Many people have asked me how I feel about the fact that The Fountainhead has been in print for twenty-five years. I cannot say that I feel anything in particular. For further information on Ayn Rand and The Fountainhead, check out the CliffsNotes Resource Center. CliffsNotes provides the following icons to highlight . The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. Penguin, Xiii, pages. Reviewed by David W. Gill aracer.mobi I am not drawn to reading novels but when I.
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The rest are no concern of mine; it is not me or The Fountainhead that they will betray: it is their own souls. AYN RAND New York, May CONTENTS PART . By DR. MICHAEL S. BERLINER, Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute The Fountainhead, published in , was Ayn Rand's first great success. Yet apart from the man- sought, is not to be found, and perhaps, also, is not to -- AYN RAND March 10, Part One: PETER KEATING 1.
What is your opinion about the value of the individual? When should society be more important? Give examples for each part of your opinion from personal experience. It also asserts that Howard Roark was alone in his fight against the world, which sought to bring him down to its own level of mediocrity. It gives clues as to the tragic fight that Roark will have to endure if he is going to maintain his intellectual and aesthetic purity. Another common feature of a dust jacket is selections from positive reviews of the book.
Imagine that someone is going to write your biography; compose the blurb that would appear on the dust jacket. What novel or play might your life resemble? Of course, much of the information would have to be made up, so allow your imagination free rein. Instead of making up a few quotes about your book, write a positive, three-line review of the story of your life.
The Fountainhead 5. This opposition is the source of much con- flict, and it is this conflict that moves the plot along. In your own life, what invisible antagonists do you face?
What are the pressures that you face from day to day? Examples might be time con- straints, peer pressure, body weight, procrastination, bad habits, fear of failure, or family strife, among others. If you could face one of your invisible antagonists, what would you say? Write a conversation that the two of you might have. The novel opens with the young architect Howard Roark, standing naked at the edge of a cliff made of granite. He has just been kicked out of his architecture school because of the individualism with which he approach- es his craft.
He offers Roark readmission to the school, once Roark matures and can accept direction from others about his design work. How do you think Roark reacts internally to this meeting? How would you have reacted? Write a letter from Roark to one of his friends, detailing both his response to the dean and his feelings about the confrontation. When prized students at academic institutions are expelled, there is gener- ally a strong response from the student body. While some may favor the expulsion of the student, depending on the particular offense, the more common and usually more vociferous response comes from the support- ers of academic freedom.
Write an editorial that would appear in the campus newspaper at the Stanton Institute of Technology, concerning the expulsion of Howard Roark. You may choose to support or argue against the expulsion, but be sure to give valid reasons that support your opinion. The Fountainhead 8. Dominique writes a column devoted to design and interior decorating in The New York Banner, a daily newspaper owned by the powerful publisher, Gail Wynand.
Dominique is a passionate idealist who recognizes and reveres the human potential for greatness. But finding little of it in the world— indeed, finding everywhere the triumph of vulgar mediocrity—she Introduction to the Novel 13 becomes disillusioned. Dominique believes that true nobility has no chance to succeed in a world dominated by the mindless and the corrupt.
She recognizes and loathes the unscrupulous pandering engaged in by Keating and her father—and states her convictions openly. But Keating, smitten with the way in which her beauty and elegance impress other people, proposes marriage. Though not adept at design, Keating knows someone who is: Howard Roark, whose love of buildings is so great that he cannot refuse any opportunity to improve one.
Roark helps Keating in his design work. Roark designs a brilliant and simple plan for his building, to which Keating adds his customary ostentatious ornamentation. Keating believes his eclectic hodgepodge of conflicting styles has no chance to win; he must get the partnership now, while Francon still trusts him. He berates Heyer, screaming at the old man to retire, causing the stroke the doctors had feared. Heyer dies, having left the charming Keating his money. Keating wins the Cosmo-Slotnick competition.
Francon makes him partner. For a long period of time, Roark cannot find employment with any architect. Eventually, he is hired by John Erik Snyte, an eclectic builder who is not wedded to any specific school of design. Snyte is content to give the public whatever it desires. He employs specialists in various schools of design—Classical, Gothic, Renaissance—and wants Roark to be his modernist.
Snyte allows his designers freedom to design in their specialties, but then combines their ideas into one finished product of clashing principles. Roark opens his own office, but his designs are too revolutionary, and he receives very few commissions. When Roark turns down the commission for the important Manhattan Bank Building rather than permit the adulteration of his design, he is destitute.
He closes his office temporarily and goes to work in a granite quarry in Connecticut. The quarry is owned by Guy Francon. That summer, Dominique vacations at the family estate bordering the property.
Upon meeting Roark, Dominique notices immediately the taut lines of his body and the scornful look of his eyes. Though at a conscious level, Dominique believes he may be an ex-convict like others of the work gang, at some deeper level she knows better. The way he holds himself and moves, his posture and mannerisms, his countenance and the look in his eyes all convey a proud dignity that would not stoop to the commission of crimes. She is deeply drawn to him and initiates a pursuit that results in their passionate lovemaking.
But despite her profound attraction and aggressive pursuit, she is afraid of a love relationship with him. She ardently desires their sexual relationship, but almost as intensely fears it. Roark leaves the quarry and returns to New York. Even then, he finds himself thinking of Dominique. The construction of the Enright House brings Roark recognition and further commissions. Anthony Cord, a successful Wall Street businessman, hires him to build his first office building, a fifty-story skyscraper in the center of Manhattan.
Kent Lansing, a member of the board formed to build a luxury hotel on Central Park South, wants Roark and fights for him. Eventually, he wins, and Roark signs a contract to build the Aquitania Hotel.
Although construction of the Aquitania is eventually stopped due to legal wrangles, Kent Lansing vows to win control of the project and complete it. Toohey, who seeks power over the architectural profession, attempts to end the career of this individualist who will not obey.
He influences a wealthy lackey, Hopton Stoddard, to hire Roark to build a temple. Because Roark is an atheist, Toohey coaches Stoddard regarding the best means to approach Roark to build a religious structure. Roark— in your own way. I can see that in your buildings. He designs a masterpiece for the Stoddard Temple, as Toohey knew he would.
He hires Steven Mallory to do the sculpture for the Temple. Mallory is a brilliant young talent, who sculpts in the Classic Greek style, emphasizing the nobility and grandeur of man.
His relationship with Roark, however, inspires him. After his work on the Stoddard Temple, although still suffering from moments of despair, Mallory never again reaches the depths of torment he is in when Roark meets him. But Toohey, as was his plan, manipulates both Stoddard and the public.
The Stoddard Temple is torn down, and Roark is condemned as an apostate. Dominique, in agony at the attack on the hero she loves, marries Keating—the most despicable individual she can find—in an attempt to kill off in herself that greatness of soul that enables her to love only man at his highest and best. It convinces her that she was right in wanting to avoid entanglement in a romantic relationship with Roark.
His creative work and uncompromising character have no chance in a world that merely follows the beliefs it has been taught. He will be destroyed, just as Cameron was. This was, and remains, her deepest belief.
Given her values, Dominique must love Roark and everything about the human potential that he represents. She loves man the noble hero. Therefore, the only choice, as Dominique sees it, is to kill off in herself her capacity for hero worship. In so doing, she can escape her agony when presented with the destruction of greatness. The love of virtue and beauty, she hopes, cannot survive absorption into a life filled with corruption and ugliness.
With full conscious intent, she marries Peter Keating. Keating and Dominique are married for twenty months. The powerful Wynand is a man of mixed premises. Like Dominique, he worships man the noble hero, but, unlike her, he has sold his soul, publishing The Banner, a yellow-press scandal sheet, gaining him wealth and influence. But on her way to Reno to obtain the divorce, Dominique stops in the small town of Clayton, Ohio, where Roark is building a small department store. She has not seen him since her marriage to Keating.
Roark notices from her questions that she is still concerned with other people and their ability to hurt—or even observe—him.
She tells him that she wishes to remain with him in this small town.
She says they can marry, that she will wash his clothes and cook his meals, and that he will give up architecture and work in a store. Out of consideration for her, he tries not to laugh. He tells her if he were cruel, he would accept her offer just to see how long it would take her to beg him to return to architecture.
She understands. Roark knows that Dominique is not ready to stay with him.
She boards the train for Reno and, after her divorce, marries Gail Wynand. Holding the same basic premises as Dominique, it is logical that he loves her. He becomes fanatically jealous of sharing Dominique with others. Wynand wishes to build a home in the country as an isolated fortress, so he will not have to see Dominique among the people of the city. So Wynand hires Roark to build his home.
Roark receives more commissions and becomes better known. One of the more prominent commissions he receives prior to his relationship with Wynand is for the Monadnock Valley Resort. The owners of the resort conceive it as a swindle. They sell two hundred percent of it.
They are certain it will fail. They want it to fail. They choose Roark as the worst architect they can find. They hire him because of it. People come, and the resort is successful. The owners are arrested for fraud, but Roark is not involved in the legal case. The simple fact, however, that Roark made money for people who did not want to make money impresses businessmen, and Roark receives commissions.
Keating knows he cannot solve the problems of design, and does not attempt to.
Instead, he brings the specifications to Roark. Keating requests that Roark design it and allow Keating to take the credit for it. Roark knows that he can do it and is eager to. He also knows that he could never get approved by Toohey, who is the behind-the-scenes power on the project. Roark agrees only on the condition that the buildings be erected exactly as he designs them; Keating agrees.
Keating will receive the recognition, the money, and whatever other benefits society may confer on a man—but Roark will build Cortlandt. Roark designs a masterpiece, Keating submits it as his, and Toohey accepts it.
When Roark returns, he dynamites the defaced masterpiece and allows himself to be arrested. Whereas years earlier, she had been afraid that society would reject him, now she is not afraid to help Roark in an act for which society may imprison him.
Roark knows that Dominique is now ready for their relationship. Believing that his papers mold public opinion, Wynand defends Roark vociferously in The Banner. When Wynand is out of town in a desperate attempt to save an advertising contract, Toohey strikes. Toohey, who writes a column for The Banner, has schemed for years to take over the paper. Gradually, he has maneuvered his followers into key editorial positions, and they all come out against Roark.
When Wynand fires them, the union, controlled by Toohey, goes on strike. To save the paper, Wynand is forced to reverse his stand on the Cortlandt dynamiting. At his trial, Roark defends the right of the creator to the product of his effort. Roark points out that it was he who designed Cortlandt and that he was not paid for his work. The only price—that it be erected as designed—was not paid. He points out that, down through the ages, creative men have often developed beneficial new ideas and products, only to be rejected by their societies.
Despite social opposition, the creators move ahead, carrying the rest of mankind with them. Cortlandt Homes is the product of his mind; it is his creation and belongs to him.
If society wants it—as it does—justice requires that his asking price be paid. It must be built as he designed it. The jury understands his position and votes to acquit him. Roger Enright downloads Cortlandt Homes from the government and hires Roark to build it; Wynand, as long planned, hires Roark to build the Wynand Building, the tallest skyscraper in the city.
Roark has achieved commercial success on his own terms. Roark sees his ideas finally winning in the field of architecture. After decades of the battle that he and Cameron fought, their new methods are ultimately gaining recognition. Dominique, seeing that she was mistaken in believing that a genius like Roark has no chance in a corrupt world, is liberated from her fears and is finally free to marry him. Wynand is psychologically and morally crushed by the realization that success did not require him to sell his soul to the masses, that his professional life was founded on a lie.
When Toohey emerges victorious from the strike, prepared to dictate editorial policy on The Banner, Wynand shuts down the paper rather than allow Toohey to control it. Keating, who once enjoyed acclaim, now finds that his career in architecture is finished. He is a rotted-out shell of a man. List of Characters Howard Roark The hero of the story. His independent functioning serves as a standard by which to judge the other characters—either they are like Roark or they allow others, in one form or another, to control their lives.
Roark is the embodiment of the great innovative thinkers who have carried mankind forward but are often opposed by their societies. He is an aged, bitter curmudgeon—and a commercial failure—but he is the greatest architect of his day.
He is an early modernist, one of the first to design skyscrapers and a man of unbending integrity. Roark admires Cameron as he does no one else in the novel. His life exemplifies the fate of many innovators who have discovered new knowledge or invented a revolutionary product, only to be repudiated by society. Dominique Francon An impassioned idealist who loves only man the hero. Dominique, though a brilliant woman, holds a pessimistic philosophy throughout much of the novel that prevents her from fulfilling her vast potential.
A phony architect, who achieves commercial success by two means: His great financial success despite his unprincipled methods provides some of the evidence on which Dominique originally bases her conclusion that the world is essentially corrupt. He lacks the backbone to ever stand alone, and spends his life forever seeking the approval of others. He even codifies his toadying attitude into a formal principle: She seeks respectability above all. She teaches her son to put the values of others before his own.
By encouraging her son to surrender his mind to others, she is indirectly responsible for causing his ultimate self-destruction. Ellsworth Toohey Architectural critic and spiritual power broker. Toohey is simultaneously a cult leader acquiring a private army of slavish followers and a Marxist intellectual preaching socialism to the masses. The villain of the novel, Toohey represents collectivism in its most undiluted form. Catherine is an honest girl of only modest intellect and ambition, but she loves Peter sincerely.
Gail Wynand Powerful publisher of vulgar tabloids. Wynand combines a mixture of independent and dependent methods of functioning. In his personal life, he lives by his own judgment, but he panders shamelessly to the masses in his career. Though loyal to Wynand, his abject conformity makes him easy prey for Toohey. He embodies the trite conventionality of popular culture. Introduction to the Novel 21 Austen Heller Newspaper columnist who defends the rights of the individual.
That he gives money generously to help political prisoners around the globe shows his respect for the independent mind. He gives Roark his first commission by hiring him to build a private home, then remains a trusted friend.
Steven Mallory Sculptor of significant ability, who portrays man the exalted hero in his figures. Mike Donnigan Construction worker. He knows construction, scorns social opinion, and goes by his own judgment. Roger Enright Innovative businessman.
He conceives a new idea for an apartment building—the Enright House—and hires Roark to build it. Lansing is an example, as is Roark on a larger scale, of the unswerving dedication that an innovative thinker must possess if he is to reach his goals against a society opposed to change. The Dean of Stanton Institute A traditionalist in architecture. His commitment to the established rules of design and unwillingness to consider new ideas make him the first of the many conformists with whom Roark comes into conflict.
Holcolmbe believes Renaissance is the only appropriate style of building for the modern world. He embodies a different type of conformity than Francon, who adheres to the Classical school of design.
Both he and Francon are rigid dogmatists unwilling to consider the new ideas of modern architecture. John Erik Snyte An eclectic in the field of architecture.
Snyte refuses to cling slavishly to one school of design; instead, he combines clashing styles into a hodgepodge of contradictory elements. As a man willing to give the public anything it wants, no matter how vulgar or inane, Snyte represents conformity in yet another form.
Gordon L. Prescott A phony architect who seeks to impress people by spouting the terminology of Hegelian dialectic. He is not concerned with building effectively, but merely with winning adulation from a gaping public.
Lois Cook Another mindless rebel and follower of Toohey. She is an avant-garde writer who dispenses with coherent sentence structure. She and Gus Webb, in blindly rebelling against the values of society, are as controlled by other people as is an abject conformist like Keating.
Introduction to the Novel 23 Character Map Dominique Francon an impassioned idealist; loves only man the hero; Roark's greatest admirer r to e ath Gail Wynand Guy Francon publisher of vulgar tabloids; lives by his own judgment in his personal life, but panders to the masses in his career lovers works for phony architect; achieves commercial success by copying great Classical designers and by wining and dining prospective clients with wit and charm Peter Keating Henry Cameron arried gaged s ate or nt to be m sm las to rc Howard Roark the novel's hero; his stuggle to succeed as an architect on his own terms forms the essence of the novel's conflict tri es in lo e en ve, onc mother to a great architect rejected for his innovative genius; a bitter and angry old man me for friends the opposite of Roark; forever seeks the approval of others me f br ma iefly rrie d Mrs.
Part One: Roark, however, is a modernist designer and a man who thinks for himself. Even though he recognizes that the career path ahead of him will be arduous, he laughs at his expulsion from school. People notice Howard Roark when he walks on the streets; he notices no one. In fact, he often arouses resentment in strangers, who somehow cannot explain what they feel when they see Roark.
But Roark could walk the streets naked without concern; he has no regard for the evaluations of others. Roark boards at the home of Mrs. Keating, whose son, Peter, graduates from Stanton with high honors on the same day that Roark is expelled.
Keating is handsome, charming, and glib. Keating is utterly dependent on others, and he is faced with a difficult decision. He has won a scholarship to the prestigious Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Because either option will greatly impress people, he has no basis upon which to choose. He comes to Roark with the dilemma. Although he would never state it publicly, Keating realizes that Roark understands more of importance about architecture than do his professors, and that Roark loves the subject in a way that his professors do not.
Roark tells him that he has made a mistake, that he should not look to others for guidance regarding the decisions of his own life. He tells Keating that an individual must know what he wants in life.
Their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of Mrs. Keating, who makes it clear that she does not want her son in Paris, an ocean away. The decision is made for him: He will go to New York to work for Francon and Heyer. Roark and Keating pursue separate careers in architecture in New York City.
Keating works for Guy Francon, a mediocre architect but a man who is possessed of all the social graces. Francon knows little about building, but a great deal about matching his ties with his handkerchiefs and his wines with his foods. He does not gain clients by the brilliance of his designs, but by the phony warmth of his smile.
From Francon, Keating learns how to impress others, not how to build. Keating has a girlfriend named Catherine Halsey, whom he met a year before in Boston, where she lived with her mother. Even though he forgets to call her for weeks at a time, Katie waits patiently for his attention.
In the time since Keating met Katie, her mother has passed away and she now lives with her uncle in New York. Despite her proximity, he visits her only infrequently. But when he does, her sincerity compels him into an honesty that he exhibits nowhere else. When he finds that her uncle is Ellsworth Toohey, the rising star of architectural criticism, he tells her that, though he badly wants to meet Toohey, he will not do it through her.
He makes an exception to his normal pattern of behavior when he is with Katie. Keating is concerned that her uncle is acquiring too much control over her life.
Critical Commentaries: Because Cameron is one of the first to design skyscrapers, his buildings are revolutionary. He is ahead of his time, and his designs are rejected by the public. Now sixty-nine, Cameron is a commercial failure and a bitter alcoholic, but also a genius and a man of great artistic integrity.
Roark learns from Cameron the one thing of value: Cameron is an important secondary character in the story. In the s, he was the most successful architect in the country, personally designing every structure that came from his office, and building as he pleased. Clients took what he gave them without complaint. His buildings were different, but this difference was not enough to frighten anybody. Other architects, in deference to tradition, attempted every visual trick to make their buildings look small and conventional.
The Exposition was a glorification of Classical architecture. Its designers copied every style of the Greeks and Romans, and all subsequent schools of history, eschewing all originality. The American public gaped at the Exposition and, in its architectural ignorance, was impressed. Cameron refused to work for such an undertaking and called it names that were unprintable. When potential clients came to him with requests for banks or office buildings designed as copies of Classical structures, he became enraged; and even went so far as to throw an inkstand at a distinguished banker who had asked for a railroad station in the form of the temple of Diana at Ephesus.
By the time Roark meets him thirty years later, Cameron is an embittered, hard-drinking, commercial failure. Roark learns from Cameron the means to develop his brilliant architectural ability. Keating, on the other hand, learns from Francon how to polish his method of pandering to others. Heyer has suffered a stroke and the doctors fear for his life. But his partnership in the firm gives his life meaning, and he stubbornly refuses to retire. Keating has reasons to want Heyer out of his way immediately.
Francon believes in Keating and is confident that he will win the Cosmo-Slotnick competition. Keating, therefore, looks for a weapon he can use against Heyer. In private, he berates Heyer, verbally abusing him and demanding that he retire. The senile Heyer is puzzled and frightened that this friendly young man is screaming at him.
The strain for Heyer is too much. He suffers the second stroke the doctors had feared and dies immediately. He also receives a large inheritance from Heyer, who had no family.
He is, by conventional standards, an extremely successful man. A minor draftsman at the outset of his employment, his focus is not to improve his skills and rise through merit, but to exploit the weaknesses of his fellow employees and thereby remove them from his path.
When Davis, who is apartment-hunting and planning his wedding, must be absent from work, Keating volunteers his assistance. Over time, this becomes a permanent arrangement.
Stengel is ready to go out on his own and start his own firm; he just needs someone to give him his first commission.
Keating understands the situation. By now, he has proven to be an apt pupil of Francon, charming prospective clients with suave urbanity. Francon puts him in charge of a potential account, expecting that Keating will deliver it to the firm. Instead, Keating surreptitiously convinces the client to hire Stengel.
At this point, Keating has created a problem for himself. Up until now his work has been limited to drafting—a sophisticated form of copying—of which he is eminently capable. But now he must design, producing creative work. At this, he is a failure. But Keating knows someone who is a superb designer. He brings the specifications for his first building to Roark, who helped him similarly with his college projects.
This arrangement establishes a pattern in the professional relationship of the two men: Roark often assists Keating with problems of design. Roark, by contrast, struggles. Cameron does not have the money to pay either rent or salaries, but Roark remains. Their one hope is the potential commission for the Securities Trust Company building.
Cameron and Roark work night after night, with a pot of black coffee to keep them awake. On the last day of their vigil, Cameron is on the verge of collapse. Roark orders him home after midnight. The next day, when Cameron enters the office, he finds Roark fast asleep on the floor. The drawings, finished, are on the table.
But the board of directors awards the commission to another firm of Gould and Pettingill. Cameron is left with a check that does not cover the cost of preparing his drawings and an electric bill that he cannot pay. Eventually, Cameron loses the shame of his drunkenness and staggers into his office, openly drunk in the one place on earth he had always revered. But, still, Cameron and Roark fight on; they keep the office open though the commissions are merely drops from a pipe that is slowly running dry.
They take what they can get—country cottages, garages, remodeling of old buildings. But then the flow stops completely. When Cameron finally collapses, Roark takes him home.
The doctor he summons tells them that an attempt to leave his bed will be enough to kill Cameron. Roark closes the office, and Cameron goes to live with an elderly sister in New Jersey.
There are few opportunities for an architect with radically new ideas. Finally, Roark gets a job with the architect, John Erik Snyte, who employs an unusual method of design. Snyte is an eclectic, who hires specialists in several historical styles; he has a Renaissance designer and a Gothic specialist, among others.
He hires Roark to be his Modernist. Snyte permits each of his men to design in their own style, then melds the plans together into a final product. Therefore, Roark has the freedom to design as he likes, but his buildings will not be erected as he designs them.
When the newspaper columnist, Austen Heller, comes to Snyte, desiring to build a private home, life changes for Roark. Peter Keating 31 Heller is an individualist who refuses to contribute to charity but who spends generous sums to help free political prisoners around the globe. He repudiates the clashing hodgepodge that Snyte offers, but recognizes great potential in the drawing. When Roark presents his original plan, Heller immediately responds and hires him on the spot. Roark builds the Heller house in Connecticut, his first commission in private practice; he opens his own office.
Most men choose the safe and the known, that with which they have been surrounded all their lives. Roark receives a mere three commissions after the Heller house. The first comes from Jimmy Gowan, an auto mechanic who, after fifteen years of hard work, is ready to go out on his own and open a service station. Gowan hires Roark to build his gas station. At the end of Part One, the difference in the respective fortunes of Keating and Roark is striking: Other plot elements are introduced in this section.
How will it look, Mrs. Keating asks Peter, if he prefers Katie to Dominique? It will insult Guy Francon and cost Peter a chance at the partnership. Additionally, Mrs. Keating stresses the importance of choosing the right wife for a successful career.
Because Katie is plain and dull, she impresses no one. Peter cannot rise into the rarified air of high society with a vulgar little guttersnipe for a wife. His success requires a high-class woman at his side.
In keeping with the wishes of both his mother and his boss, and despite his love for Katie, Peter proposes marriage to Dominique Francon. Dominique is beautiful, elegant, and haughty—everything Katie is not. A brilliant, free-spirited, outspoken woman, Dominique sees with her own eyes and understands with her own mind.
She recognizes that Keating is a manipulative fraud and says so to his face. She responds to his proposal with the remark that if she ever wishes to punish herself for some terrible misdeed, she will marry Keating.
The Banner is a lowbrow, yellow-press tabloid, specializing in a combination of lurid and overly-sentimental stories aimed at those with the most vulgar tastes. The paper is owned by Gail Wynand, a brilliant man of consummate artistic judgment, but one who panders ceaselessly to the lowest tastes of the crowd in order to gain wealth and political influence.
Henry Cameron, on his deathbed, warns Roark of the dangers represented by the Wynand papers and by the factors in human nature that make them possible. As the conflict develops, the meeting of the characters occurs in subsequent chapters. Commentary The conflict of The Fountainhead is presented immediately. The Dean of Stanton Institute believes that all great architecture has been done already by the masters of the past.
The rules of design come from them; all that modern architects can do is copy. The Dean believes that truth is found in the beliefs of others and that an individual should follow the established route rather than forge a new path. The Dean is a conformist. Peter Keating is a conformist even more fully than the Dean.
He, too, copies from past architects. In addition, Keating grovels before all superiors, agreeing with them in order to win approval. He even chose architecture rather than the field he loves—painting—only to satisfy his mother.
Keating is a man who refuses to think for himself; he follows, he copies, he obeys. He is utterly dependent on others for his convictions.
He permits his life to be dominated by them. If one thinks, it is necessarily by and for oneself; there is no other way to do it. Roark believes that architecture is a creative field, that it is important to innovate, and that new ideas have far greater value than copies of old ones. His defense of the freethinking mind is eloquent and to the point: Why does it become sacred by the mere fact of not being your own? Why does the number of those others take the place of truth? Why is truth made a mere matter of arithmetic—and only of addition at that?
The essence of the book is the contrast and conflict between those who are independent and those who are dependent. The conflict between the dependent and the independent takes place in different forms. One such form is the struggle between an innovator and the entrenched beliefs of a conservative society.
Cameron and Roark have new ideas in architecture. They seek to build skyscrapers in an era when people have seen only two-story frame houses; they want to build with such new materials as glass, plastics, and light metals when people are accustomed only to wood and bricks.
The battle Cameron and Roark fight against a society committed to following tradition is similar to the real-life struggle of such innovative modern designers as Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright. History abounds with examples of great thinkers with brilliant new ideas who were opposed by the very societies that most benefited from them.
Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake and Galileo threatened with torture for defending the heliocentric worldview in opposition to the geocentric view held by the Catholic Church. Darwin was attacked by religious Fundamentalists for his theory of evolution, and Scopes was jailed in Tennessee for teaching it.
Inventors and discoverers of knowledge like Robert Fulton, Louis Pasteur, and the Wright brothers were denounced and their inventions rejected by many. Roark says, in his climactic courtroom address, that: The great creators—the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors—stood alone against the men of their time.
But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered, and they paid. But they won. The word fountainhead means original source, as in the fountainhead of a river. Expressed in one form, the theme of the book is that the independent, reasoning mind is the original source of all human progress and prosperity. It is only men with new ideas who discover a way to make weapons for hunting, who discover ways to grow crops and domesticate livestock, who build the first homes and cities.
It is not the social followers who cure lethal diseases; it is only men of independent judgment. One important way in which the theme of The Fountainhead is expressed involves a new understanding of the false alternative between conformity and nonconformity. A conformist is one who lives with blind acceptance of the convictions and values of others. The beliefs of other people serve as his standard of truth. The conformist permits the dominant beliefs of his family or society to control him, and he exists as a follower.
The conformist refuses to use his mind, abdicating the responsibility of thinking and uncritically acquiescing to the opinions of others. The Dean and Peter Keating are examples of conformity.
Guy Francon who adheres rigidly to the Classical style , Ralston Holcolmbe who copies Renaissance designs , and John Erik Snyte who panders to the public taste are also examples of conformists in The Fountainhead. Real life gives us a multitude of examples of conformists: All of these, Critical Commentaries: Peter Keating 35 and numerous others, are conformists. The form in each case is different, but the essence remains the same.
They all choose to follow others rather than be guided by their own judgment. A commonly held belief is that the antithesis of a conformist is a nonconformist, but this is not the case. A nonconformist, too, allows others to dominate his life; that dominance merely takes a different form. A nonconformist lives in rebellion against the convictions and values of others. His attitude is: The nonconformist, too, refuses to use his mind.
He also abdicates the responsibility of thinking; instead, he uncritically rebels against the opinions of others. For him, as well as for the conformist, truth is social: A good example of a nonconformist in The Fountainhead is Lois Cook, the avant-garde writer who rebels against the rules of grammar in her writing and against the rules of personal hygiene in her grooming. Real-life examples are those modern artists who rebel against beauty by deliberately making their works as ugly as possible, and the hippies of the s who lived in rebellious opposition to the values of their middle-class families.
A nonconformist is a variation on the same theme as the conformist: Both seek fundamentally to identify the beliefs of others—the conformist to obey, the nonconformist to rebel. Neither is concerned with living by the judgment of his own mind. But Howard Roark is neither a follower nor a rebel. He is an individualist, a man who relies on his own thinking to form his own conclusions. Such an independent person is not concerned with what others think—neither to obey nor to defy them; rather, he is concerned with what he thinks.
History abounds with innovators who are perfect examples: Copernicus, Columbus, Edison, and others were creative thinkers, discoverers of new knowledge, not men taking public opinion polls, concerned with ascertaining the beliefs of society and acting based on the results.
Conformists like Keating and nonconformists like Lois Cook are cognitive dependents, relying on others for their grasp of truth. Individualists like Roark are cognitively independent; instead of looking to society for truth, they look at the facts. Independent thinkers understand that truth is a relationship between an idea and reality, not a relationship between an idea and the number of its devotees. Millions of people, perhaps all of human society, once believed the earth is flat—but, as we know today, they were mistaken.
Truth is objective; it is not collective or inter-subjective. The conventional understanding that people are either conformists or nonconformists is inadequate. No two materials are alike. No two sites on earth are alike. No two buildings have the same purpose. The purpose, the site, the material determine the shape. Each material has a definite nature, a specific physical makeup that enables it to do certain things but prohibits it from doing others.
Wood, for example, is suitable for a single-story home or other types of small structures, but is inadequate for skyscrapers or suspension bridges. Steel and concrete, on the other hand, can be used for such purposes; their molecular structures are such that they can withstand the necessary stresses.
Such substances as steel, aluminum, plastics, and glass were unavailable to earlier architects and make possible new types of designs. What is the logic, Roark asks, of copying the limited forms that were appropriate to wood when the new substances make possible so much more?
An architect must know the facts of the area on which he builds. The consequence of not doing so is best exemplified by a New York neighborhood built on a filled-in swampland. The architects did not take into consideration the marshy nature of the terrain; their foundations were neither deep nor sufficiently strong; the result has been a gradual sinking into the ooze.
Today, the houses rest below the level of the street. This is an example of knowing the site. Copying designs of the past, Roark points out, does not address these issues. Roark argues that no two buildings share the same purpose. A hospital, for example, deals with life-and-death emergencies. It requires wider corridors than most buildings so that the gurneys bearing the severely ill do not get clogged in pedestrian traffic.
Again, the copying of prior designs would be inappropriate.
Integrity is to be true to oneself. A building must be a consistent whole, with every part designed to optimize its capacity to perform its function.
The independent thinker is like a scientist; he looks to nature, to the facts of reality, for truth. By contrast, a dependent person is like an unprincipled politician, looking to society, taking public opinion polls, in order to discover what he thinks is true.
The dependent man and the independent man have differing concepts of truth; so the independent man is enabled to create new knowledge, whereas the dependent man is limited to merely copying the beliefs of others. He knows the motivation of persons like himself; he does not understand men like the Dean. There was a principle which he must discover. But when he steps outside, he stops. He sees the sunlight on the gray limestone of a stringcourse running along the wall of the building: He thought only of how lovely the stone looked in the fragile light and of what he could have done with that stone.
He is not oriented toward society, toward men, or toward the beliefs of men. Though society and those who are a part of it are important—Roark must learn how to live with them—they fade to insignificance when he is faced with nature and her possibilities.
To build, to grow, to create require human beings to deal directly with the laws and facts of reality. The beliefs, opinions, and errors of society are an enormously secondary consideration. Glossary Here and in the following sections, difficult words and phrases, as well as allusions and historical references, are explained. An important feature of Gothic architecture, lending strength to the main structure. The Three Orders the schools of design in classical Greek architecture.
These are the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. The Doric was the most basic and least ornate, and was used by the Spartans. The Ionic consisted of higher and slenderer columns. The Corinthian was more ornate, more detail-oriented, and not as widely used as the other two.
Gothic a style of architecture dominant in western Europe from the mid-twelfth century to the early-sixteenth century. Part Two: Visiting the quarry, Dominique meets Roark. She comes to the quarry, where the workers engage in inhuman toil in the terrible heat. She wears a dress the color of water, a pale green-blue that flaunts the coolness of the gardens and drawing rooms from which she comes.
She stresses her beauty and her name to Roark, the red-headed worker who stares at her insolently. His look says that he not only has the right to stare at her with arrogance and unspoken intimacy, but that she has given him that right. Dominique is angry but terrified that she has no control over the feelings this nameless worker arouses in her. She returns repeatedly to the quarry. Roark, despite being tired from the unspeakably hard labor, is attracted to this haughty and beautiful young woman.
Dominique, attempting to break the power she feels Roark has over her, stays away from him. But the safety of her home lacks the tense excitement he gives her; she flails at the white marble fireplace in her bedroom with a hammer and succeeds in scratching it; then she demands that he fix it. Roark looks at it, realizes what she has done, and breaks it with one blow of his hammer.
He has it taken out and orders a new piece of marble from Alabama. She sends to the quarry for the redheaded worker to come and set it. But Roark sends another worker in his place, and Dominique is enraged. She crosses paths with him several days later while riding her horse. She lashes him across the face with her riding crop and rides away. She sits alone at her dressing table late at night. She presses her fingertips, wet with perfume, to her temples, seeking relief in the cold bite of the liquid on her skin.
She thinks she should try to sleep. Dominique does not hear the sounds of footsteps outside, even though the French windows of her bedroom are open to the garden. She hears the footsteps only as they rise up the stairs to her terrace. She looks at the French windows; Roark enters. Dominique resists him physically, but Roark refuses to relent.
Although her servants are nearby, she refuses to scream. Dominique feels that she must bathe. When she looks at herself in the bathroom mirror, she sees the purple bruises left on her body by his mouth and she moans: She knew that she wanted to keep the feel of his body, the traces of his body on hers, knowing also what such a desire implied.
Architecture is no longer the sole mistress of his soul. Roger Enright is a hard-bitten entrepreneur who began his working life as a coal miner in Pennsylvania.
A self-made man, no one had helped him on his way to becoming a millionaire. That, he says, is why no one ever stood in his way.
He never bought a share of stock or sold a share in any of his enterprises. Anthony Cord, a young Wall Street tycoon, hires him to design his first office building, a towering skyscraper in the heart of midtown Critical Commentaries: Ellsworth Toohey 41 Manhattan.
Also, Kent Lansing, a member of the board formed to build a luxury hotel on Central Park South, wants Roark to design the building. For various reasons, the board is skeptical. Most have never heard of Roark, some have personal connections to other architects, some are influenced by the opinions of family members or friends. Lansing fights indefatigably for Roark.
The other members of the board are against him, he tells Roark. But he has a huge advantage: He does. As the Enright House is built, Austen Heller seeks to take Roark to a social gathering of architects, critics, and potential clients.
He wants Roark to make contacts; specifically, he wants Roark to meet Joel Sutton, an admirer of Enright who considers hiring Roark. Heller tells Roark that he does not want to hear anything more about granite quarries for a long time. When Heller mentions that Dominique Francon will be there, Roark agrees to go. At the party, Dominique is stunned to discover that her workingman lover is the designer of the Enright House. He and Dominique engage in polite conversation, formally correct, giving no one a clue to their real relationship.
At the party, Joel Sutton expresses interest in hiring Roark for an office building, but he is disappointed that Roark does not play badminton, his hobby. Sutton likes Roark—he likes everybody— but he is easily influenced by others.
Dominique writes about the Enright House in her column. Most readers miss the extravagant praise she pours on the Enright House—as she intends. They recognize only that she attacks the building.
Joel Sutton, who respects her opinion, is disturbed by her criticism of the Enright House. After taking the commission away from Roark, she comes to his apartment that evening; they make love. Dominique works by day to take commissions away from Roark—and at night she makes love to him.
Dominique joins forces with Ellsworth Toohey in an anti-Roark alliance. They agree that both will work, each in their own way, to take commissions from Roark and bring them to Keating.
To this end, Dominique uses her grace, beauty, and connections to throw dinner parties to which she invites prospective clients, and at which she charms them into hiring Keating. Enright, who respects her, is angered by her comments regarding the Enright House.
He takes her to the construction site, and is not surprised by her ecstatic reaction to the building. So much better than to see it growing old and soot-stained, degraded by. There is not a person in New York City who should be allowed to live in this building.
Roark understands her methods, as does Toohey. Dominique stops mentioning Roark and his buildings in her column. Despite some successes, Toohey realizes that the anti-Roark campaign is failing. He convinces a follower, Hopton Stoddard, to hire Roark to build a temple. Mallory, like Roark, has a vision of man the noble hero, capable of greatness. Because of the startling originality of his work, Mallory, though young, has already faced rejection in favor of more conventional sculptors.
He is cynical and outraged at the injustices of society. He takes a shot at Ellsworth Toohey, because Critical Commentaries: Ellsworth Toohey 43 he believes that Toohey knows everything about the deeper causes of these injustices and supports them. When Roark meets him, he is drifting toward dissolution.
But Roark recognizes Mallory as both a great talent and a spiritual comrade. They understand that the building of the Temple to the Human Spirit is a sacred undertaking.
Toohey convinces Stoddard, who blindly follows him, to file a lawsuit against Roark. Though testifying for the plaintiff, Dominique makes clear her appraisal that Roark designed a masterpiece of which society is unworthy. The Temple should be torn down, she argues, in order to save it from society. Stoddard wins the case.
Keating goes ahead with the wedding immediately, despite being scheduled to marry Catherine Halsey, the girl he loves, the following morning. To make matters worse for Roark, construction is stopped on the Aquitania Hotel due to legal problems among the owners. Though Kent Lansing vows to gain legal control of the project and retain Roark to complete it, they both understand that the battles in court will take years to resolve.
At the end of Part Two, Roark is once again at a low ebb: He is unable to get commissions, the few he does receive result in construction stoppage or worse, and the woman he loves has left him to marry his enemy. He manufactures reasons to spend time at the renovated Stoddard Home for sickly children the building once intended to be the Stoddard Temple , hoping to one day meet Roark there.