A novel published in 1946 might seem outdated and forgotten in time, but The Fountainhead is as refreshing as it can ever be. I am in 2015 and can connect with almost everything written in the story.
Howard Roark and the struggle of his life in pursuing modernistic architectural style, Peter Keating and his struggle to always mould himself as how people would think of him. These two central characters are the heart of Rand’s novel.
In the first chapter we are introduced to a guy who appears extraordinarily anti-social, Howard Roark. He is expelled from the Stanton University of Architecture on the basis that he was a disgrace to the study of architecture. Howard doesn’t even give a damn and goes to New York to begin working with Henry Cameron, a forgotten architect crumbled under the burden of the society who could never understand his modernistic approach to architecture.
Meanwhile a senior of Howard, Peter Keating graduates from the same university and very difficultly decides to work with Guy Francon, New York’s most famous architect. Keating’s character has a particular mindset, he always think what people will make of his every move. While Howard exactly opposite to him, as stubborn as care free to other’s opinions as he can ever be. Yet there is a sense of friendship between both of them which is explained in a unique way by Ayn Rand.
Two very contrasting pictures of the architecture world are presented. Where on one hand we have Guy Francon’s views that people just want to please other people and not themselves. While Henry Cameron believes buildings should be built so that they bring peace to its inhabitant. Nobody understands Cameron’s views but Howard stands by him.
On one side we see how Keating cunningly rises to a good position by being close to Francon and cheating a few of his close associates, we also see how Howard and Cameron face their difficulties but do not deter from their ideology.
It is the power Ayn Rand gives to Howard Roark as he faces barrier after barriers which make it impossible for people to understand his views, his ideals. Also the helplessness Keating faces whenever he meets Howard, he is shown so naturally scared of Howard and tries to bug him down by at times making Howard feel like a loser, a disgrace in everyone’s eye. But Howard who doesn’t think what people make of him, makes Keating even more frightened of Howard.
Just completing part 1 of the story which deals with Peter Keating in majority has been a wonderful read. A deep introspection which tells us how much we care what people make of us and keep on pleasing them instead of pleasing our own selves! Will post a review of Part 2 as soon as I complete it.
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