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The Fountainhead

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Soumya Sudhakar

on 21 September 2012

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Transcript of The Fountainhead

The Fountainhead By: Soumya Sudhakar, Alyssa Bonneson, Meghan Kovac, Katie Donahue,
Greer Hennesy, Natalie Moszczynski, Engy Gadelmawla These includes passages that show characterization, plot, and powerful writing. Important Quotes and Passages This quote is a perfect example of the impact Toohey has on people. She said without thinking the first thing she felt like saying. She said something which she did not understand, but he did: "I'm not afraid of you, Uncle Ellsworth" (pg. 379) Subconsiously, Katie is able to sense his true intentions without being able to really place why she felt scared of him. The reason why Toohey is scary is because he believes in the good of the collective and relishes in hurting the individual. This foreshadows the eventual brainwashing of Katie and the empty shell she becomes that Keating meets later. In this quote, she feels that possibly Keating, a coward growing to need Toohey, will protect her. If they are "selfish" in their love for each other, they can escape the collectivist mindset and have happiness. In the end, however, Keating marries Dominique, letting greed for a better image justify marrying Dominique and doing exactly what Toohey expected of him. "My dear fellow, who will let you?"
"That's not the point. The point is, who will stop me?" (pg. 11) This conversation between the Dean and Roark can also be considered foreshadowing too since many people do try and stop Roark, including Toohey. However, the stubborn and determined ego of Roark proves that he will not give up. This quote provides excellent characterization for Roark. The fact that he's even having this entire conversation with the dean while being expelled in this passage is powerful, showcasing that Roark is not scared of anyone. Moreover, the stubborn personality of Roark shows through. He will not back down. Let's face it. Howard Roark is EXTREMELY confident and.... Moreover, he's a man of integrity, remaining true to both himself and his architectural style. Quotes and Passages Supporting Ayn Rand's Philosophy Roark shows how he is a complete egotist, not caring to even think about his enemy. This goes against the norm of society where everyone is making judgments on everyone else and bases their self-worth on what others think. Interestingly enough, Roark's answer is the only one that could have actually scared Toohey, even though this is not Roark's intention. " 'Mr. Roark, we're alone here. Why don't you tell me what you think of me? In any words you wish. No one will hear us.' 'But I don't think of you' " (Rand 389). This quote shows how Wynand succumbs to the ideals of society which promotes mediocrity for everyone rather than greatness for individuals. Wynand makes peace with this by thinking that it's the only way to get power. However, by seeking power, Wynand is just as bad as the rest. This also relates to how Ayn was writing for a public she could not see. She wanted to get her philosophy of objectivism out to people that she was not able to see but still wanted to affect. "'When in doubt about your work, remember that man's face. You're writing for him.' 'But Mr. Wynand,' said a young editor, 'One can't remember his face.' 'That's the point,' said Wynand." (Rand pg. 424) Wynand discribes the importance of one's own work. Because the man created a great structure out of a mass of stone and steel, it only adds to the greatness of the man. Pride in one's work adds to the happiness and self-fulfillment of the man. I am a parasite, I've been a parasite all my life. (Rand 601) When Keating says this, it becomes the final acknowledgment of the person he has become and how worthless he is now. Although he studied to become someone of value in the profession he chose, he becomes a parasite because he doesn't use his own talent. "Don't allow men to be happy. Happiness is self-contained and self-sufficient. Happy men have no time and no use for you. Happy men are free men. So kill their joy in living." (pg. 636) Toohey's opinion on the way that man acts and the way that they process their needs is based off of the idea that the dependencies of men are their own satisfaction, thus without it they are nothing. This exemplifies Rand's creation of an evil character which progresses throughout the chapters prospering off the weak or those who rely on Toohey to create or define their happiness for them. "It worked out to everyone's satisfaction: Keating did not care so long as his clients did not care so long as their guests were impressed, and their guests did not care anyway." (Rand, Part 1 p. 81) This quote is the epitome of the character of Peter Keating, which exemplifies the consequences of not staying true to oneself. Because Keating only worked to please others and not himself he led a very unhappy, incomplete life. On the other hand, Roark was the complete opposite and stuck to his own work. "Howard Roark laughed" (pg. 1) This quote is a direct explanation of who Howard Roark is meant to be in the simplest form. Without the using complex languages, the introductory sentence of the entire book illustrates the essence of Roarks carefree life. His dire need for clarity and individual simplicity are presented within Rands description as it proceeds to introduce a character whose needs do not meet those of others, as Howard is to be the ideal man whose ideas are all his originals and can be perceived best by his own intelligence or by men who refuse to be led in different directions by biased thoughts. "The Stoddard Temple must be destroyed. Not to save men from it, but save it from men" (Rand 357). In her testimony at Roark's first trial, Dominique explains her philosophy and why she cannot accept a world that doesn't welcome greatness like Roark. However, as Dominique later learns, Roark is right in understanding that he does not need society's approval to achieve greatness. "That's horror. Well that's hanging over the rest of the world, prowling somewhere through mankind, that same thing, something closed, mindless, utterly wanton, but something with an aim and a cunning of its own. [Mallory]" "The principle behind the Dean." [Roark] (Rand p.340) This quote explains the close mindedness of society towards new theories and ideas of architecture. Mallory discovers that something evil is hovering over the people in the world. Roark makes the connection between what the Dean was talking about when Roark got expelled, to Mallory's feeling. This further emphasizes that the "horror" refers to everything Toohey stands for, which is collectivism. "One can't put on an act like that-unless it's an act for oneself, and then there is no limit, no way out, no reality."(p. 600) This quote indicates the progress made by Keating into becoming an average human being with a clearer perception of the realities of the way he has acted and the events he has inflicted. He sees the full effect of Toohey's evil nature and mind control upon seeing Katie years later who has come to be defined by Toohey's ideas, instead of being free from them as she had been when she and Keating had first met. Thus, he now proclaims her to be enslaved by Toohey's philosophy of altruism since she has given up her individuality. Roark looked after him. He had never seen the boy before and he would never see him again. He did not know that he had given someone the courage to face a lifetime. (pg. 530) This shows the impact of Roarks courage as an architect and the way in which some people may interpret it differently, just as this young man had. True perception is a matter of opinion and although some do not agree with the opinions it is proof that opinion is an individual affair. " 'You had better give in...' He thought of the moment in his bedroom when he had almost pulled a trigger. He knew he was pulling it now. 'All right,' he said...I'm the man who wanted power...Anything may be betrayed, anyone may be forgiven. But not those who lack the courage of their own greatness. Alvah Scarret...Mitchell Layton can be forgiven. But not I. I was not born to be a second-hander" (Rand 658-663). This passage highlights how people who want power are not "creators," but "second-handers," since their power depends on others . It also paints Wynand to be the tragic character of the story since the passage invokes a sense of pity and hopelessness. Collectivists - Toohey Individualists - Roark Catherine (cc) photo by medhead on Flickr Collectivism is an outlook that emphasizes the priority of human goals over individual goals. It sees the whole as being greater than the sum of its individual parts, and it gives priority to group rights over individual rights. It focuses on communities, societies and nations. Catherine is a victim of collectivism. Once Keating abandons her for Dominique, Catherine no longer thinks for herself, only thinking about the "good" of others. This turns her into an empty shell, one Keating is shocked to meet later. Collectivism vs. Individualism Tipped in the individualist's favor! (Roark is acquitted at his trial) Individualism makes the individual its focus and promotes the exercise of one's goals and desires and it values independence and self-reliance. 1. Rand’s intent as expressed in The Fountainhead is to explain her philosophy of objectivism, and to defend the individual. Through the trials and eventual success of Howard Roark, Rand is able to show the reader that having integrity to one's work and passions lead to success. The themes of the individual vs. the collective are political in nature and express her philosophical views on society. She also portrays the ideal man, “This is the motive and purpose of my writing: the projection of an ideal man. The portrayal of a moral ideal, as my ultimate literary goal, as an end in itself- to which any didactic, intellectual, or philosophical values contained in a novel are only the means" (Rand ix). One of the main aspects of the ideal man is that they have to be selfish, to a degree, in order to succeed. 2. As eleventh graders, the message of this book is to stay true to your passions. In a way, it preaches to do what one wants...and forget society. It is time for us to choose a college, degree, career...and we have to be happy with our decision. We have to pick a field we're passionate about so that we can show integrity to that work. Moreover, we have to come up with new ideas of our own to be successful. So far, school teaches us what others have done so that we have a solid foundation. It's time to add our own new knowledge to mankind, not just copy others. Also, the idea of integrity vs. success arises; if you have integrity, success will automatically follow whereas if you chase success (money, prestige, fame) without integrity, it becomes a lot harder. 3. As citizens of the world, we are all exposed to the stereotypes and views that society wants us to conform to. Rand's message through the novel is to maintain who you are rather than changing to what others want. Rand also shows how the individual always triumphs, and this is something to keep in mind when we consider politics and governments where individuals are repressed. In addition, being "altruistic" by giving to charity does not really help others. It's better to support the thinker who will implement solutions rather than just alleviate suffering which is only temporary. 4. This book shares ideas with Outliers: A Story of Success, by Malcolm Gladwell. Although Gladwell proposes that success in life is mostly about the opportunities you were given and Rand feels that staying true to one's work is what brings you success, they both agree that it takes hard work to get there. Rand explains this through Roark's storyline since he works the hardest out of the characters, and in the end, is the most successful. Meanwhile, Gladwell focuses on the 10,000 hour rule which states that you need 10,000 hours of practice in an activity to become an expert at it. 5. Rand's idea of success is best identified by the character Roark and is based on having integrity to one's work. The successful person is content to having their own ideas and believing in their work, even if this means they will be in obscurity. In fact, Rand argues that believing in one's work will lead you to success in the end, like it did for Roark. 6. According to Ayn Rand, failure is not staying true to one's work and feeding off the ideas of others. Roark refers to failures as parasites or second-handers. These names give the image of someone who bases their work by copying others, by using others. 7."My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute." -Ayn Rand. 8. Rand's approach to getting her philosophy across was using a fictional narrative. As a genre, it is an effective mode because using a story made the philosophy interesting and entertaining. However her writing tends to get wordy and off topic. The seven hundred pages was overwhelming at times and some readers may have lost interest before Roark's climatic speech at the trial. Although the fictional aspect was effective, reducing the details and thus the number of pages would have made her point stronger. 9. There are two inconsistencies in the book. The first is when Keating has Roark do work for him rather than doing it himself. The fact that Roark actually does the work goes against the philosophy because he is not doing it for himself. He is doing hard work for the benefit of someone else which is completely against his beliefs. The second is when, at the beginning of the book, when Peter asks Roark whether he should go to college in Paris or if he should work for Francon. Roak says that he should choose the better of the two but a true answer would be to do neither since they will not help Keating develop integrity for his work. "Keating would not admit to himself how desperate he wanted to get Cortlandt and how little chance he had of getting it." This shows failure in the sense that though he wanted something desperately, he wasn't willing to work hard enough. More importantly, he didn't believe in his work. The premise is, if you don't believe in your work, who else will? Moreover, failure is also when people judge their success on what others think of them, rather than actually judging the quality of their work. For example, Keating only feels he is successful when others give him recognition. The perfect example of a failure is Peter Keating. He did things not because they made him happy but because they made him rich. "Howard, I'm a parasite. I've been a parasite all my life. You designed my projects at Stanton. You designed the first house I ever built. You designed the Cosmo-Slotnick Building. I have fed on you and on all the men like you who lived before we were born. The men who designed the Parthenon, the Gothic cathedrals, the first skyscrapers. If they hadn't existed, I wouldn't have known how to put stone on stone. In the whole of my life, I havent added a new doorknob to what men have done before me. I have taken that which was not mine and given nothing in return. I had nothing to give." (Page 601) This explains that he takes other people's work as his own- he has done nothing on his own. Moreover, Modern Liberty and the Limits of Government also relates to the novel since both texts champion the individual over the collective. Charles Fried also argues that the greatest amounts of offenses to humankind have been committed in the name of equality. This is a statement Rand reiterates through her character of Toohey who wants to bring about equality and collectivism at the expense of individuals. Another important concept that's important to understand Rand's view of success is the idea of the "creator." In Roark's speech at his trial, he outlines that the "creator" is the person who comes up with revolutionary new ideas. The "creators" are the first to do something and are always hated. But they succeed. They persist not to help people (since people are against them), but show integrity to their work. In fact, believing in one's work, to the point of being selfish and egotistical, is a good thing. Surprised? Well, Rand argues that only when someone cares only about their own ideas, opinions, and work, rather than what society thinks, can they truly achieve anything great. It's beneficial to only listen to oneself rather than compromise with society. "Only by living for himself was he [the creator] able to acheive the things which are the glory of mankind. Such is the nature of acheivement" (Rand 679). As she states in her introduction, "It does not matter that only a few in each generation will grasp and achieve the full reality of man's proper stature. and that the rest will betray it. It is those few that move the world and give lifeits meaning - and it is those few that I have always sought to address" (Rand xi). Aside from the powerful message of this quote, we also know that Rand means to teach others about the greatness of the individual through the novel. The philosophy illustrated in The Fountainhead, Objectivism, champions the individual over the collective. The egotist is to celebrated, not looked down upon. All creativity and ideas flow from the individual mind, and the least limits possible should be placed on the individual. This philosophy is expressed through Roark's morals throughout the novel. Soviet Union Nazi Germany Fascist Italy USA Toohey propogates this philosopy as he feels making people part of a collective will give him power over them. He states that the individual is his enemy and uses manipulative methods to make the collectivism movement succeed. Roark is an individualist because he focuses only on himself. Even if people do not like what he is making and he is not getting paid, he is still happy with what he is doing so he doesn't change for anyone else. As Roark states in his trial, all ideas come from someone's mind. Ideas and innovation comes from the individual, not the collective. The ending Wynand receives shows that Rand did not approve of people who knew society was corrupt and knew the potential of the individual, but wanted power anyway. Gail Wynand could have been as great as Howard Roark. Dominique At first, Dominique believes society and collectivism will never promote individuals achieving greatness and therefore, the greatness should not even exist. However, through her relationship with Roark and Wynand, she is finally makes peace with the fact that society can be flawed and greatness can still exist since the individual only cares for himself. He does not need to worry about recognition from society, as long as he shows integrity to his work. It's man who made it--the whole incredible mass of stone and steel. It doesn't dwarf him, it makes him greater than the structure." [Wynand]( p.498) "You've got him. Can you rule a thinking man? We don't want any thinking men. ... You've seen me practicing it for ten years... You have no right to sit there and stare at me with the virtuous superiority of being shocked. YOu're in on it. You've taken your share and you've got to go along." (Rand pg. 667) Toohey explains how collectivists want to squash the individual and creative, free thought because it's hard to have power over an individual...especially one like Roark. Many people believe Howard Roark to be based upon Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the most famous architects of the 20th century. Fallingwater, pictured here, is said to be the greatest architectural creation...however, if people decided to change parts of the building, it would ruin Wright's integrity to his work, like with Roark and his Cortlandt Homes.
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