Study Guide

The Fountainhead Genre

By Ayn Rand


Philosophical Literature

The Fountainhead is all Objectivism, all the time. Objectivism is Ayn Rand's pet philosophy, and it urges people to act in a way that is (according to the Ayn Rand Institute, so it must be true) selfish.

If you work hard and with absolute self-interest, you'll eventually succeed, states Objectivism. And hey, guess what? The plot of The Fountainhead is...a guy works hard with absolute self-interest and eventually succeeds.

That guy is Howard Roark, andĀ The Fountainhead follows his life from a struggling, uncompromising architecture student to a successful, uncompromising architect. Ta-da! Objectivism FTW.

Sure, there's more to the novel than that, but the central focus is on how Roark uses the tenants of Objectivism to end up happy. It's a novel that charts a certain philosophical ideal, and because of that, it's totally in the "philosophical literature" camp.