Wednesday, March 3, 2010

TOPIC: Fountainhead

. Talk about the altrusim v. selfishness, one of the novel's key issues. How do the characters (or Rand) turn those qualities on their heads?

2. Discuss the portrayal of women in the novel, specifically Dominique and Catherine. How do they compare to the novel's male characters?

3. Consider Roark's bombing of the Cortlandt Complex. Are we supposed to approve or disapprove his use of violence?

4. What are the differences between the Dean's philosophy and Roark's? Consider, for instance, how the Dean believes in traditional architecture and the desires of the client rather than innovation and artistic freedom.

5. Toohey and Roark are alike in that they are driven by the belief in adhering to one's principles. How do they differ?


6. Read Book IV, Chapter 3 of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics (and as much of the rest of Aristotle's ethics as possible) and write an essay answering the question: Does Howard Roark qualify as an example of Aristotle's "proud man" (sometimes translated as "the great-souled man")?

7. Read Ayn Rand's novel, Atlas Shrugged. Both novels are about the role of the mind in man's life. In The Fountainhead, the focus is on the individualistic nature of the mind's functioning, while Atlas Shrugged emphasizes the mind as man's tool of survival. Compare Ayn Rand's understanding of the mind's role in human life as presented in The Fountainhead with the broader and deeper understanding in Atlas Shrugged.

8. Read Marx and Engels' The Communist Manifesto. Is the collectivist society envisioned by Ellsworth Toohey consistent with the communist state advocated by Marx and Engels?

9. Read Ayn Rand's The Virtue of Selfishness or Leonard Peikoff's Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. How does Howard Roark's character and life illustrate Ayn Rand's theory of rational egoism?

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