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Newspaper magnate Gail Wynand is contemplating a new real estate
venture called Stoneridge. Toohey recommends Keating as the architect
for Stoneridge. When Wynand is skeptical, Toohey tells Wynand he
should meet Dominique Keating before deciding. Toohey also tells
Wynand he has a present that will convince Wynand. Later that evening,
Wynand digs into his past to find a memory that will convince him
Wynand grew up in the gang-infested Hell’s Kitchen section
of Manhattan. He had no use for the neighborhood schools and began working
as a boy at a local paper called the Gazette. When
the Gazette tried to frame an honest man, Wynand
turned to one of his journalistic idols for help. When his idol
refused to help, Wynand began to feel contempt for men of integrity.
A few years later, Wynand seized control of a local paper from a
political gang. He renamed the paper the Banner.
In its first big campaign, the paper tried to solicit money from
its readers on behalf of two people: a brilliant young scientist
and the pregnant girlfriend of an executed murderer. The donations
for the pregnant girl overwhelmed the donations for the scientist,
which indicated to Wynand what the paper should cover if he wanted
it to be popular. At the age of thirty-five, Wynand owned papers
across the United States.
Wynand now keeps a secret art gallery filled with masterpieces. After
his meeting with Toohey, Wynand finds a large crate waiting for
him. He opens it and finds Mallory’s statue of Dominique inside. Wynand
calls Toohey and agrees to meet Dominique.
One evening, Keating and Dominique talk. Keating
observes that there is no real Dominique anymore and wonders aloud
what has hap-pened to her soul. Dominique replies by asking about
Keating’s soul, observing that Keating himself has no opinions of
his own. Keating is about to agree when a phone call from Toohey
interrupts him. Toohey says Wynand wishes to meet with Dominique
to discuss Stoneridge.
When they meet, Dominique and Wynand connect instantly.
Dominique, who is just as beautiful as her statue, impresses Wynand.
She offers to sleep with Wynand if he will give the Stoneridge contract
to Keating, but Wynand correctly guesses that Dominique only makes this
offer because the thought of sleeping with him repulses her. Wynand’s
insight surprises Dominique. Later, Wynand meets Keating and Dominique
at an elegant restaurant. Wynand tells Keating that he will give
him Stoneridge in exchange for Dominique. A week later, Wynand takes
Dominique to see his art collection.
Wynand and Dominique go for a long cruise on Wynand’s
yacht, the I Do. Wynand tells Dominique that when
he was a child people had always told him he didn’t run things,
and the yacht’s name is meant to contradict those people. The cruise
is peaceful and comfortable. Wynand tells Dominique he is in love
with her and asks her to marry him. His proposal shocks Dominique.
She begins to question all of her assumptions about Wynand. When
Dominique remembers the Stoddard Temple and the Banner’s
campaign against Roark, she agrees to marry Wynand.
Wynand is the only character in The Fountainhead who
does not fit neatly into a category, and the only truly tragic one
as well. Wynand resembles Roark; both men are self-made, dynamic,
and gifted. Unlike Roark, however, he became disillusioned after
his early idols turned out to be shams. Like Toohey, Wynand sells
himself to the public for power and devotes his life to proving
his conviction that no one with true integrity actually exists.
Wynand thus belongs to both Roark and Toohey’s world, and Dominique
has a mixed reaction to Wynand because of his dual nature. Wynand’s
contempt for beauty repels Dominique, but his strength attracts
her. Wynand’s secret art gallery suggests the tragedy of a split
identity. The art gallery is Wynand’s prosthetic spirit, a substitute
for the private soul he gave up during his rise to power. The beauty
of the works in the gallery inspires and nourishes Wynand, but also
pains him. He knows that he will never put his love for beauty over
his shallow public self.
Rand times Wynand’s entrance into the narrative to maximize his
importance to the novel’s characters and events. We feel Wynand’s
power and influence from the beginning, but until now the man himself
has not appeared. When Wynand finally enters the story, we are as
surprised as Dominique to find that this shadowy figure possesses
some of the virtues The Fountainhead idealizes.
The story of Wynand’s lost idealism suggests that an encounter with Roark
will stir up old feelings in Wynand, especially because we see Roark’s
sway over other strong figures. Upon meeting Roark, the sculptor
Mallory, for example, changes his mind and decides that incorruptible
men do exist. Similarly, Dominique’s meeting with Roark causes her
to reevaluate her worldview. This evidence of Roark’s power makes
us anticipate an explosive first encounter between Roark and Wynand.
Keating’s fireside conversation with Dominique
in Chapter 2 demonstrates his ability to
think honestly and purely. At times, Keating is able to understand
that a void is inside him, although he never finds the strength
to fill that void. Keating sees Roark’s existence as an insult to his
world and its standards, but he also understands Roark’s greatness. Keating
has always hated Roark, but this hatred is just a redirected contempt
for Keating’s own weakness. Although Keating does not redeem his
flaws, his knowledge of his crimes and his grudging admiration of Roark
make him less despicable than many of his colleagues, who remain
happily ignorant of their shortcomings. Keating becomes a pitiable
figure, completely overmastered by Dominique. Although Keating provokes
our contempt, it seems that Dominique treats him with more cruelty
than he deserves.
Ace your assignments with our guide to The Fountainhead!