The Fountainhead

Main Ideas

Key Facts

Main Ideas Key Facts

full title  The Fountainhead

author   Ayn Rand

type of work   Novel

genre   Allegory; Objectivist fiction; novel of ideas

language   English

time and place written   New York, 19381942

date of first publication   May, 1943

publisher   Bobbs-Merrill, New York.

narrator   The omniscient narrator provides psychological analyses of the characters and exhibits a heavy bias toward the novel’s hero, Howard Roark

point of view   Third person

tone   Formal; moralizing; didactic

tense   Present, with occasional forays into past tense when explaining the background of some characters

setting (time)  19221939

setting (place)   New York City, Connecticut, Monadnock Valley, Massachusets, Ohio

protagonist   Howard Roark

major conflict   Howard Roark’s genius and striking architectural vision clashes with the mediocre society around him, represented by Ellsworth Toohey

rising action   Keating succeeds financially while Roark struggles; Roark and Dominique meet and fall in love; Roark agrees to design a government housing complex on Keating’s behalf; in Roark’s absence, Keating makes changes to get the commission

climax   Roark bombs the housing complex to prevent the corruption of his designs

falling action   Roark successfully defends himself at trial for the bombing; Roark and Dominique marry

themes   The primacy of the individual; the importance of reason; the cold ferocity of love

motifs   Technical progress; journalism; labor

symbols   Granite; ice; the Banner

foreshadowing   When Roark finishes the Stoddard Temple, Roark must defend himself in a lawsuit.