The Fountainhead

by: Ayn Rand

Part IV: Chapters 6–10

Summary Part IV: Chapters 6–10

Wynand’s awakening comes at just the right time. Keating feels too weary to act on his repentance, but Wynand throws himself into the fight against society with vigor. Since the emergence of the Banner, Wynand has believed that he controls the world, and when he finds that the world actually controls him, he spares no effort to fight back. Wynand succeeds where Keating fails because Wynand was secretly ready for an awakening, whereas Keating’s realizations take him completely by surprise. Keating has not marshaled the tools or desire to adapt to Roark’s way of living.

Interestingly, Rand never provides a personal history of her protagonist, Howard Roark. Rand details extensive personal histories for Keating, Toohey, and Wynand in the sections named after them but never explains where or how Roark grew up, even though the fourth book of the novel is named after him. We know only that he comes from a poor family, though we know nothing about his parents or upbringing. Roark’s mysterious past makes his story applicable to everyone, as if Rand wants to suggest that background has nothing to do with genius or principle. It also makes Roark the perfect man. He has no history because he does not change. He is born a creator. His lack of a family makes him even more independent and free from the influence of others. Anything that is important in his past, present, or future resides in his buildings.

This last section does, however, expand our view of Roark in two important ways: we get to look inside both his heart and his head. Rand does not want Roark to be a completely isolated human, and thus, in this section, we see him love Dominique and Wynand. Roark also makes two key declarations about his beliefs in life—the first on Wynand’s yacht, in Chapter 11, and the second during the Cortlandt trial, in Chapter 18—that underscore The Fountainhead’s message of independence and egoism.