The Fountainhead The Fountainhead discussion


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girlanachronism This book has been assigned for one my classes. I've considered myself a socialist for quite a few years, and I've heard from several people that this book is extremely against socialism. Is it possible for me to read this without becoming irritated?

message 2: by Norman (new)

Norman Your socialist perspective will come in very useful when reading this book. Though you may find the book irritating, see it as a reminder of the mindset that you may encounter and have to fight against. Don't forget there's a whole cult surrounding Ayn Rand, so watch your back! (just kidding)

message 3: by J (last edited Mar 23, 2008 03:58AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

J Bianca It depends on how "objective" you can be about hearing other people's attitudes. Rand's characters are painted with a lot more dimension in the Fountainhead than in Atlas Shrugged (which is the bible of Objectivism). It's mostly about knowing what you want and believe and sticking to it regardless of the struggle and what people will actively do to you out of fear or envy. It's also a pretty steamy love story ;-). I would almost call it the Anna Karenina of the Right. Try to read it through a human filter, rather than a socio-political one.

Roger Read it with an open mind. You might just come away with a better understanding of why socialism is a failed ideology.

J.C. Paulk I have to agree with J. It is a very human story. While the individualistic aspects may become annoying, I think it can also be an argument against the harshness of just such a society.

Megan I consider the book to be instructive on the very methods by which socialism might be actually achieved. She is right that the individual spirit cannot and should not be squashed; it must be encouraged. Please notice that her heroes are the characters most in sympathy with the ideals of working together in the truest sense, as described in her thesis in Roark's testimony.

Tyler Since the book's a novel, there's little room in it to launch into a vitriolic attack on socialism, so I don't think you'll be irritated by that.

I thought the point of the book had more to do with how the individual's voice gets choked off in a group -- any group.

In fact, it's the way companies are organized that the book focuses on. For the most part, government policies come into question only obliquely, and mainly by analogy with business organization.

Lostinanovel Its ok, get irritated! Get challenged! Looking forward to hearing what you think. I know a lot of us, me too, have strong opinions but only a real fool wouldn't have some doubts, especially when thinking about topics such as the nature of human behavior.

I also think there is a lot more to this book than being pro-capitalist. Its about the importance of individual freedom and the beauty of an individual's potential.

Violeta when I read Ayn Rand, I don't let time slip away a page.
it will not irritate you.
it will make you discover new perspectives you'd enjoy too...

message 10: by Ash (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ash Chakraborty I think her story is rather romantic (idealistic) and impractical. Having said that, The Fountainhead remains as one of my top books for the beautiful writing and the excellent usage of metaphors.

Don't deny yourself the chance to read it. Beauty is found in the oddest of places. Just remember, she wasn't a "philosopher" that proposed anything new. Theories of Objectivism have been around for centuries. She was a talented writer who was just extremely reactive to the Soviet experience.

Governance, relative existence, social harmony, are concepts that cannot be tackled by a black and white romantic view of the 'ideal Being'.


Magdelanye This over the top potboiler is so overly dramatic and poorly written that I would place it on the harlequin shelf. One of the few books I have ever abandoned on page 247. Its a mystery to me why it appears so often.
Atlas Shrugged at least held together in a sinister kind of way, but the fountainhead is pure schlock

message 12: by Jenna (last edited Aug 26, 2011 07:14AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jenna Fountaindhead is my most favorite book out of all novels of Ms. Rand's work. You can perceive vividly how a collectivist, altruist, and socialist work in this society. You'll see how reason overpower the Ellsworth Toohey and Peter Keating of the world. The worm, Ellsworth Toohey who's dragging everybody down to his level of unworthyness just to have power, and the second-hander Peter Keating who likes to use people ideas without his own, and just keep feeding on other peoples accomplishment. Keating is a MOOCHER. The idea behind the Fountaindhead is individualism that every man as an independent, sovereign entity who posseses an inalienable right to his own life, and that's what Howard Roarks stand for his mind is an attribute to individual, because there's no such thing as collective brain and a collective thought. The primary act the process of reason must be performed by each man alone. They can't be shared or transferred, and the collectivist would love to get your idea and use it as their own and you don't have the right to it and that's what Peter Keating stands for, a collectivist and a second hander. The only person would look down on this book did not get the message of Ayn Rand.

Vishal Madaan If i could choose, how much i want to engage socially that'd be great; have tried it but didn't work out. Why? It isn't that i didn't prefer keeping to myself mostly but the fact is that others expected me to talk; if i didn't they assumed something must be wrong.

Can someone be completely and utterly anti social in the real world? i doubt that is possible, normally.

The problem i see is that we tend to behave ,socially, as we are expected to, instead of how we'd want to, mostly to please the people we care about.

Can one really choose to be himself/herself freely without hurting others who care about that person??

i know i lack coherence here but if anyone can help me get an answer to it. Maybe i'm looking at it the wrong way or maybe there's no other way at all!!!

message 14: by Ed (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ed Morawski Vishal wrote: "If i could choose, how much i want to engage socially that'd be great; have tried it but didn't work out. Why? It isn't that i didn't prefer keeping to myself mostly but the fact is that others exp..."

Socialism in this context basically means the government provides everything from birth to death...

message 15: by E.D. (new) - rated it 2 stars

E.D. Lynnellen In Old West classic films you can tell the good guys from the bad guys easily. Same thing with Rand's characters.

Neither takes reality into account. Funny. Right? :}

message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

Both "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged" can be enjoyed and make more sense from a moral perspective than from a political perspective. At least in today's context.

To me, this book is mainly advocating for each person to find meaning within himself, as opposed to living "second-hand", i.e. mirrorring other's values and actions without thinking too much about them yourself.

This individualistic message is easier to pass using a main character who is an artist/architect (as in The Fountainhead), or an entrepreneur (as in Atlas Shrugged), while the second-handers are the crowd depending on and hoping to share in the accomplishments of the former.

Without the high moral grounds of the individualistic (The Fountainhead) and/or capitalistic (Atlas Shrugged) main characters, the capitalistic vision of Ayn Rand would not hold. Without the corruption of the antagonists, her "criticism" on socialism would neither. But the "individualistic" moral message could stand regardless of political sympathies.

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