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Notes on The Fountainhead Themes

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The Fountainhead Topic Tracking: Collectivism

Part 1, Chapter 3

Collectivism 1: After starting his new job at Francon & Heyer, Peter Keating is nervous until he realizes that he has more talent than the other men there. The only thing that reassures him is his talent in relation to theirs. "What these could do, he could do better. He smiled. Peter Keating needed his fellow men." Part 1, Chapter 3, pg. 39

Part 1, Chapter 5

Collectivism 2: Peter has no concept of his ability without asking other people whether his work is good or bad: "Were he to be told that this was the best or the ugliest house in the world, he would agree with either." Part 1, Chapter 5, pg. 72

Part 1, Chapter 9

Collectivism 3: While listening to her uncle Ellsworth speak, Catherine becomes completely selfless; it is as if she disappears. "Keating looked at Catherine. There was no Catherine; there was only a white face dissolving in the sounds of the loudspeaker. It was not that she heard her uncle; Keating could feel no jealousy of him; he wished he could. It was no affection. It was something cold and impersonal that left her empty, her will surrendered and no human will holding hers, but a nameless thing in which she was being swallowed." Part 1, Chapter 9, pg. 109

Part 1, Chapter 12

Collectivism 4: Dominique explains to Alvah Scarrett why she cannot love a job or a person: "If I found a job, a project, an idea or a person I wanted-I'd have to depend on the whole world. Everything has strings leading to everything else. We're all so tied together. We're all in a net, the net is waiting, and we're pushed into it by one single desire. You want a thing and it's precious to you. Do you know who is standing ready to tear it out of your hands? You can't know, it may be so involved and so far away, but someone is ready, and you're afraid of them all. And you cringe and you crawl and you beg and you accept them-just so they'll let you keep it. And look at whom you come to accept." Part 1, Chapter 12, pg. 143

Part 1, Chapter 13

Collectivism 5: A board of directors, as Roark discovers, always has a mob mentality; they have no opinions of their own. "The twelve faces before him had a variety of countenances, but there was something, neither color nor feature, upon all of them, as a common denominator, something that dissolved their expressions, so that they were not faces any longer but only empty ovals of flesh." Part 1, Chapter 13, pg. 166

Part 1, Chapter 15

Collectivism 6: "Keating let himself be carried by the torrent. He needed the people and the clamor around him." Part 1, Chapter 15, pg. 188

Part 2, Chapter 3

Collectivism 7: Keating measures his success by counting those that work beneath him, and are thus dependent on him. In reality, he is just as dependent on them: "Keating discovered that he liked this process of hesitation; he held the fate of two men and of many potential others; their fate, their work, their hope, perhaps even the amount of food in their stomachs. . . .He was a great man-by the grace of those who depended on him." Part 2, Chapter 3, pg. 223

Part 2, Chapter 11

Collectivism 8: Keating comes to Ellsworth, unhappy, and Ellsworth tells him that he's being selfish: "You missed the beautiful pride of utter selflessness. Only when you learn to deny your ego, completely, only when you learn to be amused by such piddling sentimentalities as your little sex urges-only then will you achieve the greatness which I have always expected of you." Part 2, Chapter 11, pg. 322

Part 2, Chapter 13

Collectivism 9: Katie is unhappy and asks Ellsworth for advice; he tells her that if she is thinking of her own unhappiness, she is being selfish and egotistical. "We are poisoned by the superstition of the ego. We cannot know what will be right or wrong in a selfless society, nor what we'll feel, nor in what manner. We must destroy the ego first. That is why the mind is so unreliable. We must not think. We must believe." Part 2, Chapter 13, pg. 365

Part 3, Chapter 8

Collectivism 10: Collectivism is the true evil of mankind. Dominique thinks, "It was a contest without time, a struggle of two abstractions, the thing that had created the building against things that made the play possible-two forces, suddenly naked to her in their simple statement-two forces that had fought since the world began-and every religion had known of them-and there had always been a God and a Devil-only men had been so mistaken about the shapes of their Devil-he was not single and big, he was many and smutty and small." Part 3, Chapter 8, pg. 492

Part 4, Chapter 14

Collectivism 11: Ellsworth talks for a very long time to Peter about what is really going on, about what he is doing to make the masses selfless so they can be ruled: "Don't allow men to be happy. Happiness is self-contained and self-sufficient. Happy men have no time and no use for you. Happy men are free men. So kill their joy in living." Part 4, Chapter 14, pg. 636

Collectivism 12: "Everything I said is contained in a single word-collectivism. And isn't that the god of our century? To act together. To think-together. To feel-together. To unite, to agree, to obey. To obey, to serve, to sacrifice. Divide and conquer-first. But then-unite and rule." Part 4, Chapter 14, pg. 639

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