Objectism in The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand

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Standing as, perhaps, one of the most controversial and, simultaneously, innovative philosophies of the twentieth century, Ayn Rand's Objectivism philosophy has gathered an unprecedented following. Demonstrated and explained in detail through the use of the characters Howard Roark, Ellsworth Toohey, Peter Keating, and Dominique Francon in her infamous novel The Fountainhead, Rand creates a storyline that effectively portrays all aspects of society - its evils and its goods. Rand's employment of both Dominique and Roark's positions in society, her explanation and justification for Dominique's seemingly cruel acts against Roark, and her weaving of Dominique and Roark's love for each other into a further enforcement of select core ideals of Objectivism, creates a perfect forum for both a promotion of the novel's core philosophy and a modeling of a flawless work of literary fiction.

Throughout the novel, Dominique is characterized as a pillar of resistance; although her demeanor is casual and calm when interacting with other characters, her overall stance in the novel is one of conflict. She is pitted against society in an untraditional way; not existing as a violent external force attempting to change society to understand her ideas, but, instead, a quiet enemy of the collective, subtly manipulating the right strings only when necessary to serve herself. Further, Dominique sees no purpose in openly fighting against the machine that is the whole of society. Instead, her sole purpose is Howard Roark. Dominique's love for Roark is congruent with her instinctual human nature; to lean toward pain and away from the conventional sources of happiness. Roark, on the other hand, is a man who is not against society, but, rather, socie...

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...ess; a giving up of oneself for another. In objectivism, there is no time in which one achieves more a personal, selfish gain than when in love; one must have a strong sense of identity. Roark states Rand's belief best in his confession to Dominique that he loves her "[a]s selfishly as the fact that I exist… to say 'I love you' one must know first how to say the 'I.'" (Rand, The Fountainhead 328)

The Objectivism philosophy Ayn Rand projects throughout the course of The Fountainhead, through the use of Dominique Francon and Howard Roark's love for each other, and Dominique's concurrent act of marrying Peter Keating, is one that exists much like the buildings of Roark; beautiful in their appearance, functional in their application, and understood by only a small, enlightened portion of society.

Works Cited

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