Notes on The Fountainhead Themes

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The Fountainhead Topic Tracking: Competition and Struggle

Part 1, Chapter 5

Competition 1: Henry Cameron describes the struggle which awaits Roark: "I have no answer to give them, Howard. I'm leaving you to face them. You'll answer them. All of them, the Wynand papers and what makes the Wynand papers possible and what lies behind that. It's a strange mission to give you. I don't know what our answer is to be. I only know that there is an answer and that you're holding it, that you're the answer, Howard, and some day you'll find the words for it." Part 1, Chapter 5, pg. 76-77

Part 1, Chapter 7

Competition 2: Always competitive with Roark, Peter Keating delights in having a higher position than him at Francon & Heyer: "He felt a sensual pleasure in giving orders to Roark; and he felt also a fury of resentment at Roark's passive compliance. He continued, knowing that he could continue only so long as Roark exhibited no anger, yet wishing desperately to break him down to an explosion. No explosion came." Part 1, Chapter 7, pg. 91

Part 1, Chapter 11

Competition 3: Cameron explains that he doesn't know what Roark is fighting against, but he knows it's there: "It doesn't say much. Only 'Howard Roark, Architect.' But it's like those mottoes men carved over the entrance of a castle and died for. It's a challenge in the face of something so vast and so dark, that all the pain on earth-and do you know how much suffering there is on earth?-all the pain comes from that thing you are going to face. I don't know what it is, I don't know why it should be unleashed against you. I know only that it will be. And I know that if you carry these words through to the end, it will be a victory, Howard, not just for you, but for something that should win, that moves the world-and never wins acknowledgment. It will vindicate so many who have fallen before you, who have suffered as you will suffer. May God bless you-or whoever it is that is alone to see the best, the highest possible to human hearts. You're on your way into hell, Howard." Part 1, Chapter 11, pg. 133

Part 1, Chapter 14

Competition 4: Roark's fight is one that has no discernible enemy and no ally: "It was a war in which he was invited to fight nothing, yet he was pushed forward to fight, he had to fight, he had no choice-and no adversary." Part 1, Chapter 14, pg. 175

Part 2, Chapter 7

Competition 5: Ellsworth explains to Dominique that he knows what she's doing by building Peter up: she is hurting Roark by letting his mediocre rival win: "Let's take two parallel lines. I'm inclined to agree with Euclid, I don't think these two parallels will ever meet....No man likes to be beaten. But to be beaten by the man who has always stood as the particular example of mediocrity in his eyes, to start by the side of this mediocrity and to watch it shoot up, while he struggles and gets nothing but a boot in his face, to see the mediocrity snatch from him, one after another, the chances he'd give his life for, to see the mediocrity worshipped....well, my little amateur, do you think the Spanish Inquisition ever thought of a torture to equal this?" Part 2, Chapter 7, pg. 268

Competition 6: Dominique tells Roark how she is going to fight against him as strongly as she can: "You know that I hate you, Roark. I hate you for what you are, for wanting you, for having to want you. I'm going to fight you-and I'm going to destroy you-and I tell you this as calmly as I told you that I'm a begging animal. I'm going to pray that you can't be destroyed-I tell you this, too-even though I believe in nothing and have nothing to pray to. But I will fight to block every step you take. I will fight to tear every chance you want away from you. I will hurt you through the only thing that can hurt you-through your work. I will fight to starve you, to strangle you on the things you won't be able to reach. I have done it to you to today-and that is why I shall sleep with you tonight." Part 2, Chapter 7, pg. 272-3

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