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The Fountainhead

Ayn Rand

Part II: Chapters 6–10

Part II: Chapters 1–5

Part II: Chapters 11–15

Summary: Chapter 6

With the money from the Enright commission, Roark reopens his office. He agrees to go to a cocktail party with Austen Heller when Heller mentions that Dominique will attend. When Roark enters, the party’s hostess tries to talk to him, but finds him insolent. Heller introduces Roark to Dominique. She engages him in a polite conversation, and neither of them mentions their previous encounter. Dominique feels that Roark is testing her. Toohey spends the evening watching Roark carefully.

Summary: Chapter 7

Dominique’s next column attacks the Enright House, but Toohey accuses her of actually subtly praising Roark. One of Roark’s potential clients, Joel Sutton, grows anxious and asks Dominique if he should hire Roark. She tells him that Roark will create a beautiful building for him, but Sutton wants something safe. Dominique recommends Keating. That night, Dominique visits Roark. She coldly states that she wants him, but that she hates him because her desire for him is so strong. She promises to do everything in her power to destroy him because she needs to test his strength. Roark understands her need and admires her.

Summary: Chapter 8

When they lay in bed together it was—as it had to be . . . an act of violence. It was surrender, made the more complete by the force of their resistance.

(See Important Quotations Explained)

Over the next few months, Dominique earns four commissions for Keating. Toohey visits her and proposes an alliance against Roark. She agrees. Dominique and Roark visit each other often, always at night. Dominique revels in Roark’s strength and in her inability to resist him. By day, Dominique devotes her energies to destroying Roark. Roger Enright, furious with Dominique, takes her to see the unfinished Enright House. Standing within the building’s frame makes Dominique euphoric. She writes an article saying no one should be allowed to live in the building. Enright is bewildered by this hidden praise of Roark. Keating cannot decipher Dominique’s actions. Everyone in New York thinks that Dominique is in love with Keating, but in private she refuses to talk to him.

Summary: Chapter 9

When Toohey was a child, he hated anyone distinctive. He tried to destroy the unique and disguised his cruelty behind words of humility. To Toohey’s surprise, people believed him, and he soon had a following. At Harvard, Toohey was especially popular among wealthy heirs. As an adult, he began preaching submitting oneself to the needs of others. Upon coming to New York, he became a vocational adviser. He rarely counseled students to follow their dreams, encouraging them to pursue undesirable careers instead. Toohey then started publishing and became a celebrity.

Summary: Chapter 10

In June of 1929, the Enright House opens. Roark receives more commissions. He signs a contract with a man named Anthony Cord to build a fifty-story skyscraper in Manhattan, his first office building. A man named Kent Lansing approaches Roark. Lansing wants Roark to design a luxurious hotel for Lansing’s corporation. After weeks of vicious debating, Lansing wins over the rest of the corporation’s board and they select Roark to build the Aquitania Hotel.

Hopton Stoddard, one of Toohey’s dependents, wants to build a temple to religion. Toohey sees an opportunity and tells Stoddard to hire Roark. Toohey coaches Stoddard to give a speech that will win over Roark. Although Stoddard’s appearance and manner disgust Roark, Stoddard’s arguments impress him. Stoddard says he wants to build a temple to the human spirit and wants Roark to infuse it with his own soul. Roark thinks perhaps he does not understand people as well as he thought he did and agrees to design the temple.

Analysis: Chapters 6–10

Dominique and Roark’s love affair demonstrates the novel’s premise that real passion involves struggle and submission. Dominique admires Roark intensely and wants to protect him from the world’s stupidity, but because she wants to test Roark’s strength she tries to destroy him in print and rob him of his commissions. Dominique pits herself against Roark in hopes that he will foil her attempts to ruin him, which would thus disprove her cynical view of the world. Roark understands her actions perfectly, and the public antagonism between Roark and Dominique does not drive them apart, but brings them together. Dominique’s attempts to crush Roark drive the normally frigid pair to a state of ecstasy.

Rand contrasts the harsh and exquisite love of Dominique and Roark with the tender cuddling of Keating and Katie. Keating and Katie always treat each other with consideration and consequently their love feels flat and devoid of real sexual charge. They also lack the intuitive understanding of one another that Dominique and Roark enjoy. Roark always understands what motivates Dominique’s behavior, even when she acts in ways that most people would find perverse or inexplicable. Keating seems to misunderstand the most basic facts about Katie, not noticing, for example, that her very soul is being threatened by her uncle. Even in love affairs, The Fountainhead favors the strong over the weak, praising the violence of Roark’s relationship over the meekness of Keating’s relationship.

Rand shows us that Toohey’s lifework will never succeed. He spends his days trying to destroy the exceptional. He wants to convince the world that mediocrity is the greatest attribute, thereby robbing mankind of its idealism and ambition. However, Toohey can never destroy every genius and he can never persuade everyone to aim for mediocrity. Theoretical sympathy for the masses motivates Toohey, who sees the accomplishments of great men as insults to the millions who cannot achieve greatness in their own right. Tooley’s motivation is also personal. He knows that he will never join the ranks of the elite, so instead of wasting his energy attempting to join them, he attempts to destroy them. He believes that if he can convince the world that mediocrity is the greatest of attributes, if he can rob mankind of its idealism and hope, if he can flatten all of society into a smooth mass of unexceptional men, then he can become a great man. In order to achieve his goals, Toohey employs the language and arguments of religion and socialism. Rand was both a staunch atheist and a great antisocialist. She found that both religion and socialism ask humans to renounce themselves for a greater good. Such renunciation of the ego is dangerous, argues Rand, as it opens an individual up to manipulation. She makes both of these systems unappealing to us by making them the ideals of the repellant Toohey.

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