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The Fountainhead Essay Contest Information. What motivated you to enter the contest? Would you like to receive a free copy of an Ayn Rand book?

Please select a book below. After reading your first book by Ayn Rand, did you take any of the following actions? Select all that apply. Which resource s did you use to find scholarships? On which scholarship site s did you find this contest? How likely would you be to participate in a video contest on The Fountainhead compared to writing an essay? How did you hear about the contest? Yes No Please select a book below. It integrates the basic elements of an entire philosophy into a highly complex, yet dramatically compelling plot set in a near-future U.

The Virtue of Selfishness Ayn Rand presents her revolutionary concept of egoism in essays on the morality of rational selfishness and the political implications of her moral philosophy. Capitalism Essays on the theory and history of capitalism demonstrating it as the only moral economic system, i.

Graduate, Law, Med, etc. Your Teacher and School Information. If you do not have a Teacher ID enter your school's zip code:. Name of the teacher who assigned the essay if applicable. But The Fountainhead is not fundamentally about politics. The book warns against a more subtle manifestation of collectivism, one that underlies the political danger and makes that danger possible.

Although all human beings have minds, many people choose not to use theirs, looking instead to others for guidance. Many people prefer to be led in their personal lives by an authority figure — be it parents, teachers, clergymen, or others. Those who prefer to be led by authority figures are conformists, refusing the responsibility of thought and self-directed motivation, taking the path of least resistance in life.

In the character of Peter Keating, a conventional architect who goes by public taste, Ayn Rand provides an incisive glimpse into the soul of such an abject follower. The picture is frightening. Keating, in many ways an average American status seeker, desires acclaim from others. In exchange for social approval, he is willing to sacrifice any and all of his personal convictions.

He becomes a blind follower of the power broker, Ellsworth Toohey, and in so doing reveals the mentality of the millions of "true believers" who blindly follow a Jim Jones, a Sun Myung Moon, or an Adolf Hitler. Ayn Rand shows that conformity, a widespread phenomenon in contemporary American society, is one of the underlying causes of collectivist dictatorship. In The Fountainhead , Rand also shows that nonconformity, often thought to be the opposite of blind obedience, is merely a variation on the same theme.

The nonconformist, too, places the beliefs of others first, before his own thinking; he merely reacts against them, instead of following them. It is no accident that Ayn Rand shows these rebels as followers of Toohey, because nonconformists, placing others first, always cluster into private enclaves that inevitably demand rigid obedience to their own set of rules.

Nonconformists value freethinking no more than does the herd of conformists. The nonconformist characters of the novel are fictional examples of historical movements of the early twentieth century.

They are predominantly writers and artists who rebel against grammar, coherent sentences, and representational art in the same way that the surrealists, expressionists, and Dadaists did in actual fact. This band of real-life rebels, not surprisingly, centered in Weimar, Germany, in the s. Outwardly, some opposed Hitler. But at a deeper level, their blind rebelliousness against others and their slavish conformity to their own little subgroup fostered a herd mentality similar to that of the conformists.

The nonconformists, too, were part of the culture that spawned the Nazis. This is why, in The Fountainhead , when Toohey is chided for cultivating a circle of "rabid individualists," he merely laughs and responds: The issue of conformity in the story relates to another real-life movement of the time. The Fountainhead takes place in America in the s and s. Roark and his mentor, Henry Cameron, are early designers of the modern style.

Although the book is not historical fiction, and the lives of Cameron and Roark are not based on the lives of real-life individuals, their struggles parallel the battles waged by Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright.

In the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, the architectural style that still dominated American building was Classical. American architects largely copied Greek and Roman designs or those of other historical periods such as the Renaissance. Louis Sullivan was one of the first to build in what became known as the modern style.

Generally held to be the father of modern architecture and, in particular, of the skyscraper, Sullivan waged a long battle for his ideas against conventional standards. Harriman also notes that Frank Lloyd Wright , the greatest of the modern designers, is famous for his "strikingly original designs.

Although the events of Roark's life are not identical to the events of Wright's, in the broad sense Wright does serve as the model for Howard Roark. Cameron and Roark, in the novel, struggle against characters like the Dean of Stanton Institute, who believes that all the great ideas in architecture have been discovered already by the designers of the past, and that contemporary architects are simply to copy those ideas.

Sullivan and Wright, in real life, battled against similar instances of conformity. Though important similarities between Rand's fictional characters and Sullivan and Wright do exist, it is important to remember that Roark and Cameron are exemplars of innovativeness and independent thought; they are not fictionalized versions of Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan.

In her previous novels, Ayn Rand had also glorified the heroism of the freethinking human mind, although in different forms. Her first novel , We the Living , published in , tells the story of three individuals who dare to think for themselves in the Communist dictatorship of Soviet Russia. Its heroine, Kira Arguonova, is similar to the author; she is an independently thinking young woman, fiercely opposed to the totalitarian state in which she exists.

But Kira desires to be an engineer in a society in which neither her bourgeois background nor her freethinking mind is welcome. Despite being an outstanding student, she is expelled from engineering school. The story focuses on her relationships with two men — Leo Kovalensky, the aristocrat whom she loves, and Andrei Taganov, the Communist who loves her.

Leo is a brilliant young scholar, but his aristocratic family and individualistic views leave him no future in the Soviet Union. Andrei, an honest man who believes sincerely in the ideals of the Bolshevik Revolution, witnesses the harsh fate to which Kira is condemned, and must question the virtue of the Communist principles for which he has always stood. We the Living shows the fate of freethinking men and women in a totalitarian state. Her second book, the novella, Anthem, published in , also takes place in a collectivist dictatorship — but in an unspecified future.

The dominance of the group over the individual is so absolute in this society that it has even outlawed the word "I. With independent thought stifled, this society has lost all technological progress and reverted to a primitive condition.

The hero reinvents the electric light, but is condemned to death for the crime of thinking for himself. Further, contrary to the state's decree, he dares to love a woman of his own choosing. In both love and work, he thinks independently, refusing to obey, unwilling to surrender the things most precious to him.

Ayn Rand shows in Anthem that all the values that make human life valuable and joyous come from the individual, not from society. In both We the Living and Anthem , the independent heroes are pitted against a collectivist dictatorship; in both books the theme is political, emphasizing the necessity of freedom for human progress and happiness. But the theme in The Fountainhead is deeper and more complex. It is psychological and epistemological. It concerns the way in which individuals choose to use their minds — whether they think and value independently or whether they allow their lives to be dominated, in one form or another, by the beliefs of others.

The story of innovative architect Howard Roark, and his lifelong battle against a society committed to traditional forms of design, The Fountainhead glorifies the great original thinkers of history. Ayn Rand's subsequent Atlas Shrugged , published in , carries further the same idea.


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The theme of The Fountainhead, said Ayn Rand, is “individualism versus collectivism, not in politics, but in man’s soul.” How do the motives and actions of Roark, Keating and Toohey dramatize this theme?

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For your essay, consider also what Ayn Rand writes in this excerpt from her novel The Fountainhead, titled “The Soul of an Individualist.” The old locks and lack of guards in the Palace of Corrective Detention indicate that prisoners never try to escape.

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The Fountainhead literature essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of The Fountainhead. - The Ideal Man Defined in The Fountainhead Ayn Rand has based her novel, The Fountainhead on the projection of an ideal man. It is the portrayal of a moral ideal as .

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The Fountainhead study guide contains a biography of Ayn Rand, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. Essays on Ayn rand the fountainhead The Ayn rand the fountainhead is one of the most popular assignments among students' documents. If you are stuck with writing or missing ideas, scroll down and find inspiration in the best samples.