WHEN:
TUESDAY, April 3, 2012 7:00 PM Arrival Time

TOPIC:
The Fountainhead Session 4
We are discussing Ayn Rand’s epic novel The Fountainhead in one session per month in 2012.

DISCUSSION LEADER:
Jim Kirk Chapter 13
Jackie Hazelton Chapters 14-15

READINGS:
The Fountainhead, Part 1, Chapters 10-13
Pages 156-200 in the Centennial Edition
Pages 164-209 in the Bobbs-Merrill hardback
Pages 151-193 in the Signet paperback

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: by John Kannarr
The Fountainhead

Part I – Peter Keating

Chapter XIII [pp. 164-177 Bobbs-Merrill hardback; pp. 151-163 Signet paperback]

1. Is it true that there is nothing Roark could say to people about his buildings? What would you tell him to say? Are the defining qualities of his buildings objective or subjective characteristics? [164-166;151-153]

2. What does it mean to say that Roark is “too arrogant to boast”? [166-167;153]

3. Why does Mrs. Wilmot want Roark for an architect? Are there any arguments that Roark could offer her that would be likely to reach her? [167-168;153-155]

4. Roark offers strong arguments to Mr. Mundy about what he, Mundy, appears to be doing in asking for a particular type of house. Does this seem to be consistent with previous statements about Roark’s inability to understand other people? [169-170;155-157]

5. In spite of their differences, Mundy says that he likes Roark. Does that make any sense? [170;157]

6. When talking to Mr. Janss, Roark seems to be describing his vision of integrity. Is this consistent with earlier statements Roark himself made about “some one principle” to cover his “kind of people” that he couldn’t quite explain? [165-166,170-172;152-153,157-159]

7. We don’t find out (here at least) how the Fargo department store project turns out. Does that detract from the story? [173;159-160]

8. Why does Roark agree to pay for certain changes to the house he has designed, even though it involves rebuilding an already completed wing? What does that tell us about Roark’s concept of a building’s integrity? [176;162-163]

9. How does the Architects’ Guild take revenge upon Roark for his non-conformity to their practices? Is the Sanborn residence uninhabitable, as they claim? [177;163]

Chapter XIV [pp. 178-189; pp. 163-174]

10. Why does Peter no longer show any respect toward Lucius N. Heyer, after being so solicitous towards him earlier in the novel? Why does Peter’s changed attitude puzzle Heyer so? [178-179;163-164]

11. What sort of issues does Peter consider in designing for the Cosmo-Slotnik competition? What does Roark attend to instead? Roark says he doesn’t enter competitions. What does that say about his opinion of those who judge such competitions? Why would he “go blank” with such projects when he designs others with no such hindrance? [180-182;165-167]

12. What is it about the Enright House project that intrigues Roark? When Enright’s gatekeeper turns Roark away, why does Roark give up so easily? What might Roark have done differently? [183-184;169]

13. What does Cameron say that seems to presage the theme of Atlas Shrugged? Why does Rand not develop that theme in this novel? [184-186;170-171]

14. How would you describe Dominique’s treatment of Keating? Do her actions match her words? Why does Keating persist in his pursuit of Dominique? Does he really believe that getting the partnership with Francon depends on marrying her? Why does he experience such conflicting feelings about her, and why can’t he make up his mind? [186-189;171-174]

Chapter XV [pp. 190-209; pp. 174-193]

15. What does Keating fear above all else? [190;174-175]

16. What change occurs that (temporarily at least) causes Keating to lose his fear? [191;175-176]

17. After Heyer’s death, how does Keating manage to change his feelings of guilt into justification and innocence? [194-195;178-179]

18. Why do the words of the award for the Cosmo-Slotnik building eat at Keating? Which features of the building are most celebrated? [195-198;179-182]

19. Keating says that Roark’s problem is that he thinks he is better than everyone else. Is that what or how Roark thinks? Keating says that if Roark will just “drop that fool delusion,” Roark will be successful and will “be one of us!” Does Keating think that argument will persuade Roark? [200;183-184]

20. What does Keating mean when he suggests that Roark should “work like a normal person?” Why is that so important to Keating? [200-201;184-185]

21. Keating asks Roark why he thinks he “can do this to people.” What does Keating mean by that? What sort of metaphysics do Keating’s statements represent when he tells Roark, “You can’t touch me! I have the whole world with me!”? [202;186]

22. Is Weidler dishonest with Roark when he tells him Roark has gotten the commisssion for the bank building, or does he truly not understand what Roark’s reaction would be to the “compromise” being offered? [203-204;187-188]

23. Weidler calls Roark’s decision “fanatical and selfless.” Roark calls it the most selfish act “you’ve ever seen a man do.” How are they using the terms selfish and selfless differently? [206;189-190]

24. Why doesn’t Mike want Red (Roark) to take a building trade job in New York City? How is this attitude similar to that of Keating and the bank chairman and Weidler? Is it different in any way? [207-208;190-191]

25. “But in a trash basket on a corner a crumpled sheet of newspaper was rustling, beating convulsively against the wire mesh.” Besides being a great descriptive image, does this reflect the idea of Roark’s struggle? Why do you think Rand added the passage in which this line occurs? [208;192]

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Jackie Hazelton
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(e) AZObjectivists_at_cox_dot_net

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