Notes on Characters from The Fountainhead

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The Fountainhead Major Characters

Howard Roark: The Fountainhead's hero. His motivation for working and living is his own ego, and he practically ignores the ideas of others. Roark has bright orange hair and an angled, muscular body. Not particularly attractive, Roark has a self-confidence that Dominique finds irresistible. 'The self-sufficient, self-confident, the end of ends, the reason unto himself, the joy of living personified.' Roark is an architect who does not follow the typical path to success--he follows his own ideals rather than the rules of his predecessors or the demands of his employers. He achieves success without compromise.

Peter Keating: Keating is Roark's opposite as an architect. He does everything he can to please others and claw his way up the corporate ladder. He is of a truly collectivist mindset. He could never be as man should be (a true individual), but does not even know it.

Henry Cameron: Roark's mentor, an architect. He tries to be as man should be, as a true individual, but crumbles under the pressure from the mob and becomes an alcoholic. Roark gives him a new hope; he dies telling Roark not to give up.

Ellsworth M. Toohey: Famous critic, writer, and humanitarian. The man who could never have been what man should be, and knows it; so he sets about destroying the essence of man by promoting the image of being submissive, self-sacrificial, and humble. Roark's moral opposite.

Mike: A construction worker and friend to Roark; the embodiment of pride for one's own work.

Austen Heller: A man who recognizes greatness in Roark and struggles to make it recognized by others.

Dominique Francon: The perfect female counterpart to Roark. Tall, blonde, angular and thin. She loves Roark so much that she sets out to destroy him, marrying first Peter Keating and then Gail Wynand. By the end, she marries Roark.

Gail Wynand: He panders to the mob by owning newspapers that tell them what they want to hear; he thinks he rules their minds until he tries writing what he believes. He understands the way the world works and what man should be. Wynand has an equal obsession with both Dominique and Roark.

Steven Mallory: Sculptor and friend to Roark. All his life he has fought 'the beast'--that is, the collectivist mindset. He shoots at Toohey for this reason. He sculpts a statue of Dominique for the Stoddard Temple.

Minor Characters

Mrs. Keating: Peter Keating's mother. A pudgy little woman who wants nothing else from life than to see her son gain wealth and prestige.

the Dean: Expels Roark from Stanton because he cannot and will not base his drawings on the architecture of the past.

Guy Francon: A second-hander who gives Keating fame; he runs his architecture firm only to please the clients.

Shlinker: A classmate of Keating's at Stanton; representative of all of the people who will never be better than Peter, in Peter's mind.

Stengel: Francon & Heyer's primary designer, when Peter starts working there.

Lucius Heyer: Guy Francon's partner; he does not have any real say in the firm; he is just there for the prestige.

Tim Davis: A designer at Francon & Heyer; Peter uses him as the first step in his career by convincing him that he can go home and Peter will cover for him. Peter ends up taking his job.

Catherine Halsey: The girl that Peter has always loved; she is subservient and wants nothing else than to be selfless, as her uncle Ellsworth advises. By the end of the novel, she has absolutely no sense of how she is different from any other person - she has lost all sense of self.

Mrs. Dunlop: A woman who wants to hire Francon & Heyer to build her a home, but Peter convinces her that she should hire Stengel, the primary designer, independently. She does, Stengel leaves, and Peter gets the job.

Gordon L. Prescott: An architect who, although he presumes to welcome the new wave in architecture, really still relies on the past.

John Erik Snyte: The head of an architecture firm employing six architects, each from different 'movements.' He hires Roark as a modernist. His vision is to combine every style - only through cooperation can you get something good.

Ralston Holcombe: President of the Architects' Guild of America; he believes the Renaissance period is the only acceptable style of architecture.

Alvah Scarrett: The editor of the New York Banner. Innocent and fiercely loyal to Gail Wynand but manipulated by Ellsworth Toohey.

Jimmy Gowan: Employs Roark to build a gas station for him. Roark builds an odd yet efficient structure, and people come from miles around just to see it. Jimmy is very happy with the gas station.

Mrs. Wayne Wilmot: At Austen Heller's urging, she asks Roark to build her home, but wants it in English Tudor to impress her guests. Roark thinks she is just a sponge for what others think.

Robert L. Mundy: Wants Roark to build him a home like the mansions owned by people who scoffed at him while growing up.

Nathaniel Janss: Wants Roark to build his office building, but he cannot get it past a board of directors.

John Fargo: Asks Roark to build the smartest store the city has seen. He does.

Whitford Sanborn: Roark builds a home for him, which he initially likes but because of the disapproval of others, abandons.

Athelstan Beasley: Writes a humorous column making fun of Roark.

Roger Enright: Commissions Roark to design the Enright House.

Mr. Weidler: Wants Roark to design the Manhattan Bank Company building; he takes Roark's sketches to a board, who wants to add things to it, and Roark refuses.

Joel Sutton: Wants to hire Roark, but is convinced otherwise by Dominique.

Kiki Holcombe: Ralston Holcombe's wife. Useless and charming. Likes what others want her to like.

Kent Lansing: Wants Roark to build the Aquitania; he fights a board of directors for weeks, and wins.

Hopton Stoddard: A wealthy investor who, at the urging of Toohey, hires Roark to build the Stoddard Temple. He gives Roark free reign, but when he returns from a trip on which he visited the great temples of the world, Toohey convinces him that the Stoddard Temple is awful, and a sign from God that he is not worthy to build a temple. Stoddard sues Roark over the issue.

Jules Fougler: A drama critic for the Banner. Has no mind of his own.

Lois Cook: Writer of The Gallant Gallstone. Made successful by Toohey.

Gus Webb: An architect made successful by Toohey. Eventually leads a group called 'We Don't Read Wynand.'

Lancelot Clokey: A novelist, a member of Toohey's Council of American Writers.

Ike: A playwright; never given a last name, because no one can ever recall it. Writes a horrible play called 'No Skin Off Your Nose,' which is made a success by the reviews of Jules Fougler.

Neil Dumont: Francon & Keating's designer, made partner by Keating when Francon retires.

Sally Brent: One of the most popular writers for the Banner; writes a column about women and home life.

Caleb Bradley: Hires Roark to build a resort in the Monadnock Valley.

Mitchell Layton, Homer Slottern, Jessica Pratt, Renee Slottern, and Eve Layton.: Second-handers who sit around with Toohey discussing everyone else's ideas about freedom and the Banner.

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