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Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or colors
used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.
Rand associates granite with Roark’s character. Granite
symbolizes his external and internal features. Like the rock, Roark’s
face, body, and mind are hard, rare, unchanging, and beautiful.
Roark, however, is even stronger than the rock that symbolizes him.
In a number of scenes, we see Roark breaking granite or using it
for his designs. When Dominique first sees Roark at a granite quarry
she wishes the drilling would hurt and destroy Roark, but by the
end of the novel, Roark’s ability to shape the granite according
to his desires pleases her. The novel believes in the absolute supremacy
of man, and consequently it rejoices when man triumphs over nature.
Ice symbolizes Dominique. Rand describes Dominique’s body
as fragile and angular. The clothes that Dominique wears either
glitter like ice, shine like glass, or are the color of water. Wynand
gives Dominique a diamond necklace made to look like loose pieces
of ice scattered on her cool skin. Ice also reflects her personality
at the beginning of the novel—blank and frigid. Once Roark warms Dominique’s
spirit, the associations between her and ice grow infrequent and
In The Fountainhead, the Banner symbolizes
the worst elements of society and mass culture. The Banner reflects
and feeds the public’s poor taste. In The Fountainhead only
individuals are noble, so anything designed for a group is necessarily
ugly, crude, and ignorant. Wynand realizes this fact at the very
end of the novel when he tries to make the Banner into
an honorable machine and finally sees that the newspaper cannot
elevate public opinion to something noble.
Ace your assignments with our guide to The Fountainhead!