Creators and Parasites in Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead

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Creators and Parasites in The Fountainhead

"The creators concern is the conquest of nature. The parasites concern is the conquest of men," Howard Roark states in his dramatic courtroom speech defending himself after the Cortlandt Homes incident. This quote sums up the two categories of people in rather graphic form. The creator, or non-conformist, being glorified in his attempt to better the very earth itself, independent of the constraints of humanity. The parasite, or conformist, being reduced to the lowest of all species, with a selfish goal of ruling man. This is a goal a conformist will never reach because instead of guiding society, the conformist is bound by societies rules. This accurate depiction can be visibly seen in the characters of Howard Roark, Peter Keating, and Ellsworth Tooey.

Howard Roark is a creator, and he knows it. Glorifying himself, although not looking for praise, but rather stating something that is as common to him as a fact. A devout anarchist, Roark views nature as something that man must improve upon. He has no desire for anything from mankind, he does not want to be a leader, or even for others to see the world his way, he simply doesn't care about those things. The destruction of the Cortlandt Housing project is a result of a view that any alterations of a creators plans by a mere parasite perverts something sacred. In keeping with this ideal it appears sickening that any person would lower their talents to the level of standard society, even if they do it for the sake of survival. A creator must never compromise, especially to the whims of lemmin...

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...; Roark exists untainted by the disease that is conformity, and is all the better for it. The sad truth that parasites, such as Keating and Toohey, strive to control man, which leads both men to misery and eventual ruin. Keating living in his worse nightmare, alone, and exposed as a fraud. Toohey, on the other hand, continues to appear happy to the general public, but silently fights the knowledge that he will never be a creator. In the end the message is clear, to be a creator is to rise above society and evolve nature, without concern for the group pattern. The parasite, however, attempts to rule men, but ends up being prisoner to them. The path Roark followed required strength of character, drive, and endurance that few posses, but if one can survive going against the grain, they can discover true happiness.

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