TUESDAY, August 7, 2012 7:00 PM Arrival Time

The Fountainhead Session 7
We are discussing Ayn Rand’s epic novel The Fountainhead in one session per month in 2012.

Jackie Hazelton

The Fountainhead, Part 2, Chapters 7, 8, & 9
Pages 272-314 in the Centennial Edition
Pages 283-326 in the Bobbs-Merrill hardback
Pages 258-299 in the Signet paperback

The Fountainhead

Part II - Ellsworth M. Toohey

Chapter VII [pp. 283-292 Bobbs-Merrill hardback; pp. 258-266 Signet paperback]

1. Is Dominique honest in denying she had met Roark before the party? Why would she make that denial to Toohey? [283-284;258-259]

2. Why does Toohey say that Dominique’s review of the Enright House is a rotten trick to play upon him? Why does she say she thought it was well done? [284;259]

3. Why does Toohey think Peter Keating is useful to know? Toohey says he plans not to write about Roark’s building, and he claims to be talking about Keating, yet his focus is on Roark. What do these tell us about Toohey, and his concerns about Roark? [284-286;260-261]

4. Given Dominique’s attempts to thwart Roark’s success, why does she write reviews that reveal to the perceptive that she admires his work? Why doesn’t she just follow Toohey’s example, and not mention his work at all? [283-286;258-261]

5. How well does Dominique understand Joel Sutton? [286-288;261-263]

6. Why is Sutton so astonished when Roark laughs at the discosure that Dominique said Sutton could tell Roark of her role in his “decision”? What did he expect Roark to do? [288-289;263-264]

7. Is it reasonable for Rand to project Roark as understanding Dominique so well, even though he says that he usually cannot understand other people at all? Why does Roark say that he wouldn’t want Dominique if she didn’t want to destroy him? [289-292;264-266]

Chapter VIII [pp. 293-312 Bobbs-Merrill hardback; pp. 267-286 Signet paperback]

8. What does Toohey mean when he says he extracts joy from acts which were not intended for him at all, “in a purely selfless way”? He talks about Dominique being “on his side.” If he is as selfless as he claims, does having a “side” make any sense? [294-295;268]

9. What particular technique of propaganda that Toohey uses does Dominique mention? Was this a significant concern of Rand in the real world? How so? [295-296;269-270]

10. Toohey says that kindness is more important than justice, and that it’s better not to expect too much of people. Later he says that this is because he’s a humanitarian, and wants people to feel comfortable in their mediocrity. Based on what we have seen in the story so far, is it credible that he really believes this? [296-300;269-274]

11. Dominique appears to actively encourage people to lower their expectations for themselves. In doing so, is she even worse than Toohey, who merely says he wants then to be comfortable in not being better than they are? [300-301;274]

12. Austen Heller and Roger Enright both fail to understand the meaning behind Dominique’s articles on the Enright House, though Enright almost makes the breakthrough. Is it credible that they do not see what Dominique is doing? [304-307;277-280]

13. Why does Dominique ask Roark what kind of plumbing fixtures will be installed in the Enright House? ??? [306;279]

14. Why is Peter Keating so eager to thank Dominique when It’s so obvious she doesn’t want to be thanked, nor even to see him, especially? [308-311;281-284]

15. Why does Gordon Prescott’s mumbo-jumbo sound so much like something Toohey would say? Why does Keating like the useless meetings of the Council of American Builders so much? [311-312;285-286]

Chapter IX [pp. 313-326 Bobbs-Merrill hardback; pp. 286-299 Signet paperback]

16. Why does young Ellsworth Toohey repeatedly, seemingly offhandedly, point out other fathers who own their own businesses to his own father? What sort of value system does Ellsworth seem to adopt from his own mother? [314-315;286-288]

17. When Ellsworth studies religion, what unusual approach does he take towards the usual teachings? Why does that lead him towards socialism? [317-320;290-293]

18. What sort of behavior does Toohey encourage in those who come to him for advice? Why? With what result? [319-322;293-295]

19. Toohey, in his newspaper columns, and in his personal encounters with people, preaches commonplace claims that most people accept unquestioningly. To what end does he use these claims? How does he manage to do so? [317-325;290-298]

20. What conception of “individualist” do Toohey’s friends have and how do they apply the term to the members of Toohey’s various councils? [325-326;298-299]

21. Rand devotes an entire chapter to the story of how Ellsworth Toohey came to be who he is, yet rarely do we learn much about how her heroes came to be who they are. Why do you think this is? Is it an effective technique, or would it be more interesting to know less about her villains and more about the development of her heroes? [313-326;286-299]

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Jackie Hazelton
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