But Keating, smitten with the way in which her beauty and elegance impress other people, proposes marriage. Dominique replies that if she ever seeks to punish herself for some terrible crime she's committed, she will accept his offer. Despite Dominique's recognition of his fraudulent methods, Keating enjoys great early success. By the manipulation of fellow employees, Keating rises in Francon's firm until, after only several years, he is the company's chief designer.
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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. But now, Keating has his sights set on becoming Francon's partner, a position currently held by the sickly Lucius Heyer. At this time comes the announcement for the Cosmo-Slotnick Building, a competition held by a Hollywood company to design the "world's most beautiful building. 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.
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Heyer dies, having left the charming Keating his money. Keating wins the Cosmo-Slotnick competition.
Francon makes him partner. Keating is now wealthy, famous, and a partner in the country's most prestigious architectural firm. Roark, meanwhile, struggles to find employment after Cameron's retirement. His brief tenure at Francon's firm ends when he refuses to design as Francon wishes him to. For a long period of time, Roark cannot find employment with any architect.
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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 can design as he likes at Snyte's, but he will never see a building erected as he creates it.
Eventually, the newspaperman, Austen Heller, recognizes his talent and hires him to build a private home. 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. She both physically resists Roark when he finally comes to her and experiences their lovemaking — "the thing she had thought about, had expected" — as the most powerful experience of her life. Dominique's inner conflict torments her, and, despite the love between them, it is years before they can happily be together. Before their relationship fully gets under way at the quarry, Roark's whereabouts are discovered by Roger Enright, an innovative businessman who wants Roark to design a new type of apartment building.
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. Roark's growing fame attracts the attention of architectural critic Ellsworth Toohey, who is threatened by his unbending independence of spirit. 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. Knowing that Roark's design will be breathtakingly original, Toohey plots to attack it as contrary to all established religious principles, thereby turning Roark into an enemy of religion. Because Roark is an atheist, Toohey coaches Stoddard regarding the best means to approach Roark to build a religious structure. He has Stoddard say, "But you're a profoundly religious man, Mr. Roark — in your own way. I can see that in your buildings. At this point, Roark's career is on an upswing.
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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. Dominique poses nude for the Temple's central piece of sculpture, and Mallory captures both the beauty of her body and the independence of her spirit in his work.
Mallory, though young, has already suffered rejection because of the striking originality of his pieces, and is beginning to grow cynical regarding an innovative thinker's chances of gaining practical success. 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. He denounces Roark's Temple as heretical, and society follows his lead, sending up a chorus of protests. The Stoddard Temple is torn down, and Roark is condemned as an apostate.
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Roark's career is now in a downturn in which he receives only a few very minor commissions. 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.
The destruction of the Stoddard Temple confirms Dominique's worst fears. 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. But society, in her view, leaves no place for such a hero's triumph. 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. She believes that the way to kill in herself her capacity to respond to Roark is to thoroughly immerse herself in the life of Keating.
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. Through Toohey's manipulation, Dominique is introduced to newspaper publisher Gail Wynand, for whose paper Dominique formerly worked as a columnist. 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.
Wynand, taken with Dominique's intelligence and idealism, as well as with her beauty, proposes marriage. Dominique, thinking she's found a man even lower than Keating, accepts; she divorces Keating and marries Wynand. The powerful publisher buys Keating's consent with a hefty check and the commission for Stoneridge Homes, a housing development he is building.
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. But before we check out this novel's weird and complicated legacy, let's check out the origin story of this sucker.
Rand's philosophy is called Objectivism and no big shocker here it is super controversial. What's Objectivism, you ask? Here are the nuts and bolts of it, straight from the Rand-fans over at the Atlas Society:. Objectivism rejects the ethics of self-sacrifice and renunciation… men are urged to hold themselves and their lives as their highest values, and to live by the code of the free individual: self-reliance, integrity, rationality, productive effort.
The Fountainhead follows the life of a pioneering architect named Howard Roark, who basically embodies all of the tenants of Objectivism. He does what he wants. He is totally self reliant, rational, and true to himself. This is a double-edged sword: on the one hand Roark stays true to his artistic vision, and on the other hand he's not above raping the woman he loves erm, loves? He struggles against society for a while, but ends up being a huge success. Since Rand incorporated her Objectivist philosophy into the novel, it ended up reading as part pulp-fiction, part intellectual exercise, and part Architectural Digest.
Many critics slammed the novel, including conservatives. No one could seem to figure out how to read it—was it a pot-boiler or a philosophical tract? Some agreed wholeheartedly with Rand's philosophy; others thought her ideas were dangerous trash, like hazardous waste material.
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But at any rate it become a best-seller and an attention-grabber. Hollywood took notice, too. In the late s Rand adapted a screenplay for her novel, and The Fountainhead was made into a movie starring Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal. This film helped secure The Fountainhead 's place in American literary history. And The Fountainhead found a place in American political history as well: Rand's philosophy went on to become a cornerstone of the Libertarian Party.
In fact, the Libertarian Party considers Ayn Rand to be one of the three "founding mothers" of Libertarianism. So: one plump novel about an aspiring architect helped launch a the career of an author b a little philosophical stance called Objectivism and c a major American political party.
Not too shabby. Is The Fountainhead controversial? Hecky yes. Is The Fountainhead inconsequential? Absolutely not. As we learned on John Oliver's Last Week Tonight , "three decades after her death, Ayn Rand is still the subject of serious debate… and not just over how to pronounce her name. Ayn Rand doesn't provoke a lot of "meh" feelings. People either think she's worse than week-old liver stew or the best thing since Nutella on ice cream. People think she's either a brilliant Nostradamus figure or Satan reincarnate. She's either Paris in the springtime or Nome, Alaska in January.
Welcome, Shmoopers, to The Fountainhead : one of the most polarizing books, by one of the most polarizing authors… ever. Hey, who doesn't like a divisive topic?