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The Fountainhead

Ayn Rand

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.