Book Reviews

Ayn Rand: The Fountainhead - 3

Continued from Previous Page 

Main Characters - 2 

In the previous article we got introduced to the main characters of the novel. Now let us see how the remaining characters have weaved the enchanting tapestry of the fiction. They are:

1.  Henry Cameron - An architect who serves as Roark's mentor and a symbol of integrity.
2.  Catherine Halsey - Peter Keating's fiancée and later wife.
3.  Guy Francon - Dominique's father, a wealthy businessman and former architectural critic.
4.  Austen Heller - A wealthy, influential industrialist and friend of Wynand.
5.  Mike Donnigan - Roark's construction worker friend.
6.  Steven Mallory - A sculptor and friend of Roark's who faces personal struggles.

Henry Cameron is Howard Roark's teacher. He is a brilliant builder whose unique designs were turned down by the public. He is a stubborn and proud man who won't change his mind or try to please everyone. He dies poor and unknown, but not before leaving Roark with his heritage. 

Catherine Halsey has been Peter Keating's girlfriend for a long time. She is a shy, sweet girl who loves Keating very much. Ellsworth Toohey, her uncle, gets her to become a social worker and give up her dreams of getting married and having a family. She finally marries Gus Webb, who worked for Toohey, but she still loves Keating. 

Guy Francon is Dominique Francon's father. He is a partner at the most prestigious architecture firm in New York, Francon & Heyer. He is a successful businessman who cares more about tradition and image than being unique and good. He likes Roark, but he doesn't like the way he dresses and tells him to dress more like everyone else. 

Austen Heller is a writer and Roark's friend. He is one of the few people who understands and respects Roark's intelligence and honesty. He is a strong supporter of individual rights and a strong critic of communism. He gets Roark to design his house, and it ends up being one of Roark's most famous works. 

Mike Donnigan works in construction and is Roark's friend. He admires how good Roark is at building and how much he loves it. He is a straightforward, honest person who knows the value of hard work and respect. He helps Roark in many ways, like getting him jobs, testifying on his behalf in court, and keeping his buildings safe from vandalism.

Steven Mallory is Roark's friend a sculptor. He shares Roark's artistic vision and wild spirit. He is smart and sensitive, but the rest of the world doesn't care about him or treat him well. He tries to kill Toohey because he sees him as the personification of evil, but he fails. He would  work with Roark on a number of projects in the future, such as the Stoddard Temple and the Wynand Building.

Ayn Rand was a controversial and significant figure in the fields of philosophy and literature. She was born on February 2, 1905, in St. Petersburg, Russia, and lived through many terrible periods in history. Rand's ideas ignited several arguments and grabbed the imaginations of millions due to her strong belief in individualism and capitalism. Her writings have had a lasting impact on the literary world.

Rand was born in Russia to a middle-class household as Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum. Her father was a successful pharmacist who gave her a luxurious upbringing. Rand had outstanding intelligence and a hunger for information from an early age. She excelled in her academics and developed a love of literature and philosophy.

Rand witnessed directly the effects of the Russian Revolution and the subsequent communist rule when she was 16 years old. These incidents molded her perception of collectivism and influenced her philosophical views for the rest of her life. Frustrated by the suffocating environment in Soviet Russia, Rand sought refuge in a country that prized individual liberty: the United States.

Rand landed in New York City in 1926, hoping to become a writer. Her path to success, however, was anything but simple. She faced various problems, including language barriers and financial difficulties. Despite these challenges, Rand persisted and was able to acquire jobs as a typist and script reader while pursuing her writing profession.

Rand wrote her debut novel, "We the Living," in 1936, which described the hardships and horrors of life under communism. Despite its lack of initial financial success, the work established Rand as a fervent advocate for independence and personal freedom.

Her breakthrough came in 1943 with the publication of "The Fountainhead." This work explored topics of egoism and creativity, depicting the hardships of an architect who refused to compromise his artistic vision. "The Fountainhead" became a best-seller and received great acclaim, cementing Rand's role as a leading figure in American literature. The novel was made into a Hollywood blockbuster in 1949, starring Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal in lead roles. The novel's screenplay adaptation was written by Ayn Rand herself.

However, it was Rand's magnum opus, "Atlas Shrugged," released in 1957, that sealed her fame. The story depicted a dystopian future in which society's most productive members go on strike in order to protest government meddling and collectivist ideas. "Atlas Shrugged" became an instant sensation, selling millions of copies and igniting heated arguments about Rand's Objectivist theory.

Rand's philosophical theory, Objectivism, emphasizes the significance of logic, self-interest, and individuality. It promotes the pursuit of one's personal happiness and rejects compassion as a moral imperative. Rand saw selfishness as a virtue rather than a vice when defined as acting in one's rational self-interest.

Throughout her career, Rand gave several talks and wrote extensively about her theory, amassing a devoted following known as the Objectivist movement. She founded the Objectivist Newsletter and, eventually, the Ayn Rand Institute to spread her views and secure their continuation.

Despite her popularity, Rand encountered criticism from a variety of sources. Many accused her of propagating a cruel and unyielding viewpoint, while others rejected her writings as extremely basic and lacking in subtlety. Nonetheless, her influence on popular culture and political ideas cannot be overstated.

Ayn Rand died on March 6, 1982, leaving behind a considerable body of work and a lasting legacy. Her thoughts continue to resonate with people seeking an alternative to collectivism and pushing for individual rights. While Ayn Rand remains a divisive figure, there is no doubting about  her significant influence on current conversation.

Finally, Ayn Rand's biography demonstrates her unwavering dedication to individualism and personal liberty. Rand left an enormous mark on the globe, from her childhood in Russia to her eventual fame as a writer and philosopher in the United States. Her books, like "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged," continue to be significant examinations of her Objectivist ideology, challenging established ideas and generating intellectual debate. Love her or despise her, Ayn Rand's influence lives on as a prominent force in the fields of philosophy and literature.

16-Sep-2023

More by :  Priyanka Bendigiri

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