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The Fountainhead

Ayn Rand

Part III: Chapters 5–9

Part III: Chapters 1–4

Part IV: Chapters 1–5

Summary: Chapter 5

He was not the corrupt publisher of a popular empire. He was an aristocrat aboard a yacht. He looked, she thought, like what one believes an aristocrat to be when one is young: a brilliant kind of gaiety without guilt.

(See Important Quotations Explained)

Wynand and Dominique return to New York and Wynand goes to see Keating. He offers Keating $250,000 and the Stoneridge contract in exchange for Dominique. After a moment’s hesitation, Keating accepts. Later, he feels an immense grief over his loss and realizes that he loves Dominique. Toohey dislikes the idea of a union between Dominique and Wynand, two people who are potentially very dangerous to him. Dominique goes to visit Roark, who is now working at a construction site in Clayton, Ohio. She finds him working late and tells him her plans. Roark remembers that Henry Cameron hated Wynand. Dominique’s news pains Roark, but he does not object. He and Dominique talk with an easy intimacy, but their time together is very painful for her.

Summary: Chapter 6

Ike, a member of Toohey’s new Council of American Writers, reads his play at an informal meeting. The play is awful, but like Toohey’s young architects, the young writers congratulate each other on their mediocre talent. With Toohey’s help, they have become the nation’s literary elite. In his column, Toohey comes out in support of modern architecture. In Europe, more and more architects are designing pale imitations of Henry Cameron’s buildings, and Toohey approves of this trend. Modern architecture, he argues, is now a cohesive and organized style. This change in tastes hurts Keating, whose works are all combinations of other styles. Francon retires and Keating picks a lazy designer named Neil Dumont as his new partner. The firm begins to slip.

Summary: Chapter 7

When Dominique returns to New York, Wynand wants a quick, private ceremony. Dominique, however, wants a huge public wedding, as crass and vulgar as possible. They get married in an elaborate ceremony at an exclusive hotel and Dominique wears a long black dress. The Banner is flooded with letters denouncing Wynand’s marriage to a divorced and decadent woman.

Summary: Chapter 8

Wynand and Dominique don’t leave their penthouse for two weeks. Although Dominique never forgets that Wynand represents everything evil in the world, she finds his heart and soul somehow heroic. Whenever Dominique asks about Wynand’s newspapers, he coldly responds that he will never apologize for the Banner. In the spring, Wynand leaves for a publisher’s convention. When he returns, Dominique brings him to see the play of one of Toohey’s protégées, which the Banner has highly praised. Dominique forces Wynand to face the world he created. She calls them both traitors—herself for sacrificing happiness in order to escape the world, and Wynand for sacrificing his integrity in order to control it. Wynand admits that he hates the idea of perfection. There is no such thing as a perfectly honorable man, he claims, and he has spent a great deal of money and time trying to prove it.

Summary: Chapter 9

Wynand tells Dominique that he plans to erect a building of great beauty in Hell’s Kitchen. Dominique warns Wynand about Toohey, who has slowly replaced much of the staff of the Banner with his favorites. Dominique says that Wynand is trying to assume control of the paper so that he can control the world. Wynand only laughs at her warning. At times, Wynand and Dominique barely speak. When Wynand tells Dominique that he loves her, she thinks of Roark. Dominique apologizes to Wynand for marrying him but not loving him. Wynand does not care and replies that he is happy. He has never loved anything before and she gives his life meaning.

Analysis: Chapters 5–9

In these chapters Toohey’s small efforts start to accumulate and gain momentum, and Rand likens Toohey’s machinations to events following the Russian Revolution of 1917. Toohey begins to grow more powerful in a series of moves that mimic the rise of Russian dictator Joseph Stalin in the 1920s. Stalin worked to replace all the men in the lowly positions in the Communist party. When elections came, Stalin’s opponent Trotsky found himself ousted by a party of Stalin loyalists. Once Stalin came to power, he eliminated great numbers of able and distinguished men so that no one could challenge him. Similarly, Toohey tries to create a world where men like Roark and Mallory are not only ignored but actively destroyed. Toohey’s followers and protégées increase in number, and although they are all substandard men, they become very prominent with the support of a sensationalist press controlled by Toohey. As Dominique realizes, Toohey has begun weeding out the talented people from Wynand’s staff and replacing them with his own mediocre people. Although Wynand is officially the boss, Toohey slowly attacks Wynand’s base of power and even turns the newspaper staff against Wynand.

Keating’s cynical decision to sell his wife to Wynand marks the end of his brief happiness, and with this display of weakness and amorality his fortunes begin to change. In only a few chapters, Keating gives up a woman he loves, finds that Toohey no longer has time for him, and enters a period of mediocrity unusual even for him. Early in the novel, Keating’s and Roark’s careers were juxtaposed, but now Keating is never mentioned in the same breath with Roark’s name. Toohey, who built Keating’s career by praising him in the newspaper, now distances himself from his protégé by embracing a philosophy of architecture that contradicts everything Keating has ever designed. Consistent with his philosophy, Toohey thinks of Keating not as a human being, but as a pawn that must move wherever Toohey’s whim commands. Keating can no longer rely on Katie, for she has capitulated to her uncle and become a broken woman. Keating has always drawn his strength from the praise and loyalty of others, and once they leave him he finds himself with no inner resources.

Wynand, on the other hand, regains the convictions of his youth and becomes stronger as Dominique’s influence begins to chip away at his disillusionment. Although Dominique never gets Wynand to express regret for his misdeeds, she does make him reconsider his actions, and leaves him primed to come over to Roark’s side. She helps pull Wynand’s true heart and spirit from beneath the ruthlessness and forcefulness that mark his way of doing business.

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