The Fountainhead examines the life of an idealistic young architect, Howard Roark, who chooses to struggle in obscurity rather than compromise his artistic and personal vision by pandering to the prevailing taste in building design. The book was rejected by twelve publishers before a young editor, Archibald Ogden, at the Bobbs-Merrill Company publishing house wired to the head office, "If this is not the book for you, then I am not the editor for you.
The Fountainhead was made into a Hollywood film in , with Gary Cooper in the lead role of Howard Roark, and a screenplay by Rand herself. Howard Roark, a brilliant young architect, is expelled from his architecture school for refusing to follow the school's outdated traditions. He goes to New York to work for Henry Cameron, a once-famous and lauded, but now disgraced architect whom Roark admires. Roark and Cameron create beautiful work, but their projects rarely receive recognition, whereas Keating's ability to flatter and please brings him almost instant success.
In just a few years, he becomes a partner at the firm after he causes Francon's previous partner to have a stroke. Henry Cameron retires, financially ruined, and Roark opens his own small office. His unwillingness to compromise his designs in order to satisfy clients eventually forces him to close down the office and take a job at a granite quarry in Connecticut owned by Francon. In Connecticut, Roark feels an immediate, passionate attraction to Dominique Francon, Guy Francon's temperamental and beautiful daughter, who is summering at her father's country house nearby.
Society disgusts Dominique, and she has retreated to the country to escape the mediocre architecture and company she finds all around her. After several meetings, One night, Roark enters the house and rapes her. Dominique discovers that this is what she had needed, but when she looks for Roark, he has left the quarry to design a building for a prominent New York businessman.
Dominique returns to New York and discovers Roark's identity. She realizes that he designed a building she admires. Dominique and Roark begin to meet in secret, but in public she tries to sabotage his career and destroy him.
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Ellsworth Toohey, an architectural critic and socialist, slowly prepares to rise to power. He seeks to prevent men from excelling by teaching that talent and ability are of no great consequence, and that the greatest virtue is humility. Toohey sees Roark as a great threat and tries to destroy him. Toohey convinces a weak-minded businessman named Hopton Stoddard to hire Roark as the designer for a temple dedicated to the human spirit, then persuades the businessman to sue Roark once the building is completed.
At Roark's trial, every prominent architect in New York testifies that Roark's style is unorthodox and illegitimate, but Dominique declares that the world does not deserve the gift Roark has given it. Stoddard wins the case and Roark loses his business again. To punish herself for desiring Roark, Dominique marries Peter Keating. Enter Gail Wynand, a brilliant publisher, who has lost his early idealism and made his fortune by printing newspapers that say exactly what the public wants to hear.
Wynand meets Dominique and falls in love with her, so he buys her from Keating by offering him money and a prestigious contract in exchange for his wife. Dominique agrees to marry Wynand because she thinks he is an even worse person than Keating, but to her surprise, Wynand is a man of principle.
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Wynand and Roark meet and become fast friends, but Wynand does not know the truth about Roark's relationship with Dominique. Meanwhile Keating, who has fallen from grace, asks Roark for help with Cortlandt Homes, a public housing project. The idea of economical housing intrigues Roark. He agrees to design the project and let Keating take the credit on the condition that no one makes a single alteration to his plan. When Roark returns from a summer-long yacht trip with Wynand, he finds that, despite the agreement, the Cortlandt Homes project has been changed.
Roark asks Dominique to distract the night watchman one night and then dynamites the building. When the police arrive, he submits without resistance.
The entire country condemns Roark, but Wynand finally finds the courage to follow his convictions and orders his newspapers to defend him. The Banner's circulation drops and the workers go on strike, but Wynand keeps printing with Dominique's help. Eventually, Wynand gives in and denounces Roark.
At the trial, Roark seems doomed, but he rouses the courtroom with a statement about the value of selfishness and the need to remain true to oneself. Roark describes the triumphant role of creators and the price they pay at the hands of corrupt societies. The jury finds him not guilty.
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Roark marries Dominique. Wynand asks Roark to design one last building, a skyscraper that will testify to the supremacy of man. The major characters in the novel all represent different types of people, and essentially exist to contrast Howard Roark, who is Rand's image of the perfect man and, to a lesser extent, contrast Toohey, who is shown as the absolute evil. Roark is the man who was 'as man should be,' who lives for himself and his own creativity, indifferent to the opinions of others.
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Dominique Francon is presented as the perfect mistress for Roark. Over the course of the novel she must learn not to fear society and not to let its flaws hinder her integrity. Gail Wynand is the 'man who could have been,' who rises from the poverty of his youth into an extremely rich and powerful position, but uses his superlative talent not to create for himself, but to control others, which leads to his own demise.
Peter Keating is 'the man who couldn't be, and doesn't know it,' who wants to achieve as well as make a name for himself, but lives off the support and condolence of others, which is what leads to his demise. Ellsworth Toohey, presented as the complete antithesis of Roark, is 'the man who couldn't be, and knows it,' who, pessimistic about his talent when he was young, sets out to destroy others through guilt and altruism, because he knows that this is the only way he can accomplish anything.
The novel is split into four sections, named after Keating, Toohey, Wynand, and Roark; each section though the plot is completely chronological is named after the character which fully shows his own nature in each one. The last one, in which Roark achieves his final victory, is named after him. Howard Roark is the hero of the novel, whom Rand portrays as a paragon of Objectivist ideals though, when the novel was published the term Objectivism had not yet been coined. He is an aspiring architect with a unique, uncompromising creative vision, which contrasts sharply with the staid and uninspired conventions of the architectural establishment.
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Roark takes pleasure in the act of creation, but is constantly opposed by "the hostility of second-hand souls" and those unwilling or afraid to recognize his creative ability. Roark serves as the basic mold from which the protagonists of Rand's other great novel, Atlas Shrugged, are cast. Roark is the paragon of a successful man as visualized by Rand. Roark almost never initiated, a spiritual-like quality which attracted life to him. He was willing to wait. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, which is the opposite of Roark. As a result of waiting, he got the commission he wanted to build the first building, and in the same way attracted from life the woman who would become his wife.
He attracted her when he took the quarry job. She came to him. He was willing to go to the depths of poverty to fulfill his ideal. There he attracted her. They both instantly fell in love with one another on site from a distance, because the power of self does not require any courting. It is instantaneous. She was the suffering side of Roark who saw that his ideal was too pure for this world. His strength of ideal even overcame her suffering for him.
He stood up for the integrity of self. He was not influenced by the collective will. They made an electricity box and had good intentions of sharing their invention and discoveries with their brothers, yet when they took it to the Council of Scholars they marked them for death; accused them of the unpardonable sin.
Behind the Council 's reason was the candle company, and the devastation it would cause to disrupt the candle business The self proclaimed humanitarian defines the strikers, and by extension the working class, as weak and helpless, in need of their mass numbers to rise against their powerful oppressors, the privileged contractors and architects in need of their labor and skill, but unwilling to share in the wealth generated by the collective creation Powerful Essays words 4 pages Preview.
Do you live for others or for yourself. What do you deem to be the ideal: selflessness, or selfishness.
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