The Fountainhead - Essay Sample on the Novel

Published: 2017-09-03
The Fountainhead - Essay Sample on the Novel
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Literature Analysis American literature
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 715 words
6 min read


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The novel starts by giving out a clear picture of how the characters used to relate to one another. Some consider Ayn Rand epic Howard Roark as a self-centered narcissist incapable of functioning in society because of his disregard of ethics, cultural values and norms. Others characterize Roark as a symbol of Aristotles Proud Man (Nichomachean Ethics, Book 4, chapter 3), as one who embraces Mans pursuit of happiness as a noble goal. Several themes are used in the Novel, for instance, Conformity, individualism, collectivism and independence. Many of these themes were exemplified by people who have discovered great things by thinking outside societys norm. They include, Oprah Winfrey, Lucretia Mott, Bill Gates and Frank Lloyd Wright. The behavior of human character is demonstrated in the novel by how other characters relate to Howard Roark. He has been used by the author as a man of integrity and independence


Ayan Rand referred to the philosophy as Objectivism since there was a latest notion of objectivity. This meant that the effort to obliterate the knower out of reality so as to make his consciousness a realism. There is conflict and contrast between the first and second handers. One of the instances is when Roark embodies Rands concept of objectivism as drawn from Aristotles Proud Man, which states that every man is an end to himself and not a means to an end for other people. For any living organism to be satisfied, Rand challenges that he requires the processing act whether in need of knowledge, food or air. Use of correct intellectual processes can help the mind grasp facts (Fountainhead, Part 4) Roark tries to bring modernism in a rather dull society which is full of traditionalists. Rand challenges one must exist for his own sake and must not sacrifice him for others nor sacrifice others for self-interests. The scene where Dominique and Roark are involved in a rape escapade has elicited criticism as being controversial and one that puts female under the mens control. Rand is seen as one who looks down upon women, an act that is contrary to her own gender. This was according to an author Brown miller who criticized the rape scene.

In objectivism, there is the aspect of Ethics and Reason where Reason is a mans method of gaining knowledge by learning. It is the key conceptual faculty to man as he relies on it for acquiring knowledge. Objectivism rejects mysticism owing to it being a reliance on a higher power to knowledge as man finds moral compass and strength in self. It also rejects determinism where a persons fate is determined by an outside force such as God or the place of education. (Nichomachean Ethics, book 4). Rands concept of hedonistic selfishness is a guide to pleasure and self-interest as it distinguishes good from evil with regard to selfishness. She affirms that self-assessment and sound judgment are vital to a man that actualizes the good and whatever gives you pleasure which is the standard of morality. I believe that the egoist is the most moral person and happiest as he is more productive and happy person. One who has a sound independent judgment on lifes principles and values.


To sum up, Rand as well as Aristotle believes that the Proud Mans moral discernment is shaped by his perception of virtuous behavior. As Rand puts it in the novel, virtuous behavior is guided by rational selfishness where the purpose of mans actions in society is to further his own happiness. Although his moral compass is guided by reason, he should not sacrifice others to achieve his goals. Alternatively, Rand believes that people driven by hedonistic self-interest sacrifice others in order to achieve his own goals. Rand believes that altruists lose a sense of their own identity when they dedicate themselves to others as a validity and justification for their existence. Her concept on the Jesuit philosophy is not in direct concept with her ideas as we should always be Men and Women for others. God would not reject Rands concept of self-interest as one need to love self first so that the same can be extended to others. Her ideas are provocative and polarizing as a lot of ideas seem counterintuitive to ethics and common values.

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