Study Guide

The Fountainhead

The Fountainhead Summary

Back in the 1920s, two dudes—Peter Keating and Howard Roark—finish architecture school and embark on their careers. Peter Keating graduates with top honors and goes to work for a hotshot firm in New York, headed by a dude named Guy Francon (best name ever, in our not-so-humble-opinions). Howard Roark gets tossed out on his rear and goes to work for a drunken has-been, also in New York. If you're thinking that this sounds like a prime situation for a reversal in fortune, you'd be correct.

Turns out Peter Keating is a bit of a poser and his ascent to the top of his profession involves blackmail, stealing people's work, shmoozing, causing an old dude to have a stroke (seriously), hitting on the boss's daughter, and getting Roark to do things for him. Roark, meanwhile, is a true individual, modernist designer (a lot like Frank Lloyd Wright), and his work is brilliant but unappreciated by the stupid public. Roark even gets sued for breach of contract after he refused to compromise on a building design, and he ends up broke and without clients.

lRoark eventually goes to Connecticut to work in a quarry for some cash and meets Dominique Francon, the icy-blonde journalist daughter of Peter Keating's boss. Got all that? Roark and Dominique have a violent sexual encounter shortly after meeting (read more about that in the "Steaminess Rating" section) and later embark on a secret (and psychologically screwed-up) affair.

Dominique proceeds to attract Peter Keating, and the two end up getting married, which is a truly bad idea. Keating abandons his true love Katie Halsey in order to marry Dominique for selfish reasons (money, prestige, etc.). Dominique decides to wallow in her misery about how much the world sucks and marries Keating as a bizarre sort of protest against society.

While all of this is going on a critic named Ellsworth Toohey (Katie's uncle) is systematically building up Keating while destroying Roark, since he's an evil communist and doesn't want bold individuals to succeed. Also, he may or may not be suffering from a massive inferiority complex and be something of a sociopath. What a dude, eh?

The architects continue to do architectural things and then Gail Wynand, media mogul and owner of The Banner newspaper, enters the scene. He basically buys Dominique from Peter Keating, giving Keating a posh commission in exchange for a divorce. Wynand then marries Dominique. Dominique continues her emotional affair with Roark and is now batting 0-2 in the husband department. Wynand and Roark actually bond and become friends, and the love triangle gets all sorts of weird.

Meanwhile, Keating turns into a loser (hey, we're giving you the Ayn Rand version here, completely without frills) and falls under the sway of Toohey, along with a lot of other characters, including Keating's ill-fated true love, Katie Halsey.

Finally Toohey tries to alter a building Roark designed for Keating (Keating was taking credit for Roark's design), and Roark blows the building up in an effort to preserve his artistic integrity… or something. There's a big trial and Roark gives a big speechy speech (cue the swell in music) about his philosophy and gets acquitted. If you've studied the law at all the trial won't make much sense. But it's a metaphor, man. Moving on!

Gail Wynand tries to back up his buddy Roark with his paper but Toohey sabotages him and Wynand shuts down his paper. He also grants Dominique a divorce when he learns that she really loves Roark. In the end (early 1940s for those keeping track), Roark and Dominique are married and Roark is working on a new skyscraper for Wynand.

  • Part 1, Chapter 1

    • Part 1 is all about Peter Keating.
    • We meet Howard Roark when he is naked.
    • Uhhh, is this awkward?
    • Nope. Turns out he's just going skinny-dipping and thinking deep thoughts.
    • The exposition fairy (aka the narrator) catches us up on The Facts. Roark is a poor man who is currently studying architecture at the Stanton Institute.
    • He's supposed to meet with the Dean about some trouble he's in.
    • Roark goes home to Mrs. Keating's boarding house, where he resides.
    • He goes upstairs and draws a while.
    • Roark forgets about his meeting with the Dean.
    • Mrs. Keating is horrified that he just forgot and reminds him.
    • Roark finally goes to the meeting and has a showdown with the Dean.
    • Our man R has a bad habit of making people hate him, and is about to be expelled.
    • Roark doesn't care, though, since he's a rebel and thinks the school is outdated.
    • He proceeds to annoy the Dean some more before leaving, for old time's sake.
  • Part 1, Chapter 2

    • The Stanton commencement ceremony is underway.
    • Peter Keating, top of his class and all-around hotshot, considers how triumphant he is.
    • While he's patting himself on the back, a famous architect named Guy Francon is speaking about "truth, beauty, and love." He tacks "architecture" on the end of that to avoid copyright infringement with Moulin Rouge.
    • Keating also gives a spiel to his classmates and regurgitates much of Francon's speech.
    • Keating then heads home to his mom's boarding house, after making plans to go out with his friends that night. Graduation party, woo!
    • Before partying, Keating must make a big decision.
    • Should he accept a job at Francon's firm or should he go to Paris to study architecture some more at the Beaux Arts, a famous school? (You can read up on the Beaux Arts school here.)
    • Keating comes across Roark chilling on the porch.
    • The two are wary around each other. They have that whole frenemy thing going on.
    • Keating asks Roark's advice, and Roark can't figure out why Keating can't just think for himself.
    • Keating's mom arrives and starts pressuring him to take the job with Francon.
    • Roark finally tells Keating just take the job (and to please stop dithering about it) since school is useless and he doesn't even care anyway.
  • Part 1, Chapter 3

    • Keating listens to Roark and his mom and begins work at Guy Francon's firm, Francon and Heyer.
    • Francon's firm is dedicated to producing fancy, classical looking buildings for rich clients, and half of their work day involves wining and dining clients. Um... we think that sounds kind of fun.
    • Keating quickly assimilates himself to the world of climbing the social ladder.
    • He starts progressing in the firm by sucking up to Francon rather than working hard. Eww. Okay, no: this job sounds terrible.
    • Francon has been phoning it in for years, we discover, after designing one single praise-worthy building.
    • Meanwhile, Roark goes to work in the poorest part of New York for a washed up architect named Henry Cameron.
    • Contrast time!
    • Unlike one-hit-wonder Francon, Cameron is a rebel and a genius. He was big news around the turn of the century, but his groundbreaking work was not appreciated by the public and he is now poor and kind of a drunk.
    • Roark barges into Cameron's joint and basically insists on working there.
    • Cameron thinks Roark is nuts, but he recognizes Roark's talent from his portfolio and agrees to hire him, even though he can't pay much at all.
    • Roark is cool with this. He's turning into the James Dean of architecture at this rate. Or at least the Marlon Brando.
  • Part 1, Chapter 4

    • Keating and Roark are settling into their careers.
    • Let's see how our guys are doing.
    • Keating is making his way up the social ladder and continues to do unoriginal work and ride on the coattails of others.
    • Well-played, Keating. Way to be a lazybones.
    • We learn about a guy named Ellsworth Toohey, who is a big architecture critic.
    • Keating decides to initiate Project Suck Up to Toohey.
    • After work Keating goes to visit his on-again, off-again girlfriend, Catherine Halsey, a.k.a. Katie.
    • She is rather plain and very sweet and is crazy about Keating.
    • Keating ignores her in his quest for social greatness, but he always comes back and is happy when he is with her.
    • Keating starts admitting nasty things to Katie, like the fact that he thinks Francon is kind of a tool.
    • Katie is totally calm about everything Keating says and does. She lurves him.
    • Bombshell alert though: Katie's uncle is Ellsworth Toohey. Oh. Dang, Keating.
    • Keating, doing something bizarrely moral that contrasts with his shmoozy ways, says he doesn't want her to introduce him to Toohey since he doesn't want to use Katie to further his career.
    • Meanwhile Cameron yells at Roark a lot and tries to convince him to quit.
    • Roark essentially says that he's destined to be an architect, come hell or high water.
    • Cameron says Roark's life will be super-tough, since society doesn't appreciate geniuses. And Roark, presumably, is a genius-caliber architect.
  • Part 1, Chapter 5

    • Keating manages to get his best friend at work, Tim Davis, fired. Wow, Keating. Way to be a dirtbag.
    • He then manages to get the firm's chief designer, Stengel, to leave. Keating takes over his job. This is Rand's blazing neon flashing sign saying: You should hate Keating. You should hate Keating.
    • Then Keating gets stage fright and has to go to Roark for help on designing his first building as chief designer.
    • Roark helps him out and Keating is relieved yet embarrassed. There's that flashing neon sign again: You shouldn't respect Keating. You shouldn't respect Keating.
    • Cameron's firm is having a really awful time. Hmm. Cameron kind of warned Roark about this.
    • He and Roark lose a big commission, and they are pretty much broke.
    • Cameron shows Roark the newspaper of his arch-nemesis, Gail Wynand. The paper is tabloid garbage, and Cameron insists that society is beyond horrible. Yeah, when you judge society as a whole on a rag that promotes stuff like baby-bump watches and snarky red-carpet event coverage, it's going to look fairly bleak.
    • Roark can't even pay his rent, and Keating gives him some money. Roark refuses it. The neon sign flashes: Roark has pride. Roark has pride.
  • Part 1, Chapter 6

    • In January 1925 Toohey publishes his hit book called Sermons in Stone. It's a history of architecture.
    • This is a bestseller. Because of course a history of architecture would be a smash-hit? Erm...
    • The book isn't just about architecture; it's also some sort of secret socialist manifesto that boos individualism and praises the collective mob.
    • Cameron falls very ill and Roark has to shut down his firm.
    • Keating is becoming a huge success, though we discover that his mom now lives with him. Ouch. That kind of puts a damper on his social life.
    • Mommy dearest Keating begins pressuring him to marry Dominique, Guy Francon's daughter.
    • Keating reacts by going to see his real true love, Katie.
    • Mrs. Keating doesn't think Katie is good enough for Keating.
    • Keating proposes to Katie but says they need to keep it a secret until he can earn enough money for them to marry.
  • Part 1, Chapter 7

    • Feeling generous, or more manipulative than usual, Keating gets Francon to hire Roark as a draftsman.
    • He reluctantly takes the job since he needs food. Yeah, that's a pretty good reason to take a job.
    • Keating enjoys bossing Roark around by day and then has Roark help out with designs by night.
    • Roark enjoys visiting building sites.
    • At one site he befriends a tough electrician named Mike, because he's a bro's bro like that.
  • Part 1, Chapter 8

    • Keating goes to Washington to oversee some work with a new museum.
    • Francon calls Roark in and offers him the chance to design a building since Keating is gone.
    • The building is going to be a spin-off of Cameron's famous Dana Building but in Greek Classical style.
    • Roark narrowly avoids puking with disdain at the idea and refuses to do it.
    • Francon is shocked that someone would refuse him and fires Roark.
    • Roark, as usual, is too cool to care.
  • Part 1, Chapter 9

    • Roark goes to work for a guy named John Erik Snyte. Hee hee. Snyte. We bet he's not going to be a good dude with a name like that.
    • Snyte runs a collective ensemble of architects. He has one of each type and has them all operate like some sort of Borg hivemind. Roark becomes the group's resident "modernist" guy.
    • Roark really hates this job.
    • Meanwhile the building trade unions go on strike, and Toohey quietly supports them.
    • Keating gets frustrated that Katie is ignoring him for her uncle (Ellsworth Toohey, remember?), who is putting her to work as a sort of secretary.
    • Keating finds Katie at one of her uncle's rallies, and they are both hypnotized by Toohey and his awesome speaking skills.
    • They then leave and discuss their non-starter of a relationship some more. It's kind of sad. Those crazy kids really seemed to like each other.
  • Part 1, Chapter 10

    • Francon has a big party and Keating meets Dominique, who is described as sort of an ice queen.
    • They flirt, kind of.
    • Keating tries to flirt at least, and Dominique is cold and a bit condescending...or rude.
    • Dominique brushes Keating off in her icy way. Burn. Oh wait, ice can't burn, per se. Freeze.
    • Austen Heller, a sort of social justice crusader, hires Snyte's firm to design him a house, but he's a picky client and nothing seems to satisfy him.
    • At a group meeting, Snyte alters Roark's design and Heller says it's close...but still no cigar.
    • Roark steps up at the meeting and shows Heller his original design.
    • Heller likes it a lot.
    • Snyte fires Roark, and Heller hires him to work on his house. Things are looking up for our boy R.
  • Part 1, Chapter 11

    • Roark opens his own office, and Snyte says he's crazy to strike out on his own after one commission.
    • Roark, as usual, is too cool for school, and says, essentially, "I do what I want."
    • Cameron is mega-excited about Roark's success.
    • Cameron is still very ill and is being cared for by his sister.
    • Keating swings by to praise Roark, but he really resents him. These two are great frenemies.
    • Mike pops up to work on the Heller house and tells Roark that he'll work on any project with him since he's a cool dude.
    • Roark and Heller become friends and bond while the house is being built.
  • Part 1, Chapter 12

    • We head over to a new scene: The Banner newspaper offices, owned by Gail Wynand.
    • Alvah Scarrett, the paper's editor, assigns Dominique, a Banner reporter, a story on tenements in New York.
    • Dominique makes like a Pulitzer-winning journalist and goes undercover in the tenements.
    • But she writes a piece that is critical of the people living in tenements, and Scarrett is shocked.
    • Dominique and Keating continue to meet, and he's scared of her...yet also drawn to her.
    • Icy Dominique never seems moved by anything and never seems happy at all.
    • Katie very unexpectedly comes to Keating's house one night.
    • Our resident Mommy Dearest, Mrs. Keating, isn't thrilled to see her.
    • Katie confesses that her uncle scares her, and she begs Keating to marry her soon.
    • Keating says okay.
    • His mom protests and makes him doubt himself. Keating needs a crash course in confidence.
    • Keating then tells Kate he wants to postpone getting married, and Katie agrees, but both have a bad feeling about it.
  • Part 1, Chapter 13

    • After the Heller House, Roark gets a few more gigs.
    • He gets hired to design a gas station. He does an awesome job; it's an epic masterpiece of a gas station.
    • Roark turns down lot of clients who want him to do stuff in past styles. He'll only design the way he wants.
    • Whitford Sanborn hires Roark to do a country house for him, but his wife doesn't like Roark's design, and the thing turns into a train-wreck.
    • The house is finished, but Mrs. Sanborn refuses to live in it.
  • Part 1, Chapter 14

    • Cosmo-Slotnick Pictures decides to hold a contest to build a skyscraper in New York.
    • That is one bizarre contest, but in this novel the entire world seems infatuated with architecture, so we'll roll with it.
    • Keating is supposed to enter a design for Francon and Heller.
    • But of course, he has performance anxiety and has to get Roark to help him.
    • Roark says he wants no credit at all for this stupid building and Keating doesn't have to worry about blackmail.
    • Keating gets angry and the two argue. Or Keating argues and Roark does his stone-faced routine.
    • Roark is starting to run out of money and his commissions are drying up.
    • Cameron dies, and, on his deathbed, tells Roark to never give up.
    • Keating tells Katie they can get married after the competition is over, but Keating still sees Dominique and tries to kiss her. He's a dirbag like that.
    • Dominique gives him the cold shoulder and says she'll marry him if she ever wants to punish herself one day. Ouch.
  • Part 1, Chapter 15

    • Lucius Heyer is dying, and Keating is scared that he'll lose the building competition and won't get Heyer's partner place in the firm.
    • Whoa, Keating. Slow your compassion down, big boy.
    • Keating goes to Heyer's house to blackmail him after finding out that Heyer inflated construction costs on a project.
    • Heyer panics and ends up having a stroke and dying. Nice job, Keating. We hate you now.
    • To make matters worse, Keating realizes he kind of wanted Heyer to die. Someone needs a psych evaluation.
    • Keating then discovers that Heyer left his entire estate to him since Keating had been nice to him before.
    • Keating also wins the building contest with Roark's design.
    • It's official: Keating is a total jerk. Also, he has kind of astronomical luck. How do people not realize what a slimebucket he is?
    • Keating becomes a celebrity but is scared that the secret of him being a lying weasel will come out.
    • He tries to buy Roark's silence, but Roark sends the money back and says the structure is crap.
    • Keating gets mad and vows to break Roark. He's sounding pretty supervillainous at this point.
    • Roark refuses a job for a bank that would compromise his style.
    • He shuts down his office and gets Mike to give him a job at a granite quarry in Connecticut.
  • Part 2, Chapter 1

    • Part 2 is called Ellsworth Toohey.
    • Roark goes to work at a granite quarry in Connecticut.
    • The work is exhausting, but Roark's granite quarry exercise regime probably has some health benefits that offset all the quarry dust he's inhaling.
    • Dominique is staying by herself at a summer house in the area. She's on vacation solo.
    • One day Dominique and Roark see one another and it is love/lust at first sight.
    • Dominique spends her time thinking about Roark, and she starts trying to find out information about him.
    • She starts chatting Roark up and tries to figure him out, but Roark doesn't spill and remains mysterious.
    • She asks Roark why he's working there, and he says it's for the money.
  • Part 2, Chapter 2

    • Dominique continues obsessing over Roark, but she prides herself on her ability to resist him.
    • Except not so much...Dominique then deliberately scratches up her fireplace in order to have an excuse to ask Roark over.
    • She tells Roark she'll pay him to fix her fireplace, and he says okay.
    • Roark comes over, and Dominique checks him out while he's working.
    • He pretty much ignores her.
    • Later Roark sends some random dude in his place to finish the work on the fireplace.
    • Dominique is frustrated.
    • Roark comes over a few nights later and rapes Dominique.
    • Okay, quick interruption—this scene is extremely controversial. This scene reads like rape, but Dominique feels satisfied afterwards. Yeah, extremely controversial: Dominique is upset and humiliated but also notes that she wanted Roark to dominate her. To read more about it and to see what various critics have said about it, head on over to the "Sex Rating" section.
    • Roark thinks about Dominique too the next day and acknowledges that he has feelings for her.
    • Roark lands a job with an industrialist named Roger Enright, and he takes off quickly.
    • Dominique discovers he's gone and feels upset.
  • Part 2, Chapter 3

    • Ellsworth Toohey writes an article praising Keating to the heavens.
    • He sends it along to Keating before it's published.
    • Keating flips out with excitement.
    • But then a dude named Stephen Mallory tries to assassinate Toohey.
    • Toohey is unharmed.
    • Keating's first thought is that his article won't be published on time.
    • He is seriously the most selfish person alive. Rand isn't big on subtlety or character nuances here. Think of this as Rand shouting in a caveman voice: Keating bad! Keating bad!
    • Keating then goes to visit Toohey.
    • Toohey is a little man who wears glasses and looks like he couldn't hurt a fly.
    • They talk in circles around each other and act all political and crafty.
    • Toohey invites Keating to be part of an architecture club he's putting together.
    • He also asks Keating about his relationship with Katie and says that he approves.
  • Part 2, Chapter 4

    • Toohey has Keating over to tea. Katie is there along with some other intellectuals.
    • Katie is just staring into space when Keating arrives.
    • Toohey asks Keating some questions about Roark.
    • Keating also banters with a bunch of artistic types who act really cynical. Hmm. Maybe they're cynical because Keating "The Worst Person In The World" Keating is there.
    • One, an author named Lois Cook, declares that she wants an ugly house since beautiful houses are boring.
    • She and Toohey say Keating should design it.
    • Keating ends up doing it and he falls in deeper with Toohey's social circle.

  • Part 2, Chapter 5

    • Dominique returns to New York after her (not at all restful) vacation and meets Toohey at The Banner office.
    • The two of them bicker and debate and talk circles around each other. It seems like Toohey has an irritating superpower that allows him to turn all conversation intense and vague.
    • Toohey comments on a picture of the Enright House on Dominique's desk.
    • Dominique says the house is too good for him...and everyone else really.
    • Toohey pretty much agrees.
    • Roark totally designed the Enright House, and Dominique doesn't know that Roark is Roark as of yet.
    • Later Stephen Mallory goes on trial for trying to kill Toohey.
    • Toohey testifies at the trial and gets the judge to suspend Mallory's sentence. Mallory seems less than thrilled.
    • Later still, Toohey's Council of American Builders meets for the first time.
    • Keating is there and feels confused about the entire thing.
    • The meeting involves everyone complaining about the state of modern architecture, and then Toohey delivers a Socialist-lite speech.
    • Dominique is there, too, and Keating can't figure out why.
    • Neither can Toohey, actually. He and Dominique banter viciously as usual and Dominique says she's there for the story, as she is a journalist.
    • She and Keating then talk some.
    • Keating guesses that Dominique had a romance over the summer, but Dominique doesn't say much on the subject.
    • She suggests that they avoid each other, and Keating refuses. Wow. That's creepy and persistent.
    • Dominique shrugs and says he can suit himself.
  • Part 2, Chapter 6

    • With the money from the awesome Enright House, Roark reopens his office.
    • His pal Austen Heller swings by and invites Roark to a cocktail party. Heller says that a dude named Joel Sutton will be there, and he's interested in hiring Roark.
    • Roark isn't down with parties or with courting clients, but he agrees to go since Heller is his friend.
    • The party is filled with lots of rich snotty people.
    • Dominique is there, and she meets Roark-The-Architect—as opposed to Roark-The-Dude-Who-Works-In-A-Quarry—for the first time.
    • It's pretty awkward, and the two act like they don't know each other.
    • Dominique lets slip that she finds Roark good-looking, and Toohey overhears her and jumps all over that piece of juicy gossip.
    • Dominique plays it cool, though.
    • Toohey spends the night watching Roark carefully.
  • Part 2, Chapter 7

    • Dominique blasts Roark's Enright House in an article in The Banner, but she's really kind of praising it on the sly. That crafty Dominique is so sneaky.
    • Hardly anyone notices anything weird about the article, but Toohey does. He calls her out on her super secret message of praise.
    • Toohey starts needling Dominique about Roark and Keating, and she finally snaps and yells at him.
    • Meanwhile that Joel Sutton dude is having doubts about hiring Roark for a project.
    • Dominique says Roark would design a great house for him, but she says if Sutton wants to play it safe, he should hire Peter Keating.
    • Dominique goes to visit Roark and tells him that she wants him, but she also kind of hates him and she is going to try to destroy him as a test of strength.
    • Roark thinks that sounds like a plan.
    • Then they have sex.
    • This line from Roark pretty much sums up their relationship: "I'll fix breakfast for you in the morning. [....] Then you'll go home and think about destroying me. Good night, Dominique" (2.7.274).
    • These two are special.
  • Part 2, Chapter 8

    • Dominique continues to get commissions for Keating in order to build up his career.
    • Keating is confused by this since Dominique still brushes him off in private and doesn't even seem to like him much.
    • Dominique and Toohey also form a sort of alliance against Roark.
    • But in private, Dominique continues her kinky affair with Roark.
    • Roger Enright invites Dominique over to his house one day. He's upset with her for writing stuff about Roark and acting like a punk.
    • Dominique goes to see the structure of the Enright House being built, and she immediately falls in love with it.
    • She then goes and writes yet another article that slams and praises Roark all at once. This is par for the course: their relationship is built on the fact that Dominique and Roark are enemies by day, passionate lovers by night.
    • Later Dominique and Keating chat and he tries to figure out why she's helping him out.
    • She doesn't give him a clear answer.
    • All of New York society thinks that Keating and Dominique are very close, but in private Dominique wants nothing to do with Keating.
  • Part 2, Chapter 9

    • It's flashback time!
    • We get a chapter dedicated to the life story of Ellsworth Toohey.
    • In a nutshell, we find out that Toohey was a wimpy kid who developed a lot of resentment for kids who were bigger, faster, stronger, smarter, or richer than him.
    • Basically Toohey hated anything that was distinctive.
    • He decided that he liked ideas of humility and submission, and he started embracing and preaching that as he grew older.
    • At college and beyond, he gained a following with his ability to say nice sounding things and manipulate people.
    • Toohey worked as the world's worst career advisor for a while and encouraged mediocrity and conformity.
    • He then started writing and became a celebrity after he started publishing.
    • And that catches us up to the present day.
  • Part 2, Chapter 10

    • In June 1929, the Enright House opens and Roark starts getting more clients.
    • Toohey doesn't write about the Enright House in his column.
    • A guy named Anthony Cord hires Roark to build a skyscraper office building.
    • Another dude named Kent Lansing approaches Roark about building a luxury hotel called the Aquitania.
    • Lansing says that he'll have to fight the board of directors on Roark's behalf but says it'll be worth it in the end. Roark says okay.
    • Meanwhile Dominique spends her summer in the city for the first time in ages since she doesn't want to leave Roark.
    • A wealthy older dude named Hopton Stoddard decides he wants to build a temple to religion in order to atone for some of his past sins and shenanigans.
    • He is also a Toohey flunky.
    • Toohey manipulates Stoddard and tells him that he should hire Roark to do the temple.
    • Stoddard is hesitant, but Toohey insists that Roark is very spiritual.
    • He coaches Stoddard on exactly what to say to Roark to get him to take the job.
    • Roark has misgivings, but the idea of the project is too tempting, and he falls for Stoddard's routine.
  • Part 2, Chapter 11

    • Roark works on the temple with lots of energy and also works his butt off on his other projects, including the Aquitania.
    • In contrast, Peter Keating is hugely dissatisfied with his own Cosmo-Slotnick building (the one Roark kind of designed for him).
    • Toohey tells Keating to shut up and abandon his ego.
    • Roark hires Stephen Mallory to do a sculpture for his temple, and it's a process getting him to agree.
    • Mallory is very dejected and mistrustful, but he and Roark realize they are kindred spirits and artists.
    • Mallory agrees to do the project and becomes very devoted to Roark.
    • Roark suggests that Mallory use Dominique for a model for the statue.
    • Dominique poses for it...nude.
    • Roark, Dominique, Mallory, and Mike all bond and spend a lot of time hanging out at the temple as it is being finished.
  • Part 2, Chapter 12

    • The contract for the Aquitania hotel falls through. Lansing tried, but he couldn't win against the stupid board of directors.
    • But Roark still has his temple.
    • And then worse things happen.
    • Stoddard cancels the opening for the temple and then sues Roark for breach of contract, saying that the temple looks like crap and that Roark is incompetent.
    • This whole kerfuffle is extremely public, and nosey New York society is all over it.
    • Toohey tells Dominique that people will now remember Roark for screwing up a project.
    • Dominique is upset but tries to hide it from Toohey.
    • The case goes to trial, and it's basically a three-ring circus.
    • People like Keating testify against Roark.
    • Dominique testifies for Stoddard but defends Roark by saying no one on earth deserves the temple since it's too good for everyone.
    • Roark defends himself. He doesn't cross-examine anyone, and his entire defense is to show 10 photos of the temple.
  • Part 2, Chapter 13

    • Stoddard wins the suit and Roark has to pay him damages.
    • Dominique tries to publish her trial testimony in The Banner and Gail Wynand has her fired, which freaks out Alvah Scarrett.
    • Dominique doesn't care at this point since she's so put out with everyone for persecuting her true love, Roark.
    • Katie hates her job as a social worker and tries to talk to her uncle about her confused feelings.
    • Toohey does his typical song and dance routine and tells her to relinquish her ego and forget about things like her own happiness, which is silly and selfish.
    • Keating feels bad about testifying against Roark, and he goes to visit Katie.
    • The two talk, and he tells Katie they need to elope tomorrow.
    • Katie is thrilled, and she yells at Toohey that she's not scared of him now.
  • Part 2, Chapter 14

    • That night, Dominique proposes to Keating, and the two elope.
    • Uh, what?
    • No, it's for real. Keating developed amnesia and forgot his true love Katie, and Dominique decided to take her masochistic tendencies to a whole new level.
    • Dominique goes to Roark that night and tells him she loves him and that she married Keating to punish herself since she refuses to be happy in a world that treats Roark like it does.
    • Whoa. That's sort of romantic...sort of.
    • Roark accepts this (of course) and says he loves her and will wait for her to find her way to him.
  • Part 2, Chapter 15

    • Dominique moves in to Keating's house the next day.
    • Their marriage is a total sham. but Keating thinks it's cool that people envy him.
    • Dominique freaks out Mrs. Keating with her cold attitude, and she frustrates Keating with her refusal to really speak to him or act like she even likes him (she doesn't).
    • The Stoddard Temple is converted into a home for "Subnormal Children." "Subnormal" here means children who are suffering from disabilities. Wow, Rand. Way to be a total jerk.
    • Roark finishes the skyscraper for Cord, but he can't find any more work.
    • The stock market crash impacts the building industry and it's hard times for everyone.
    • Roark goes to visit his temple to see it and move on from the disaster.
    • Toohey confronts Roark at the temple that night. He asks what Roark thinks of him now, and Roark replies that he doesn't think of him.
    • Toohey seems bummed that Roark wouldn't talk to him.
  • Part 3, Chapter 1

    • Here begins Part 3, Gail Wynand.
    • Gail Wynand is having a relaxing morning at home, bonding with the gun he's holding in his hand.
    • Oh no. Wynard, this is freaking us out.
    • Ah, Wynard's just seeing if the gun makes him feel scared at all. It doesn't.
    • Wynand has a typical morning of being rich and fabulous, going through piles of mail and calling people like senators and scaring them into passing bills for him.
    • Someone had a breakfast of champions.
    • Wynand confronts Scarrett about a book being plugged mysteriously in Wynand's various subsidiary papers; he finds it obnoxious.
    • The book is called the Gallant Gallstone and it's by Lois Cook. Wow, that sounds boring and/or vaguely clinical.
    • Gail Wynand is considering a new real estate venture called Stoneridge.
    • Toohey tells Wynard to use Keating to get the whole Stoneridge thing happening. He also tells Wynard to meet Dominique before he makes up his mind.
    • After a super long day being powerful and shmoozing and manipulating people, Wynand goes home and thinks about his life.
    • He feels super-sad.
    • We get a huge flashback to Wynand's life.
    • He grew up in a neighborhood in New York called Hell's Kitchen.
    • Sounds cozy.
    • Wynand was in a street gang, and he worked hard to be tough and powerful.
    • He got a job as paper boy and worked his way up in the journalism industry.
    • Now he runs The Banner, which is like a giant tabloid, and is hugely powerful. He's like a classy Perez Hilton. (We love you, Perez!)
    • Wynand also has a secret art stash. Trés classy.
    • Toohey delivers Dominique's statue (the naked one meant for Roark's temple) to Wynand, and Wynand agrees to meet her.
  • Part 3, Chapter 2

    • Dominique and Keating have an evening at home, arguing incessantly.
    • They both start talking about how neither of them seem to have a soul.
    • Aww, such cute marital banter.
    • Dominique also gets in a parting shot and tells Keating he has no opinions of his own.
    • They talk some more and Keating finally gets Dominique to confess to her fling with Roark.
    • Toohey then drops by unexpectedly and interrupts their conversation.
    • Toohey has news: Wynand wants to meet with both of the Keatings since he's interested in using Keating for his new building project.
    • Keating leaves the room briefly, and Dominique and Toohey try to one-up each other, as usual. Dominique kicks off this exchange:
    • "You got Peter Keating where you wanted him—the leading architect of the country who's now mud clinging to your galoshes."
    • "I've never liked your style of expression, but it's always been accurate. I should have said: who's now a soul wagging its tail. Your style is gentler." (3.2.251-2)
  • Part 3, Chapter 3

    • Dominique goes to see Wynand in his office.
    • They connect instantly. Interesting.
    • Wynand tells Dominique right off the bat that he owns a naked statue of her, thanks to his pal Ellsworth Toohey, who is apparently an art dealer in his spare time.
    • Wynand and Dominique also talk about how he fired her.
    • They're both pretty cynical and abrupt with each other. Match made in heaven.
    • Dominique flat out offers to sleep with Wynand if he'll give Keating the job.
    • Wynand isn't shocked, but he is surprised she came out and said it so bluntly.
    • Wynand proves he's an amateur mind-reader and says he knows why Dominique made the offer: because it disgusts her.
    • She's surprised at his insight.
    • Yeah, sexual relations in this novel aren't exactly traditional.
    • Later the Keatings and Wynand have dinner together.
    • Wynand offers Keating the job in exchange for Dominique.
    • Well, that's different. And Keating doesn't seem terribly upset.
    • Dominique and Wynand ditch Keating and go to Wynand's private art gallery.
  • Part 3, Chapter 4

    • Wynand takes Dominique on a cruise on his fancy yacht.
    • He proposes once they get on board.
    • Dominique kind of likes him so she almost refuses; but then she remembers how his paper bashed Roark, and she agrees since she can't respect Wynand.
    • Wynand knows she's a huge masochist, but he likes her and wants to marry her for himself.
    • They kiss, and Dominique discovers she's physically attracted to him.
  • Part 3, Chapter 5

    • Wynand and Dominique return from their cruise.
    • Keating angrily asks if he's got the Stoneridge project.
    • Dominique says yes and then says he needs to go chat with Wynand.
    • Wynand tells Keating he wants to marry Dominique.
    • He offers Keating $250,000 as a settlement, and a broken-down Keating accepts after some futile shouting.
    • Dominique goes to visit Steven Mallory to find out where Roark is.
    • They have tea and visit.
    • Turns out Roark is building a department store in Ohio.
    • Dominique heads off for Reno, where she is getting her divorce.
    • Fun fact: Reno lowered their waiting periods on divorces to six weeks in 1931, making it a super popular destination for people looking to get a quickie divorce.
    • Meanwhile Toohey and Alvah Scarrett hear about the news, and both of them flip out...but for different reasons. Scarrett thinks a Wynand and Dominique union is a scandal doomed for failure, and Toohey is scared of those two joining forces against him.
    • Dominique makes a pit stop in Ohio and visits with Roark.
    • She updates him on the situation.
    • He's not happy about it, but he accepts her right to act as she chooses.
    • The two sit and talk easily for a while, and then Roark bids her goodbye at the train station and says he'll keep waiting for her.
  • Part 3, Chapter 6

    • Some dude named Ike reads a play at the Council of American Writers. and it's terrible.
    • But everyone praises it. Of course.
    • Toohey's council (who else would start a group like this?) has become the new literary elite.
    • The group is filled with a bunch of tortured artists who complain about everything.
    • Keating is there feeling depressed. His wifey is long gone.
    • Later Toohey comes out in praise of modern architecture as a style.
    • The change hurts Keating, who used classical influences in his work.
    • Keating asks Toohey what exactly happened to his devotion to classical influences, but Toohey gives him some lame platitudes and sends Keating on his way.
    • Keating gives a luncheon talk later and says that he designs for the public, so if people want modern stuff, he can do that.
    • Keating then essentially offers to do the public's laundry and take out the trash if they'll give him a project.
    • Francon retires, and Keating hires Neil Dumont as a partner, but he's not very good.
    • The firm starts to lose money.
  • Part 3, Chapter 7

    • Dominique returns from Reno, and Wynand puts her up in a hotel until their wedding.
    • He wants a private one, but she insists on a huge public ceremony that is as vulgar as possible.
    • Dominique actually wears black (scandalous!), and the thing is a media circus.
    • It sounds hilarious.
    • But Wynand gets the last laugh because he bans The Banner from covering his wedding.
    • Scarrett can't believe it, since it is news, but Wynand stands firm.
    • Dominique is impressed with Wynand's power-play skills.
    • Toohey and Scarrett discuss the fall-out from the wedding.
    • Thousands of letters have come in denouncing the marriage.
    • Scarrett is also worried that New Frontiers, a liberal magazine Toohey also freelances for, is seriously targeting Wynand.
    • Toohey says he's being paranoid.
  • Part 3, Chapter 8

    • The first few months of marriage are pretty peaceful and happy for Dominique and Gail.
    • Dominique stays at their penthouse, and Wynand doesn't want her to go out; he likes to be alone with her.
    • Dominique realizes she's happy. Uh oh. Dominique doesn't want to be happy.
    • She gives a ridiculous and fake interview to a Banner writer named Sally Brent.
    • Wynand fires Sally for doing it, and she goes to work for New Frontiers.
    • Dominique drags Wynand to a horrible play.
    • He admits he hated it but says something about how the pain only "went down to a certain point," which echoes what Roark said to Dominique once.
    • She freaks, and Gail and Dominique have a long and tense discussion about their lives and their selves.
    • Dominique tells Wynand that they are both traitors.
    • Wynand doesn't totally disagree, but he says he doesn't believe in the idea of perfection. There's no such thing, according to Wynard, as an honorable man.
  • Part 3, Chapter 9

    • Wynand and Dominique continue their discussion and talk about love and power.
    • Later, Wynand tells Dominique he plans to erect a beautiful building in Hell's Kitchen one day.
    • She then warns him about Toohey trying to take control of the paper, but he brushes off her concern.
    • She apologizes for marrying him when she didn't love him, and he says he's okay and happy because he loves her...and that's enough for him.
  • Part 4, Chapter 1

    • Here's Part 4, titled Howard Roark.
    • In New England, a random young guy on a bicycle sees a resort designed by Roark, and it inspires him to keep on going in life.
    • It's 1935 now.
    • We flashback to how Roark designed the inspirational resort in Monadnock Valley.
    • The commission for the place was a bit suspect, but Roark is too excited to care.
    • The project asked for Roark to design vacation cabins for lower middle class families who couldn't normally afford a nice vacation.
    • Roark liked this design challenge and quickly assembled his cracker-jack team to work on the project.
    • Roark lived in a cabin with his crew (Mallory, Mike) while working on the resort, and it was fun times for all.
    • The resort is finished and is very successful.
    • But then it turned out that the board wanted the resort to fail so they could pocket the money.
    • Mallory is all mad on Roark's behalf, but Roark says he doesn't care. The resort still got built, and it's actually quite successful.
    • Flashback over, everyone.
    • We're back in 1936, and Wynand asks Roark for a meeting. Ooh, this sounds ominous.
  • Part 4, Chapter 2

    • Wynand wants Roark to design him a house.
    • Roark is wary, but he and Wynand end up bonding during their meeting.
    • Wynand also rambles on about Dominique and how he wants to build the house for her.
    • Super awkward.
    • Roark does take the job, and he leaves to sketch out plans for the home.
    • Wynand reads all The Banner articles on Roark and thinks some about his life and his choices.
    • Think long and hard, Gail.
  • Part 4, Chapter 3

    • Wynand and Roark meet at the site for the new house.
    • The two chat and bond over shared past struggles.
    • Roark later visits Wynand's office, and Wynand tries to threaten him into becoming his personal architect.
    • Roark refuses and kind of rolls his eyes at Wynand for even trying.
    • Wynand laughs and knows he can't beat Roark down.
    • The two men seem to like each other even more now, and Roark will be allowed to build Wynand's house exactly as he designed it.
  • Part 4, Chapter 4

    • Wynand shows Dominique the sketches, and she knows that Roark is designing the house for her.
    • Awkward.
    • Roark comes over, and she and Roark act like strangers, as per usual.
    • Wynand and Roark are getting closer and are becoming friends.
    • Dominique does not like this much at all and starts feeling jealous.
    • This is one strange love triangle, that's for sure.
    • Back at the office, Wynand tells Toohey never to mention Roark in his column, and Toohey says okay.
    • Somehow we doubt Toohey's being sincere.
  • Part 4, Chapter 5

    • Wynand and Roark continue to bond and become friends.
    • Wynand asks Roark out for lunch and begins to seek him out pretty regularly for advice and conversation.
    • Dominique is frustrated that Roark is so close yet so far and struggles with her feelings.
    • Her relationship with Wynand also shifts now that Wynard is buddy-bud-buds with Roark.
  • Part 4, Chapter 6

    • Toohey goes to a dinner party and listens to his lackeys spout off Toohey-approved propaganda.
    • They all hate Wynand.
    • Toohey leaves feeling victorious.
  • Part 4, Chapter 7

    • Keating is alone at his office, which now only occupies one floor. Oof.
    • The firm Keating and Dumont is not doing well at all.
    • Keating is also getting chubby in his middle age.
    • He has his mom move back in with him, and he takes up painting again.
    • His prestige is declining and he's getting a reputation for being old fashioned and boring.
    • Toohey has abandoned him for a hot new architect named Gus Webb.
    • A new housing project, the Cortlandt House, comes up, and it could save Keating's career.
    • But Toohey won't help him get the commission and confesses that he only backed Keating to prevent the rise of a "true" talent, meaning Roark.
    • Toohey has a new golden boy now, Guss Webb, and Keating is out like a losing contestant on Project Runway. Auf wiedersehen.
    • Toohey tells Keating that if he can manage the Cortlandt House then he'll support him again.
    • Keating knows he can't do it and calls Roark for help.
  • Part 4, Chapter 8

    • Keating and Roark meet and come to an understanding of sorts.
    • Roark will design the housing project for the joy of the work and the design challenge it poses (to make affordable and beautiful homes for lower income tenants).
    • Keating promises he'll fight for Roark's design and understands Roark's love for his work now—Keating will get credit but no joy from the process.
    • He shows Roark his paintings, and Roark is honest about them not being very good.
    • Keating's long-held desire to become an artist is pretty much dead in the water now.
    • Keating leaves, and Roark feels disgusted about pitying him.
  • Part 4, Chapter 9

    • Roark's designs are great, of course.
    • He and Dominique and Wynand hang out together on weekends, and Dominique still feels jealous of his close relationship with Wynand.
    • Toohey tells Keating he's a genius, even though he knows Keating didn't do the work.
    • Wynand finds out that Roark actually designed the Cortlandt House and is furious with Roark for doing it. Roark doesn't care, though.
    • Wynand decides to use The Banner to support Roark and his work, but everyone in the city hates and ignores The Banner now, so it doesn't have the desired effect.
    • Wynand takes Roark's to Hell's Kitchen and confides his plans for a skyscraper to him; Roark is enthused about it and hopes to build it one day.
  • Part 4, Chapter 10

    • Keating runs into Katie unexpectedly, and the two have coffee together.
    • Keating is saddened and horrified to see how Katie is now—she seems numbed and her spirit is dead. She works as a social worker for an agency in D.C. and has nothing except her job now.
    • She says she was hurt horribly over Dominique and nearly had a breakdown.
    • But then she says she got over it and doesn't bother to fight fate now.
    • Keating feels bad and tries to apologize, but Katie won't even listen to him or acknowledge that anything is even wrong.
    • He says doing what you really want is hard, and she tells him not to be selfish.
    • She then leaves with empty promises to catch up again soon, and Keating feels defeated.
  • Part 4, Chapter 11

    • Roark is wrapping up the Cortlandt House for Keating, and it's looking good.
    • So Roark and Wynand go on a yacht trip together and discuss philosophy.
    • This was a boys-only trip. Next up, Roark and Wynand will build a super secret clubhouse: No Girls Allowed.
    • On the intellectual boating trip, Roark delivers Rand's/the book's philosophy in a nutshell. Check it out... or head on over to the "Themes" and the "In a Nutshell" section for more on the book's ideas on individualism.
  • Part 4, Chapter 12

    • Roark returns to find that the Cortlandt House has been altered by Toohey's goons.
    • Keating tried to stop everyone (the board, the government, banks, etc.) from changing it, but he couldn't fight them all.
    • Roark contacts Dominique directly for the first time since Ohio.
    • He tells Dominique to go to the Cortlandt House that night and pretend she's out of gas and then get out of the car.
    • She distracts the gate attendant and gets him to leave to get her some gas.
    • Roark then blows up the building.
    • Dominique screams for him and then runs back to her car.
    • Dominique cuts herself to make it look like she'd been in the car the entire time.
    • ...But she overdoes it and hits an artery.
    • She nearly dies from blood loss. Oh dear.
  • Part 4, Chapter 13

    • Dominique wakes up at Wynand's house. He's been super worried since she could have died.
    • Wynand knows Roark was behind the explosion.
    • He's glad Roark did what he did and that she tried to help, but he still hasn't guessed at the affair between the two of them.
    • He pays Roark's bail from jail and Roark comes over to the penthouse and basically moves in.
    • Roark comes to see Dominique; he's been worried.
    • Roark tells Dominique he wants her to leave Wynand if he gets acquitted but to stay put if he has to go to jail.
    • Wynand uses The Banner again to defend Roark, but it's an up-hill battle since Toohey has somehow prejudiced everyone against Roark.
    • Wynand starts to realize how thorough Toohey has been in in corrupting his organization and in shoring up power.
    • Dominique is too weak from blood loss to say "Told you so."
  • Part 4, Chapter 14

    • Toohey and Keating have a confrontation, and Keating realizes how evil Toohey is...but also how dependent he is on Toohey.
    • It's a pretty miserable moment for Keating.
    • Toohey twirls his mustache and laughs evilly. Metaphorically speaking, of course.
    • Toohey also wants Keating to confess that Roark actually designed the building to make Roark look worse for his trial.
    • Keating is so downtrodden now that he agrees.
  • Part 4, Chapter 15

    • Toohey publishes a column criticizing Roark, and Wynand fires him.
    • The pro-Toohey employees go on strike.
    • Unfortunately, the pro-Toohey employees comprise nearly all of The Banner employees.
    • Wynand continues to run his paper on a skeleton crew, but he's fighting a losing battle and no one will buy The Banner now.
    • Dominique comes back to work for The Banner and kicks butt at being an editor and copywriter.
    • She, Scarrett, and Wynand are practically doing all the jobs at The Banner now.
  • Part 4, Chapter 16

    • Wynand holds out as long as he can, but his paper is nearly ruined.
    • He walks the streets of New York and thinks about what he should do.
    • Finally he decides he can't let his life's work just die. And his actions aren't helping anyone since Toohey sort of rigged the entire game.
    • He gives in to pressure and publishes an apology to Toohey.
    • The Banner sales go back up ,and Toohey's crowd comes back to work.
    • Wynand feels like he's just sold his soul.
  • Part 4, Chapter 17

    • Roark sends Wynand a letter of forgiveness, but Wynand returns it unopened.
    • Dominique goes to Roark at the Monadnock Resort, and they finally come together as a couple.
    • She then tips off the press to their affair. Scandal!
    • Wynand is hurt, but he understands.
    • Wynand agrees to divorce her.
    • She goes to see him and explains that she's always loved Roark.
    • Wynand handles everything pretty well, considering.
    • Scarrett wants to use the scandal to help The Banner, and Wynand agrees.
    • They publish a story saying Dominique made Wynand defend her lover, and the public forgives Wynand and feels sorry for him.
    • Dominique and Roark are okay with this since it helps Wynand out.
  • Part 4, Chapter 18

    • Roark represents himself at the trial, as usual. He should just take the bar exam at this point.
    • He chooses an unsympathetic jury, deliberately. Because otherwise the trial would be boring.
    • Keating delivers testimony like an automaton, or a robot. He's been totally defeated by Toohey.
    • The basic case against Roark is that he illegally blew up a government housing project meant for helpless poor people.
    • Roark makes a speech about his beliefs, though, and gets everyone pumped up about individualism, artistic integrity, the coolness of architecture, capitalism, truth, justice, and the American way.
    • The jury acquits him for his awesome speaking skills and just ignores the fact that blowing up buildings is totally illegal.
    • Wynand walks out of the court quietly.
  • Part 4, Chapter 19

    • Roger Enright buys the Cortlandt House from the government and hires Roark to rebuild it the way he originally wanted.
    • The housing project will charge reasonable rents and is now privately owned and out of government hands, something that Ayn Rand approves of.
    • Wynand is forced to rehire Toohey.
    • But then he shuts down The Banner and tells Toohey he's out of a job.
    • Psych!
    • Toohey just goes to work for another paper, though, so Wynand's victory isn't all that stellar.
    • Wynand hires Roark to build the Wynand skyscraper in Hell's Kitchen.
  • Part 4, Chapter 20

    • Eighteen months have passed.
    • Dominique visits Roark at the construction site of the Wynand building, which is going to be super tall and super fabulous.
    • They are now married and are very happy.
    • She goes up the elevator and passes above everything in the city: banks, churches, businesses, etc. It's the world's most symbolic elevator ride.
    • Roark is at the top of the building waving to her. He's king of the world.