Thoughts on Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead: Part 4
The following article will contain spoilers of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. If you wish to read the book without my bias, do so before reading this article.
As with the previous parts, it seems that Ayn Rand has written the final part of The Fountainhead with two people as the focus of the part. Howard Roark is associated with this part, but Gail Wynand is obviously the secondary character. Yet, Ellsworth’s speech to Keating, which gives us a glimpse into what Ayn Rand fears, clarifies his character for us. If we didn’t learn so much about Wynand, and what makes him the same, yet different than Roark, Ellsworth could be seen as the secondary.
At the end, I was upset with the speech that Roark gave. Not because of what he said, but rather that he said it at all. Throughout the book Roark has been the same in one particular way. His speech, while correctly what he (and Rand) thinks, is out of character. Could Rand have made her philosophy as obvious, but without manipulating Roark?
We see also that Keating has become a mere shell of a man - he has become nothing - while Roark has finally become himself. The world, it appears, has finally (been forced to) accept(ed) him. (I’m posting this 2 days later. Originally I had the following after this line. “(I)f we were to suppose that this is what Roark is, and not Rand’s ‘puppet’ (being crude for a moment).” The feeling still stands - I was truly disappointed that she had to make Roark give a speech - but is quiet.)
From this, I’d say that one could perhaps read Ellsworth’s and Roark’s speeches and understand the book/Rand completely.
It has been a very long time since I’ve read a book that I had such a hard time putting down. Many nights I would stop reading, set it down, and then look at the time and/or how many pages I had to read until the next chapter. I would usually toss my head about and pick up the book, only to read another chapter. I’ve begun Atlas Shrugged immediately (in part because I was in Chicago and that was the only other book I packed) and finished a tenth of it in one day. It seems I’ll fly through that as well.
Philosophically, I have to leave my thoughts on that until another time. Generally, I think she seems to lean to far to an extreme. Yet, with Roark, such as when he helps Keating, we see a bit of middle-ground. Didn’t Roark know that Keating would fail? If he really didn’t, then what about his planning? Again, that would seem to be against his character, especially based on what he did before that, with the other project.
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