Standing Alone Against the World in Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead

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Standing Alone Against the World in Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead Conformity is a basic human characteristic that man spends a life time either fighting or accepting, but few can escape. Parents, churches, schools, and communities teach that the path Peter Keating follows is the assured road to security and happiness. Humans crave companionship and are willing to sacrifice their values, beliefs, and very souls for the satisfaction of superficial love. Howard Roark demonstrates that true happiness comes from within, at the end of a wearisome road. He confirms this ideal through exhaustible determination struggling from burdensome beginnings to almost unattainable goals without relenting to pressures from society. This concept of non-conformity is exemplified throughout the novel. It is most clearly defined in Howard's resolution to work for Henry Cameron, his rejection of the A.G.A., and the Cortlandt Housing project. Howard Roark elucidates from the very beginning that he is going to work for Henry Cameron, a revolution considering Cameron's present state, or lack thereof. Roark is laughed at for having such a fatuous goal but hardly notices the acrimonious criticism that follows him. Even Henry Cameron himself rebukes Howard Roarks efforts to study under him, and only relents to Howard's wishes after he feels that he can no longer bear to reject such talent. The demonstration of drive and determination as well as defiance of basic rules of social structure make it difficult to not admire this aspiring architect. It is clear at this point that Howard Roark is going to get what he wants, and he has no concern for what anyone else thinks of it. Roark establishes his own practice and has a conversatio... ... middle of paper ... ...y and non-conformity is highlighted in the exchange between Peter Keating and Howard Roark on the A.G.A, as Howard has no intent of entertaining any such invitation and Peter can think of nothing sweeter. Finally, Howard Roark reaches a pinnacle of non-conformity as he destroys the only hold society ever had on him, the Cortlandt Housing Project. Howard Roark is a standard that one can strive towards, realistically, however, it would be almost impossible to follow in his footsteps. Even in striving to reach his level one conforms to a set of idea, in a sense one conforms to non-conformity. This novel illustrates in an effective manner that happiness must be reached through holding fast to one's own values. Perhaps defying society is not the path many would choose, but Ayn Rand certainly presents a challenge to all in her message of misery and happiness.

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