Study Guide

The Fountainhead Power

By Ayn Rand

Power

The Fountainhead's attitude toward power is kind of... weird. It doesn't so much resemble real life, especially real life in America (circa the 1940s or otherwise).

Who is the oppressed, initially powerless figure? Oh yeah, it's Roark: the white, male capitalist. Poor dude must have really had it hard, right? And what is this underprivileged figure railing against? He's oppressed by a society that dabbles in the Socialism-lite of collectivism.

That whoosh sound you just heard was every brain cell in your mind succumbing to epic confusion. Rand was writing about America, right?

But Roark ultimately attains power—the power of his beliefs and of his individualism. Go get 'em, tiger.

Questions About Power

  1. Does Roark have power in this novel? If so, how does he get it and how does he use it?
  2. Roark and Dominique are engaged in an ongoing power play. Does either of them ever really get the upper hand?
  3. What sort of lessons about power do we get from Gail Wynand's life story?
  4. Does Roark really seem to want power, or is he just too cool to care?

Chew on This

Toohey is ultimately not very powerful since he is taken down by the strong individualism of Roark.

Toohey is actually very powerful and maintains his power even as the novel ends; while Roark might triumph, Toohey's widespread and strong influence can't be discounted.