Human Reason in The Fountainhead
From Aristotle to modern times, the faculty of human reason has been the subject of contrasting depictions in literature. In Crime and Punishment, for example, Fyodor Dostoyevsky emphasizes the tragic outcome of Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov's obsession with rationalization; in the end, the protagonist rejects his intellect and embraces religious faith. With The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand presents an opposing viewpoint - that human reason is the foundation for achievement and happiness. The fictional world of the novel includes the rare few who use their capacity for rational thought, and the masses who, according to Howard Roark, do not want reason on their side. Though Roark never doubts the power of rationality, Dominique Francon and Gail Wynand partially surrender to the reign of absurdity, and Ellsworth Monkton Toohey and his lackey Peter Keating represent the forces of complete irrationality. This spectrum of attitudes serves to dramatize the philosophy outlined in The Fountainhead, or the essential difference between first-handers like Roark and second-handers like Keating.
Society in The Fountainhead is remarkably averse to truth and reason. The New York Banner is most successful when it ignores logical evidence in favor...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 773 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 5225 literature essays, 1580 sample college application essays, 204 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in