The fiction novel, The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand is based off of her philosophy of Objectivism. Ayn Rand defines and separates her philosophy of Objectivism into four different and distinct parts. The first part Ayn Rand explains is Metaphysics. Metaphysics is an objective reality where you only accept facts as reality and not fantasies or desires. The next part of Objectivism is Epistemology, which is reasoning by perceiving reality by using knowledge or facts as your guide. The third part is Ethics and self-interest.
The final part of Objectivism is laissez-faire capitalism, which is equal trade while the government acts as a police force only. The third part of Objectivism, Ethics and Self-Interest, is explained by Ayn Rand as “Man—every man—is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life. ” – Ayn Rand.
This quote is best represented as Individualism in Objectivism. Ayn Rand’s book, The Fountainhead, compares the ideals of individuals in society and shows how the individualists act differently and, by the end, become identified and looked upon as good when they stick to their own ideals. Howard Roark is created as the protagonist of The Fountainhead. Roark is also the best representation of Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism. Lois Cook is introduced into the book by asking Peter Keating to build an ugly house to her satisfaction, saying “Let’s be gods.
Let’s be ugly” (Cook, 241) . Both Howard Roark and Lois Cook both make their own pursuit for self-interest and to their own happiness as the highest moral purpose of their lives. Even though Lois Cook can be seen as an individual, her self-interests can be seen as immoral, which can be concluded that Lois is not an Individualist, while Howard Roark is best fit as an individualist in the eyes of Ayn Rand. When we look into the story The Fountainhead, we encounter the characteristics that both Howard Roark and Lois Cook portray.
When Ayn Rand wrote The Fountainhead, she intended to keep the syntax simple so readers could get an understanding of Objectivism and individualism. We can clearly see that the protagonist, Howard Roark, is portrayed as an objectivist and individualist, who also rejects the worst of social standards, while Lois Cook is seen as a radical, who objects the best of social standards. When we go even further into The Fountainhead, we discover that Howard Roark loves his type of modernistic design in architecture rather than referring to the older and more identifiable types of architecture from history, such as Greek or Roman architecture.
Because he prefers to modernize his own designs, he is suspended from Stanton’s institute of technology and has been removed from several jobs. Roark was offered a job to build a new bank, but he won’t change any of his own designs. The worst part about Howard Roark’s out of luck situation is that his designs are brilliant. Even Peter Keating refers to Howard Roark in needs of assistance, because Howard Roark’s designs are wonderful and unique to the eyes of people.
Even then, when Howard Roark isn’t given credit for designing the buildings, credit was all given to Keating, who didn’t have enough faith for himself to, at the least, attempt to create his own architectural designs. While we continue to look at Howard Roark, we can see that while Ayn Rand created Howard Roark, he stays as his own without sacrificing or abandoning his own beliefs to gain himself a higher status in society, and Roark only pursues his own self-interests to bring himself to his highest moral purpose.
Howard Roark has his own individual goals that others would see as foolish and stupid, while he stayed as an individual with his own ideals and succeeded. These are what Ayn Rand would consider individualized, because Howard Roark attempts to make a change within society and has his own values, while society wishes to remain the same and put down others who don’t follow what they believe in. Howard Roark seeks to create, not just his original designs and building, but also a sense of originality.
Henry Cameron, Howard Roark’s inspiration, once told him that unless he changed his ideals of architecture, he would never make it big in the business. Howard Roark denied what he said anyways, saying that he wishes to continue with his own work. Even when he got hired by Francon & Heyer, Howard Roark continued to stick with his own modernistic designs over conforming on older architectural designs. Howard Roark even made his own architecture and building firm which was built on his own modern beliefs and ideals. Further on in the book, Howard Roark continued to stay with his own ideals and beliefs when he went to court twice.
During the first trial, he was sued for the construction of a building, which was plotted by Ellsworth Toohey. Toohey did this so he could eliminate the innovative Howard Roark from the architect business, which was almost successful. Roark was found guilty and had to shut down his architect firm, but still had faith in his own ideals. The second trial was on the action of Howard Roark destroying the Cortlandt homes project, after his plans being changed. During the trial, Howard Roark made some statements about selfishness and about remaining individual with oneself.
Howard Roark goes on about people who create and how they suffer from the corruptness of societies, which is in reference to Peter Keating when he asked Roark for help all of the times Keating asked Roark for help on certain designs, which made Keating famous. Howard Roark was later found not guilty and won the trial Howard Roark ended up marrying Dominique Francon after because he was confident with his own individual ideas while Peter Keating wasn’t able to be individual. Howard Roark is definitely created as an individualist by Ayn Rand, because he prevails through all of the situations he encounters with his own ideals with him.
Whether or not the outcomes for Howard Roark were good or bad, he never changed his ideals or beliefs in every situation, making him an individualist. While Howard Roark is fully known to be an individualist, Lois Cook has a sense of individualism, but is too radical and immoral to be classified as an individualist. As we look into The Fountainhead, Cook has shown herself against most of the social norms. Even though Howard Roark doesn’t follow social standards, Lois Cook goes to the immoral extremes of denying good hygiene and conditions of living areas.
She doesn’t think about the corrupt power of higher authorities or any of the other enormously poor social problems. The reason that Ayn Rand shows her readers Lois Cook was to show a person who attempted individualism, but did not fully become individual. Lois Cook has characteristics like an individualist but isn’t exactly one. Lois Cook wants to be someone original, different, an individual, but her ideals are extreme and immoral. Is it not very easy to argue that poor hygiene is a good idea. It also isn’t easy to argue that anyone could enjoy poorly designed buildings.
It is pointed out obviously that Lois Cook is radically immoral and isn’t an individual. Some might suggest that Lois Cook is a person who creates. Others might argue that her nonconformity makes her and individualist still. But, her ideals could be best organized as nihilistic. Nihilism is a want to destroy and rejection of morals. Lois Cook could be best compared with Ellsworth Toohey, who also wanted to destroy people’s reputations, people such as Howard Roark in the architectural business. Ayn Rand explained being individual also meant to have morals.
Lois Cook didn’t have many morals when she was introduced into the book for the short period of time, so she couldn’t be classified as an individualist under the ideals of objectivism and individualism. Ayn Rand intentionally placed Lois Cook in The Fountainhead in order for the readers to see a difference of characteristics between Individualism and Lois Cook. We can conclude from this that Lois Cook was merely an example of how Individualism is misinterpreted by the minds of people who haven’t really thought about the ideals of individualism or beliefs of objectivism.
In conclusion, Howard Roark is indeed an individualist, while Lois Cook is not an individualist. Howard Roark shows the qualities and characteristics that Ayn Rand defines as an individualist. While Lois Cook shows some characteristics of being an individualist, her nihilistic and immoral ideals show that she cannot be an individualist and will never be with her ideals if she continues to not accept facts that there are some social norms that are needed for man’s survival and individualism.
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