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The Fountainhead

Ayn Rand

Peter Keating

Characters Peter Keating

Rand has little sympathy for the rise and fall of Peter Keating. Keating starts off as a young and attractive architecture student, and although he is clearly Roark’s inferior, their lives and careers advance in parallel fashion. By the novel’s end, however, Keating is a weak and alcoholic nobody, the exact fate once reserved for talented men like Henry Cameron. Whereas Cameron suffers because of others, however, Keating is a victim of his own mistakes. Unlike Wynand, who suffers for turning his back on his own potential, Keating is born mediocre and weak and never had a chance at greatness. Instead, Keating suffers for denying his own mediocrity and for thinking himself too good for a modest but happy life. In The Fountainhead, character determines fate, and the moment Keating becomes dishonest as well as weak, he dooms himself to unhappiness.