they stood on the track behind him, waving their arms in futile gestures and screaming indistinguishable sounds, their figures growing smaller in the distance, their voices fading.
    3.6 Part 3 Chapter 6 — The Concerto of Deliverance (66% in)
  • He thought of all the living species that train their young in the art of survival, the cats who teach their kittens to hunt, the birds who spend such strident effort on teaching their fledglings to fly-yet man, whose tool of survival is the mind, does not merely fail to teach futile and evil, before he has started to think.
    3.6 Part 3 Chapter 6 — The Concerto of Deliverance (87% in)
  • Nebraska, in Oregon, in Texas, in Montana-the futile, doomed outbreaks, prompted by nothing but despair, ending in nothing but destruction.
    3.7 Part 3 Chapter 7 — "This is John Galt Speaking" (5% in)
  • Why do you now moan complaints about man's impotence and the futility of human aspirations?
    3.7 Part 3 Chapter 7 — "This is John Galt Speaking" (48% in)
  • But not knowing any values of their own, they abandon the quest to know-in the darkness of their hopeless indignation, which is righteous without knowledge of the right, and passionate without knowledge of desire, they concede to you the power of reality and surrender the incentives of their mind-and they perish in bitter futility, as rebels who never learned the object of their rebellion, as lovers who never discovered their love.
    3.7 Part 3 Chapter 7 — "This is John Galt Speaking" (73% in)
  • Arrests were futile, the jails were full, the arresting officers winked at their prisoners and let them escape on then— way to prisonmen were going through the motions prescribed for the moment, with no thought of the moment to follow.
    3.8 Part 3 Chapter 8 — The Egoist (22% in)
  • Don't you know how futile it is, the mind, against those mindless hordes?
    3.8 Part 3 Chapter 8 — The Egoist (85% in)
  • ...of gas, while he snatched random hours of restless sleep, in obscure motels, under assumed names...... I'm Robert Stadler-he had thought, his mind repeating it as a formula of omnipotence...... To seize control-he had thought, speeding against the futile traffic lights of half-abandoned towns-speeding on the vibrating steel of the Taggart Bridge across the Mississippispeeding past the occasional ruins of farms in the empty stretches of Iowa...... I'll show them-he had thought-let them pursue, they...
    3.9 Part 3 Chapter 9 — The Generator (9% in)
  • He waved his arms in some shapeless gesture of futility or farewell, and ran out of the room, "He has a hide-out all stocked for himself in Tennessee," said Tinky Holloway reflectively, as if he, too, had taken a similar precaution and were now wondering whether the time had come.
    3.9 Part 3 Chapter 9 — The Generator (38% in)
  • He was jerking at futile levers and at a throttle that had nothing to move...... Dagny!
    3.10 Part 3 Chapter 10 — In the Name of the Best Among Us (88% in)

There are no more uses of "futile" in Atlas Shrugged.

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