Tag Archives: Ayn Rand

I finished The Fountainhead

[Spoilers ahoy]

…and now know what all the fuss is about. While long, the book justifies its length by offering extensive studies in power and motivation. It’s as much the story of Roark and individualism as it is about Toohey and his power-building. I’ll be posting more notes about the book in the following days. It has given me plenty to think about.

As a prelude to the upcoming posts:

The guys in the old punk group Code of Honor may not have liked Roark, but they certainly identified with his worldview. Witness their song “Code of Honor” and its lyrics about being “your own advisor” and keeping “your own counsel.” Did Roark do both of those things? You bet. Did he maintain that his “self determination and his honor are more important than [his] immediate life”? Considering that he dynamites the building–his building– that Keating and co botched and stands trial for it, yes. He staked his reputation on everything he built and never once tried to justify himself. Him and political punkers have plenty in common. More to come later.

The Fountainhead vs “My Way” vs Don Draper

While I’m about a quarter of the way through Rand’s novel The Fountainhead, it’s become clear that its musical equivalent is Frank Sinatra’s (or Sid Vicious’s, depending on your frame of reference) song “My Way.” Roark does everything his way or he doesn’t do it at all. He equates compromise with treason and doesn’t care about material success so long as he gets things his way. He’s as selfless as he is selfish, for he forsakes money as easily as he forsakes commissions for projects he doesn’t like.

Howard Roark is as monolithic as they come, as stubborn as Neil Young, and as driven as Don Draper. The three of them have plenty in common, for they are more devoted to their art than than they are to anything else. Of course, only one of those men is real, but all three share the drive to satisfy their artistic ambitions.

As I continue reading, my questions are:

Can Roark find success as an architect?
Will he ever compromise?
How will people react to Roark taking common construction jobs?
What happens between Peter, Dominique, and Katie?