The Fountainhead: Remembering Seneca Village

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 7Although Ayn Rand's philosophy wasn't fully developed in The Fountainhead compared to where it was in Atlas Shrugged, there are some things that are consistent across her books. One of them is this: The heroes know they're the heroes, and the villains know they're the villains.This isn't how it really works. The idea that Bad People are aware they're Bad is a trope that only exists in fiction. Other than in rare and exceptional cases, everyone acts … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: Selling the Dream

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 7Howard Roark has begun his new job at the source of all evil, Francon & Heyer. As a condition of taking the job, he asked to do structural rather than ornamental work, and Keating kept his end of the bargain. Even so, it gnaws at him:The lines he drew were to be the clean lines of steel beams, and he tried not to think of what these beams would carry. It was difficult, at times. Between him and the plan of the building on which he was working stood … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: A Friend in Need

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 7Howard Roark has been left alone and jobless, again, by the forced retirement of his mentor. Luckily for him, though he's done nothing to deserve it, he has a friend.Peter Keating marches in to see his boss, Guy Francon, and tells him, "I've got to have that man." When he explains Roark's background, Francon agrees:"Oh well... well, speaking structurally, not esthetically, Cameron does give them a thorough grounding and... Of course, Cameron was … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: Why So Serious?

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 6It's not looking good for Howard Roark. He's alone in the world again, as his mentor has been forced into retirement with his health failing and his spirit broken.Meanwhile, Peter Keating's star continues to rise. Rand tells us how things are going for him in this clever metaphor:It was Peter Keating's third year with the firm of Francon & Heyer. He carried his head high, his body erect with studied uprightness; he looked like the picture of a … [Read more...]

On the Morality of: Privacy of the Dead

[Note: This post contains major spoilers for the S-Town podcast.]I've been listening to S-Town, the popular and controversial new podcast from NPR reporter Brian Reed. It was undeniably fascinating as a work of literature, a modern spin on the Southern Gothic genre. But after finishing it, I shared the concerns that others have had about it, and I wanted to write about why.The genesis of the podcast came when Reed was contacted out of the blue by John B. McLemore, a resident of a rural … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: A Randian Guide to Retirement

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 6After losing their last chance at a big commission, Henry Cameron and Howard Roark both know that the end is in sight. Finally, the day they've been dreading arrives:In February of 1925 Henry Cameron retired from practice.For a year, he had known that the day would come. He had not spoken of it to Roark, but they both knew and went on, expecting nothing save to go on as long as it was still possible. A few commissions had dribbled into their … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: The Buried Past

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 6I've mentioned Ellsworth Toohey, the sinister socialist architecture critic who turns out to be the Big Bad of this novel. Now he's taken the first step in his malevolent plan for world domination, and it's... *dramatic chord* writing a book about architecture.Sermons in Stone by Ellsworth M. Toohey was published in January of the year 1925.It had a fastidious jacket of midnight blue with plain silver letters and a silver pyramid in one corner. It … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: Know Your Customer

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 5As Peter Keating is moving up in the world, Howard Roark's career is circling the drain.In two years, Henry Cameron's firm has lost one commission after another. He's had to lay off one of his few remaining draftsmen; the others, including Roark, aren't getting paid on time. Even keeping the lights on is a burden. Worse, Cameron has begun disappearing from the office to go on benders:Cameron had lost even the shame of his agony, and had come to … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: Good Classic

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 5A year passes, and Peter Keating is moving up in the world. Through clever manipulation of office politics, he's gotten rid of everyone who had seniority on him, leaving his own path clear for promotion.The first to go is Tim Davis, the firm's star draftsman. In the guise of wanting to be helpful, Keating volunteers to do more and more of Davis' work, which Davis welcomes since it gives him the opportunity to slack off. However, it soon becomes obvious … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: A Dream Deferred

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 4Howard Roark has been working at Henry Cameron's office for a month. Cameron often comes out to loom over Roark's shoulder and glare at him, but the two of them have scarcely spoken in all that time. Finally, he calls Roark into his office:The light of the lamp fell on Cameron's cheek, on his beard, the white threads glistening, on his fist, on a corner of the drawing, its black lines bright and hard as if embossed on the paper."You're fired," … [Read more...]