The Fountainhead: Howard Roark and Objectivism

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  • Topic: The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand, Objectivism
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  • Published : October 8, 1999
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The Fountainhead: Howard Roark and Objectivism

In the novel The Fountianhead, Ayn Rand uses the main character, Howard Roark, to express her daringly original philosophy--Objectivism. Like Rousseau's "Natural Man" in The Social Contract, Ayn Rand presents Howard as a man, as man should be-- strong-willed, self-sufficient , self-confident, and self motivated. A man who, in spite of cruelty from an unaccepting society, fights to work and live as only he chooses to do so. Through the course of the story the reader sees how Roark completely disregards the norms and principles that define society. He does this to maintain the idea that true happiness cannot be achieved through the standards of others. Rather, happiness can only be attained by subsisting on one's own canon, never for a moment yielding the integrity of his/her ego. This idea, in short, is the basis of Objectivism.

In my opinion, I think Ayn Rand's philosophy is completely ridiculous. According to The Fountainhead our entire society is based upon the unchanging principles made up and maintained solely by powerful, influential old men (Elsworth Toohey). Furthermore, Miss Rand dictates that true happiness can only be found by defying these principles. I would have to say that although Miss Rand's Objetivism works well with in the realm of the book, I fail to see it in the "real world." In the "real world" these underlying principles are ever- changing. Brought out by constantly advancing ideas, technology, and influences, old conventions become replaced everyday. I fail to see the social beauracracy that Miss Rand seems to believe there is. Besides even if it did exist, I don't see how intentionally going against it would make anyone happier.

Although I have to say that I did not agree with Ayn Rand's ideas, I did however find The Fountainhead an excellent read. The story-telling itself makes it a book that is hard to put down. I would definitely recommend it to...
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