Fountain Head Essay
Individualism, the only element which makes a person's character unique. In the Fountain Head, a character binds true to this belief and goes by the name of Howard Roark. This young architect who had his own viewpoint of the world and how he envisioned it, was condemned by the media and the public by doing so. Roark's lifestyle completely perpendiculates the mundane lifestyle that the average citizen lives. Roark conforms to only what he considers valid in his own conscience. The novel opens the door to lead the way against the oppression of conformity. The environment which Howard was placed into didn't help in his situation to freely express his thoughts on certain subjects. This was mainly made possible by the people who he had come in contact through out the years. Many examples of this type of movement are shown by the actions taken by Roark during his career as an architect.
All of the actions taken by Roark had a deep profound effect on one key player in the novel, Toohey. Toohey with all the power he had with the public and through the newspaper, was not able to manipulate Howard into his way of thinking. The general public who read the Banner had been convinced that Toohey new what he was talking about on all subjects. His plan to manipulate the public and gather them as a whole was directly countered with every move that Howard made. One of these major moves was the building of the Stoddard Temple. With the temple, Roark had the freedom to build whatsoever he choose. This gave him a medium to express his viewpoint without having any restrictions. After the delayed unveiling of the temple, it was condemned by the public. At the head of this group was no other than Toohey. He wrote articles in the newspaper on how the temple in no way represented the human spirit. The temple allowed Howard to display his individualism, his uniqueness, and his self being. This temple was looked down upon because it did not conform to the ancient styles of architecture. Due to the amount of uniqueness found in the temple, it opposed the conventional view that life required conformity.
Howard's special relationship between himself and Gail came about because of their unique individualism. They both believe in the same ways of thinking and therefore they are very much on the same plane of conscienceless. The reason why Gail conformed to society was to play against their trust in the future. When the Banner first got started, it ran two stories to test which types of stories would best fit society. This type of conformity allowed the Banner to be accepted inside the home. This strategic move allowed the Banner to become enormously popular among the populous. Once the trust has been built between the public and the paper, manipulation can start occurring. Gail's individualistic side began to show up when Howard designed the house that was built for him. Gail used his power to filter out the information that goes on the paper. When Gail turned his cheek away from the masses and more toward his individual viewpoint, his downfall begins. Individualism has a price, but well worth its weight in gold.
A person who did conform to the wants and needs of society was Peter Keating. Peter was foolish enough to be controlled by the public. This eventually lead to his downfall because of his lacking of character. His character as a human being was made up of what the public wanted to see. With Peter living a false life, the only way he could live was to live up to the public's requirements. Peter always needed help with his building projects because he was never proficient enough to design a building all by himself. The public expected Peter to design outstanding buildings that everybody would enjoy. These buildings would not be possible without the work that was placed in from Howard. When the architecture industry was on the decline, he did not know what to do because he had no public to base his work on. The novel spins off on the issue of the virtues of being an individual.
Life requires compromise is a very unique way of saying that people should be known as numbers and should live only as a statistic. These are they types of people who are afraid of change and live a very mundane lifestyle. If this phrase were to have any truth in it, many things in today's society would of never came to people. Christopher Columbus would of never traveled off to sea if he conformed to the general public into thinking that the Earth was flat and he would fall of the face of the planet. Many great outcomes have occurred by of the individualistic attitude which is well represented in the Fountain Head.
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