Fountainhead Essay, Research Paper
The courtroom verdict at the Courtlandt trail had a huge impact on the lives of every main character in Fountainhead. It was here that the revolutionary, Roark, is acquitted of the felony of destroying a public building. This verdict shakes the world of the evil Toohey, ultimately destroying him. It means the psychological destruction of Gail Wynand, a hard working businessman and friend of Roark’s. It also brings on the collapse of Peter Keating, a spineless, mama’s-boy and fellow architect and it is the last event, the “rape” being the first, that lets Dominique free her self of he negative ways and fully except Roark’s philosophy.
Ellsworth Toohey is the embodiment of evil. His ambition is not only to physically own people but also to take possession of their souls by breaking it down and thus in this way he gains power over them. He confesses to Peter that, “If you learn how to rule one single man’s soul, you can get the rest of man kind. It’s the soul Peter, not whips or swords or fire or guns?. it must be broken”(635). Toohey understand that the world is full of Peter Keatings’, the ones that need reassurance and recognition from others. He made it very clear that he wanted “Power. I want my world of the future. Let all sacrifice and none profit. Let all suffer and none enjoy. Let progress stop”(639). And he saw this progress in Roark’s eye, in his soul and in his work and he despised him for it. He new very well that ” great men can’t be ruled”(635), and “Anything that can’t be ruled must go”(638). That was why he had to destroy Roark. He believed that by praising the Keating’s of the world and laughing at the Roark’s, he would manipulate the public to condemn and destroy the only man that could save them from themselves. Ellsworth believed that he had succeeded; he believed that he had the power because he ruled the public, but he didn’t and he found this out when the jury found Roark “not guilty”(686). For this verdict meant that the world, he had believed to have owned, was ready to embrace Roark’s philosophies and was ready for the things that Toohey hated the most, individualism and progress. Toohey had failed, Roark had won and this destroyed Toohey.
Gail Wynand, a rugged newspaper tycoon, who had lifted himself up from nothing and had succeeded in becoming one of the wealthiest men of his time. He owned everything within his reach, but lacked the possession of his own soul. He sold this to the public and in return inherited power. He had become the ” worst second-hander of all- the man who goes after power”(608). He had created a paper that existed for the public; it printed the things that they wanted to hear, the things that weren’t very controversial. It praised everything but heroic venture into new frontiers, because it was written for a society that encouraged traditionalists and condoned individuals. Gail’s destruction was due his carelessness in maintaining his integrity. He sacrificed himself and dedicated his whole life to serving the people. He committed what Roark had believed to be the only cardinal evil,”…placing your prime concern within other men”(607). Gail owns a fortune but he does not have a “self-sufficient ego”(607). The public lays claim to him, but when Wynand Roark is put on trail for the destruction of the Cortlandt apartments, he is inspired to do what he has always waited to do, test his power and “twist (the public) in such a way there won’t be a jury who’ll dare convict (Roark)” (625). He puts everything that he has on the line to protect Roark, and himself, he writes only things that defend Roark in The Banner. But after a unexpectedly cold reception of the new magazine, Wynand realizes that he has no power, and when he is forced to either go back to anti-Roark article or loose his paper, he remembered “the moment in his bedroom when he had almost pulled the trigger?” and when he accept his defeat, “he knew that he was pulling it”(658). But the final blow was when Roark was found “not guilty”. He realized that he had given up his integrity in order to gain what he thought was power, but in the end he didn’t have to. His whole life was pointless. He had become the man he didn’t want to become and could never be the man he dreamt of being.
Peter Keating flows through a transition of vanity, fame, lies, flattery and eventually guilt. He lacks the essential of self-respect; therefore people easily govern him. He had been “drained of his unborn ambition of his youth (painting) by his mother”(564). He envies Roark’s talent and passion and for that he would ask him to design many of the buildings that he himself just couldn’t do. Roark says that “he’s not really struggling even for material wealth, but for the second-hander’s delusion- prestige, a stamp of approval, not his own. He can find no struggle, no joy when he has succeeded. He can’t say about a single thing” This is what I wanted, because I wanted it, not because it made my neighbors gape at me”(607). And it was this second-hander’s delusion that lead to his eventual ruin. After the society that made him and supported him, abandons him, he runs to Roark and begs him to get him back in the public eye by designing the Cortlandt homes for him but when Toohey forces him to revel the truth to the public during the trail, every ounce of dignity and self-respect that he still had was taken away from him. ” When Keating left the stand, the audience had the odd impression that no change had occurred in the act of a man’s exit; as if no person had walked out”(677). He was no longer important, he no longer would receive praise for Roark’s work, he was nobody and that destroyed him.
Dominique Francon was a strong, powerful, highly intelligent, cold and radiantly beautiful women that believed that good could never conquer evil. She had never let anyone make even the smallest impression on her. She simply hated everyone. She had never believed that she could have met her match, until she met Roark. He surpassed her in every aspect. From the beginning their whole relationship was a power struggle. It was not until they slept together that Dominique began to realize that she could never dominate him, no matter how hard she would try. Although many feel that this scene was indeed a rape scene, I tend to disagree. This animalistic act was the only way that these her and Roark could have come together. Dominique was a very strong willed women, she would never give herself to someone, especially her equal, she would have to be taken and that’s exactly what Howard would have to do.” One gesture of tenderness from him- and she would have remained cold, untouched by the thing that he had done to her body. But the act of a master taking shameful, contemptuous possession of her was the kind of rapture she wanted”(217). He had to prove his dominance to her, something that she had yet to experience. It wasn’t a rape because she desired it, yes she fought like an animal, but she didn’t scream for help. ” She knew that it was an act that could be preformed in tenderness, as a seal of love, or in contempt, as a symbol of humiliation and conquest?he did it as an act of scorn. Not as love, but as defilement. And this made her lie still and submit” (217). Both parties had received immense pleasure out of this act, furthering my belief that wasn’t rape. She had made him tremble with pleasure and “she would not take a bath. She knew that she wanted to keep the feeling of his body, the traces of his body on hers”(217). If this were a rape, wouldn’t she, like most rape victims, immediately clean herself of the dirtiness of the act? This act was the first step towards Dominique’s metamorphosis.
She had been conquered for the first time, she had seen goodness and she would try to ruin him, like she would ruin anything that was pure and good. She saw Roark inevitably facing a tortuous existence, because she expects he will fail. She tries her best to prevent him from reaching any success, so that he will not suffer the dejection of society’s ridicule. But it is during her marriage to Wynand, that she learns that she was wrong. She realized that she couldn’t let things get to her. And after seven long years, she finally understood how things could only hurt “down to a certain point”(620). She no longer feared the world. “She had not been able to accept the Stoddard Trail, she had run from the dread of seeing him (Roark) hurt by the world, but she had agreed to help him in this. Had agreed in complete serenity. She was free and she and he knew it”(613). The Courtlandt Trail had set her free, she had regained her trust in mankind. She no longer had to “protect” Roark from defeat; she now believed that good could prevail. She no longer was cold; she had regained her childhood innocence and was happy. She had publicly submitted to Roark, she know understood his believe that what others think didn’t matter. She was in love and she wasn’t too proud to admit it. She admitted this, saying “Howard?willingly, completely, and always?without reservations, without fear or anything they can do to you or to me?in anyway you wish?as your wife or as your mistress, secretly or openly?here, or in a furnished room. I’ll take in some town near a jail where I’ll see you through a wire net?it won’t matter?you’ve won long ago?. I’ll remain what I am, and I’ll remain with you-now and ever-in any way you want”(668). He had done the unthinkable, he had dominated Dominique, and she was completely his. She was completely changed.
In conclusion, although at first Roark didn’t seem to be so important, he prevails as not only the winner but as the one soul man who was responsible for effecting everyone’s life in major ways. He was a self-centered, self-generated and self-sufficient, he is the perfect man in every sense. He did what he wanted to do and never answered to anybody. He was satisfied and happy with everything that he did and had no regrets And ultimately he is the only one that comes out completely victorious.