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The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand The Fountainhead is a 1943 novel by Russian American author Ayn Rand, her first major literary success The novel s protagonist, Howard Roark, is an individualistic young architect who designs modernist buildings and refuses to compromise with an architectural establishment unwilling to accept innovation Roark embodies what Rand believed to be the ideal man, and his struggle reflects Rand s belief that individualism is superior to collectivism 2001 1379 1063 20 THIS HORROR STORY IS TO SCARY FOR ME IT HAS A CREEPY GINGER KID AND HE RAPES ANN COULTER BECAUSE SHE WANTS HIM TO 1 THEN THEY HAVE A LOT OF TICKLE FIGHTS AND BUILD SUM HOUSES THATS ALL i REMEMBER. The Revolutionary Literary Vision That Sowed The Seeds Of Objectivism, Ayn Rand S Groundbreaking Philosophy, And Brought Her Immediate Worldwide AcclaimThis Modern Classic Is The Story Of Intransigent Young Architect Howard Roark, Whose Integrity Was As Unyielding As Graniteof Dominique Francon, The Exquisitely Beautiful Woman Who Loved Roark Passionately, But Married His Worst Enemyand Of The Fanatic Denunciation Unleashed By An Enraged Society Against A Great Creator As Fresh Today As It Was Then, Rand S Provocative Novel Presents One Of The Most Challenging Ideas In All Of Fiction That Man S Ego Is The Fountainhead Of Human Progress A Writer Of Great Power She Has A Subtle And Ingenious Mind And The Capacity Of Writing Brilliantly, Beautifully, BitterlyThis Is The Only Novel Of Ideas Written By An American Woman That I Can Recall The New York Times Yes 5 stars, why Because whenever i rethink about this book i become speechless.The lessons it taught me and the life it showed me are invaluable So whatever you may find below are the mixed emotions which i could withdraw out of it.This books helps you realize the pain and agony of a person who stands on his own beliefs, defying the society rules and so called modern world culture So today whenever i see a person fighting with the world just for his own beliefs and his own values, i can always see a bit of Roark in him The most important thing of a man s character is his Integrity, that is what holds him true to himself and gives him courage to fight everything else in this world.Society and the second handers always keep on trying to make others a second handers and they will never let them do something which they were not able to do.It is the man s own Ego which gets him thru.It is the love of his work which makes him happy.But the society teaches him that everything that makes him happy is a sin and he shall never be a happy person.But it is a man s basic right to be happy and the general world calls it his Selfishness It was the only thing I ever really wanted And that s the sin that can t be forgiven that I hadn t done what I wanted It feels so dirty and pointless and monstrous, as one feels about insanity, because there s no sense to it, no dignity, nothing but pain and wasted painwhy do they always teach us that it s easy and evil to do what we want and that we need discipline to restrain ourselves It s the hardest thing in the world to do what we want And it takes the greatest kind of courage. Let me begin by saying that after reading this, and especially after reading her novel Atlas Shrugged, that I do not much like Ms Rand I think her philosophy must surely have been created as a reaction to her experiences with Bolsheviks.That said, I think this is a modern masterpiece, Rand s reformation and restatement of Nietzschean mythos This was beautiful yet brutally simple, shockingly hypnotic like a bull fight, difficult to watch but you cannot turn away Many archetypal characters, very influential how many insidious modern day villains began as Ellsworth Toohey, how many strong silent idealists descend from the Howard Roark model I can see how someone would consider this a five star book, maybe even consider that this is a favorite book, but looking back, while accounting for the strength and quality of her narrative, I cannot say that I loved it, and I still don t like Rand. As literature, I found the book dry, predictable, and overwrought As philosophy, I found it circular, wholly unfounded, and completely contradicting reality.This book is like a net set for unsuspecting minds It breaches their defenses with a twisted logic, attempting to preclude any conclusions but the ones it sets forth.Of course, it follows a natural flow from the author s assumptions power, will, and self determinism are the foundations of all life Nothing matters, except that you do what you want Only if you violate your own integrity are you doing wrong and yet, this violation is quite easy it involves believing anything contradictory to those first three assumptions.If you believe this tripe, then you ve probably already found a intelligent and articulate champion for these values In that case, I d encourage you to read those authors instead, but ultimately come to the correct conclusion that the three aforementioned assumptions are a load of bullshit If you don t believe this stuff, don t waste your time on this book. I went over to the other side made it back I will admit that I had been properly warned Liana, others You read The Fountainhead because many other readers have, before you its a book as popular as One Hundred Years of Solitude This awful novel begins strong, climaxes early no pun intended with an insipid rape scene, then s all downhill The tones mismatch, but not in an interesting way, but dull Is there, indeed, a tone I don t think so The androids which make up the ensemble of characters are as vanilla as the writing itself No, it is not badly written, so much as its deceitful some parts are alright, reminiscent of the boring bits in The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe others are droll, ridiculously redundant, you try to scan the pages for somethingdifferent The impulse to read on, however, IS there, just as the direction of the novel becomes hopeless it becomes a harrowing chore since there are just so many other books out there to choose from It s a novel to disenfranchise the casual reader from the world of literature It is truly incredible how all the villains become your best friends, how a hero could be so utterly boring, practically an empty husk OK Ayn, if it is indeed individualism that defeats pathetic altruism to the ground, why then make your main characters such animatrons I just really do not accept this apocalyptic vision of life Never had I had this sorta disgusting, sour taste in my mouth The Ayn Rand Experience fulfilled , and I ve read pretty awful drivel in the past Her arguments are strong just oh so wrong Odd, boring, lame, wretched experience A person can definitely go without. This book is a big epiphany getter in American high school and college students It presents a theme of pure, fierce dedication to honing yourself into a hard blade of competence and accomplishment, brooking no compromise, ignoring and dismissing the weak, untalented rabble and naysayers as you charge forth to seize your destiny You are an Army of One There is undeniable sophomoric allure to this pitch It kind of reminds me of all those teenagers into ninja stuff and wu shu and other Oriental mystical crap supported by a cottage industry of silly how to magazines and catalogs for throwing stars and whatnot I will forge myself upon the white hot anvil of hard experience into a mighty warrior or some such I read The Fountainhead in college, and so did a bunch of classmates I found that the people who were really taken with it tended to be borderline pompous cretins who had some moderate talent in something art or music, say and thought that Ayn Rand had just given them permission to uncork their amazing true spirits, that only an over adherence to social convention was holding them back from greatness Uh, no that s not what s holding you back from greatnessIt reminds me of how so many students really relate to Holden Caulfield, when the real Holden would think they were total phonies.To be fair, Rand s ideas about the supremacy of self reliance, the false comfort of altruism, the exaltation of a gritty and decidedly male competence, the sublimeness of pure laissez faire capitalism they are interesting to consider Not making excuses, getting off your ass and working to become really good at something that s in line with your true nature, staying true to your personal ideals of what Quality is, not compromising those ideals for expediency, fear, or social pressure these are workable ideas in themselves However, they are put on a ridiculously high and isolated pedestal in Rand s work.If children did not exist in this world and life was entirely about your career, maybe I could agree a little But only a little Her worldview is just too cold and transactional and rigid and productivity oriented She s a libertarian wet dream, I guess, and I feel the same way about them both some thought provoking ideas there, but I don t see it working at all as a broad basis for any kind of world I d want to live in.Oh yeah, and to circle back for a bit to the actual novel the prose is wooden, and characters are flat, and it is twice as long as necessary Maybe three times as long It s basically a giant propaganda tract But it has a surprisingly strong grip on a certain stratum of the American consciousness, so I think it s still an interesting read in that respect In order to invest the time in it though, I think you have to be the literary equivalent of the film buff who eagerly takes in B movies as well in order to savor their peculiar inverse contributions to the art form. This book is the equivalent of a drunk, eloquent asshole talking to you all night at a bar You know you should just leave and you could never explain later why you didn t, but you just sit there listening to the guy ramble on It s all bullshit, and his arguments defending, say, his low key but all consuming misogyny aren t that good and don t even really make sense, but just for a second you find yourself thinking, Huh, the man might have a point before you catch yourself and realize that no, he is just an asshole You feel dirty and bad afterwards, realizing how close you came to the abyss, but there was that one second where, for some reason, his selfish, arrogant stances, which have hardened into granite truth for him, bluntly force you into a momentary empathy with his ideas ironically, the one thing he will never, no matter how many shots of Jameson you buy him, give you The only real difference between the drunk at the bar and The Fountainhead is that the drunk probably wouldn t go so far as claiming, when relating an account of rape, that the woman wanted it, even craved it Ayn Rand goes there while remaining perfectly true to her Objectivism bullshit At least the drunk might buy you a drink Ayn Rand would probably object to it on philosophical grounds. I had not really paid much attention to Ayn Rand, darling of the conservatives very surprisingly, actually until I began reading her biography When I asked around to see who had actually read any of her work, I found only a few, but lots of opinions about Rand herself Often those comments ascribed beliefs to Rand that were at opposite poles of the spectrum, from conservative to radical, individualist to Nazi fascist Obviously another case of what I call the De Toqueville syndrome, where everyone pretends to have read a famous book and to know what the author stood for, but has no firsthand reading knowledge Her biography revealed a complex and very interesting individual, so it was time to dig into her works personally The Fountainhead tells the story of Howard Roark, an architect Thrown out of Stanton School of Architecture for his refusal to adhere to the standards of the past the dean views Roark as a rebel who opposes all the rules of architecture and his society s view of art that is representation of what has been revered in the past and for turning in assignments that represented a complete break from the past The conversation with the dean, who tried to persuade Roark to come back into the fold, represents the central theme of the book, the conflict between those who are realitycentered against those who define their lives through the eyes of other people Roark seeks employment with Cameron, an architect whose designs tried to incorporate using the advantages of new materials, e.g., a skyscraper should look tall, not just like a twenty story brick building trying to look like a renaissance house Cameron began to design buildings the way he wanted rather than how his clients demanded His business dwindled to nothing, but he was sought out by Roark Following Cameron s retirement, Roark seeks employment as a draftsman in a large architectural firm, where he gets a break by sketching a house that breaks with tradition completely but is just what the client wants Roark is a brilliant but struggling iconoclast, while his rival and former classmate Peter Keating rises to the top of his profession by using obsequiousness, manipulation, and deception His primary concern is how he is perceived by others He designs by copying from the past, never thinking independently Both men are in love with Dominique Falcon, a brilliant, passionate woman, who falls in love with Roark, admires his genius, but who is convinced his genius has no chance in a corrupt world The villain of the book is Ellsworth Toohey, an architectural critic of note, who denounces Roark for his failure to adhere to the accepted standards of the day Toohey believes that the individual must sacrifice his independence to the will of others, i.e society or the group Toohey is employed by Gail Wynand, a publisher whose paper caters to the lowest common denominator to gain power He comes to admire Roark and must then decide whether he will continue to pander to popular taste or live according to his higher standards Rand and her novels have been vilified by the left wing as reactionary and praised by conservatives as brilliant and influential Frankly, I cannot understand how conservatives can be so enad of this work that celebrates independence and the rejection of tradition and normal morality She celebrated atheism, a kind of free love, very strong women, and a rejection of parental values and social norms She abhorred the subordination of reason to faith, of surrendering one s own thinking to the beliefs of others She despised the religious believer who without questioning adopts the religious beliefs of his parents, conforming without thinking Morality becomes something practical and relative For example, Roark dynamites a government building project that has been altered, so he can gain access to the courts since the government cannot be sued Roark really doesn t care what other people think He has such strong personal will that he will just do what he thinks is right He also pals around with one of the construction workers who admires him because he is the only architect that understands construction, and, indeed, Roark makes the point that he loves engineering and building That sounds like sixties liberalism than what I hear conservatives espouse Rand is clearly a romantic who believed that man can live up to an ideal, and reason can help them achieve the independence and the happiness that depends on that independence What infuriates liberals, as far as I can gather, was her unfailing adherence to capitalism I suppose conservatives latched on to her vigorous rejection of collectivism, no doubt related to her childhood experiences under Communism This is not to say Rand celebrates nonconformity for its own sake That is simply another form of conformity because it s living one s life in reaction to the standards of others The conformist must learn the beliefs of others to adhere to them the nonconformist must learn the standards so as to avoid adhering to them Both groups are psychological dependents Rand celebrates the independent thinker, the individualist who lives on his own terms The individualist creates his own standards and adheres to them regardless of what others do or think He has a commitment to reason and facts Roark represents the great innovator struggling against a profoundly conservative society against the traditionalist who says, It was never done this way, so it can t be good The climax of the book is Roark s speech to the court when he is on trial I wish to come here and say that I am a man who does not exist for others The world is perishing from an orgy of self sacrificing He represents a complete rejection of altruism, the doctrine which demands that man live for others and place others above self It s truly a shame when books and authors get labeled as conservative or liberal, communist or democrat and then judged on the basis of the label Read the book make up your own mind