The Fountainhead (Summary) by Ayn Rand


This is the summary/review for the great 1943 book The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, one of my favorites!!

The story revolves around 2 people Keating and Roark later joined by Dominique, they both attended the same prestigious architectural school. Keating graduates at the top of his class (with scornful assistance from Roark) and becomes a prominent partner at the firm of Guy Francon, Dominique’s father. Roark, however, is expelled from the school for refusing to allow the curriculum to dictate how he should create his architecture and follow traditional ways. Roark finds refuge with Henry Cameron, an architect who shares Roark’s vision but whose career has been destroyed by his own unwillingness to compromise, mostly like the Roark himself.

While Keating and Francon had great success for a time reproducing classic architecture , Roark kept working hard in Cameron’s dying firm. Cameron, defeated by society, soon dies, and despite some initial commissions, Roark is unable to sustain his own firm, and takes a job at a granite quarry. It is here that he catches the eye of Dominique Francon, who has been impressed with the buildings Roark has created. Dominique maneuvers Roark to her house, and invites Roark to rape her (this scene has been described as “rape by engraved invitation”), beginning their love affair. Roark soon receives an important commission and returns to New York.

Keating has fallen in love with a plain young woman, but his mother convinces him to submit to Guy Francon’s desire for Keating and Dominique to fall in love. Dominique badgers Keating into marrying her rather than the woman he truly loves, as a way of testing Roark. In addition, Dominique embarks on a quest to hinder Roark’s professional career, because she feels that the world is unworthy of Roark’s creations.

In the meantime, through the machinations of Ellsworth Toohey, Roark receives a commission to build a temple to the human spirit. Roark creates a building with a nude statue of Dominique as its centerpiece, aware that he is falling into a trap. Toohey convinces Roark’s client that the building is in bad taste and poorly designed, and when Roark refuses to alter the building he is sued for damages. Roark proudly refuses to offer any defense, and the money he loses in the suit is used to destroy the artistic integrity of his building.

Gail Wynand happens across photographs of the temple in its original form, and is aghast when he learns that his own newspaper played a crucial role in the building’s destruction. Again through the work of Toohey, Dominique and Wyanand meet, and Wynand falls in love with Dominique. Dominique, in an effort to further test Roark and to punish Keating, divorces Keating and marries Gail Wynand. Eventually, Roark meets Wynand through Dominique, and the two men become friends, although Wynand is unaware of Roark’s relationship with Dominique.

In the meantime, Keating has suffered a lot because of his ingenuine architecture and no creativity of his own. Keating urges desperately for Roark’s help in designing a major skyscraper he has been commissioned to build; Roark agrees to design the building, but on the condition that Keating not allow any changes to the design to take place. Keating makes a valiant effort, but is unable to prevent his associates from altering Roark’s design, and the building is not built according to Roark’s wishes. Roark, in a calculated move, blows up the building and allows Dominique to be seriously wounded in the explosion.

With Roark’s reputation in jeopardy, Wynand insists that his papers defend Roark to the fullest. However, Toohey’s influence prevails, and the popularity of Wynand’s papers plunges precipitously. Eventually, Wynand allows his partners to override his insistences, a move he realizes is suicidal for his pride and personal integrity, and his papers regain a portion of their popularity. Dominique finally reveals her true love for Roark, and leaves Wynand.

Roark, at his trial, explains at length about why he acted like that, essentially speaking in Rand’s voice. Since he had pleaded not guilty but then admitted to his crime, the jury does not believe he understood that what he did was wrong, and Roark is acquitted. The novel ends with Roark accepting a final commission from Wynand to build a skyscraper, as a monument to who Roark is and who Wynand feels he could have been. Dominique realizes that Roark has passed his final test, and she returns to him for good.

A happy ending finally.. Indeed!! Great book
Look more on Fountainhead : More on Fountain Head

Read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Summary) by Rowling

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5 Responses

  1. Shane says:

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  2. Shane says:

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  3. Shane says:

    In paragraph 6 you stated that Roark designs the skyscraper for Keating but it is changed and he blows that up. Maybe i’m incorrect but i thought that Roark helps him build the sky scraper, causing him to recieve a large number of commissions. Then later he designs a low cost housing complex for Keating and that is altered too much so he blows that up with the aid of Dominique….

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  5. Anonymous says:

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