Heroism in Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead

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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
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