Within “Old School” by Tobias Wolff, the narrator reads Ayn Rand’s “Fountainhead” numerous times. He can’t seem to stop reading it and fantasizes about living his life the way of the main character, Howard Roark. Between a very strong attitude, not giving in to anyone but himself, leading to success as an architect and a lover, Howard Roark is a king. As a teenage boy, the narrator wishes he could be such a hardcore lady-killer. Although, after meeting Rand and hearing her speak about her viewpoints, he begins to see the flaws of objectivism. “It had dawned on me that I didn’t really know anyone like Roark or Dominique. Though Ayn Rand insisted that such people existed and that she herself was one, my own experience of them was purely literary” (Wolff 93). After feeling offended that Ayn Rand would misjudge his own family in a distasteful way before even knowing them, the speaker’s outlook on objectivism is turned around. He beings to really think through her theory and realizes that in order for everyone to live an objectivist life no one would carry many feelings nor would they be compassionate or considerate. “My first reaction was shock—at her unfairness not only to the writer but to a character for whom I had a greater liking. Wretched eunuch, she’d called Jake Barnes, as if the fact of such a wound, of woundedness itself, made... [continues]
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