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Heroism in Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead

analytical Essay
1127 words
1127 words
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Heroism in The Fountainhead

The Fountainhead is a story about heroism. The novel is a triumphant cry of protest against all those who insist that life is about mediocrity. That man is destined to suffer. The greatness of The Fountainhead lies in its ability to inspire hope and confidence in its readers, to show how much is possible. For more than fifty years now, people all over the world have been looking towards this great book for support and sanction, for encouragement and hope, for ideas and answers. The Fountainhead applauds strength and greatness in human spirit, giving its readers a hero they can admire, respect, idolize and love. Howard Roark -- the hero, the ideal man, the human being.

When Roark said in the courtroom, "Independence is the only gauge of human virtue and value, what a man is and makes of himself, not what he has or hasn't for others", he summarized the whole philosophy in these handful of words. To Roark, independence meant everything. From this one value of his arose all his other values and qualities. To him, there was no substitute and no alternative to independence. He held no authority above the judgement of his mind, he held no one higher than himself. Roark felt a fundamental indifference towards others -- he cared two hoots about what the world thought of him.

The people Roark chose as friends and comrades all shared this basic quality - independence. His teacher, Henry Cameron, was a fiercely independent man. So were Steven Mallory, Austen Heller, Mike Donnigan and Gail Wynand. Roark's only hallmark of a man was his independence, or the lack of it. His 'enemies', the men who hated Roark, yet recognised his greatness, were all dependents and parasites. Peter Keating thirsted...

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...ife as Keating and Toohey saw it. A choice between life as it "ought to be" and life as it is.

The Fountainhead is more than a story about heroism. It is a story about a way of life. It will continue to be the most inspiring book of all times and will continue to hit readers with its immortal philosophy and tremendous courage. It will continue to offer answers. The choice is ours.

Works Cited and Consulted

Berliner, Michael S., ed. Letters of Ayn Rand. By Ayn Rand. New York: Dutton, 1995.

Maslow, A.H. (1968) Toward a Psychology of Being. New York: Van Nostrand.

Peikoff, Leonard. The Philosophy of Objectivism, A Brief Summary. Stein and Day, 1982.

Rand, Ayn. The Fountainhead. New York: Plume, 1994.

Rogers, C.R. (1980) A Way of Being. Boston: Houghton Mifflin

Walker, Jeff. The Ayn Rand Cult. Carus Publishing Company, 1999

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that the fountainhead is a triumphant cry of protest against all those who insist that life is about mediocrity. it inspires hope and confidence in its readers.
  • Analyzes how roark summarized his philosophy of independence in a few words. he held no authority above the judgement of his mind, and felt fundamental indifference towards others.
  • Explains that roark's only hallmark of a man was his independence, or the lack of it. his 'enemies' were dependents and parasites.
  • Analyzes roark's individualism, selfishness, and superiority. people demand that he sacrifice his interests for those of others. his relationships are based on the principle of trade and sacrifice.
  • Analyzes how an incident in the fountainhead illustrates roark's independence and his total disregard for conventions.
  • Explains that it was this integrity of his which led him to dynamite the cortlandt homes.
  • Explains that everything howard roark is rises from this fundamental quality of independence -- to depend solely upon himself to fulfill all his needs and desires, to pursue happiness, and to live his life.
  • Explains that she married peter keating after she defended roark at the stoddard trial. she told him, "i can accept anything, except what seems easiest, for most people."
  • Explains dominique's loathing for compromise led to her refusing to live her life as a compromise between pain and joy. she would suffer without the pretense of happiness.
  • Explains that peter keating is mediocre and parasite, a man without ability, originality, or courage, who would take any direction as long as others were taking the same.
  • Analyzes how peter keating knew howard roark was different from the rest of the world and that he wanted to belong.
  • Narrates how keating's desire to be great in the world drove him to roark for help -- from his first house to the cortlandt homes.
  • Analyzes how keating knew that roark had to fight against the rest of the world. his total belief in himself, his disregard for conventions, and his love for his work and life made him feel that they couldn't coexist.
  • Opines that we all have to make that choice -- between the fountainhead and the rest of the world.
  • Opines that the fountainhead is more than a story about heroism, it's an inspiring book and will continue to hit readers with its immortal philosophy and tremendous courage.
  • Describes the works of michael s. berliner, ed., letters of ayn rand, and leonard peikoff.
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