The Fountainhead

The Fountainhead Summary and Analysis of Part II, Chapters 6-10

Chapter 6

Roger Enright had transformed himself from a coal miner to a millionaire without any help. His fortune is entirely his, for he does not believe in the stock market. Other wealthy people hate him for "becoming wealthy so crudely." He hires Roark after half an hour, for he knows what he likes and does not care about anything else.

Roark reopens his office and hires draftsmen based solely on the drawings they show him. Sometimes Roark thinks of Dominique. He thinks he knows where to find her and that he will go to her when she will be "ready either to kill him or to come to him of her own will."

Just before the construction of the Enright House begins, Joel Sutton approaches Roark about designing a huge office building. A week passes, and Austen Heller forces Roark to go to one of Kiki Holcombe's parties, telling him that Joel Sutton will be there and that it will help him get the commission. But Roark only agrees when Austen Heller mentions that Guy Francon's daughter will be there and that he should meet her.

At Holcombe's party, Ellsworth Toohey is teasing Kiki herself, calling her charming but then pointing out that charm is useless. He adds that the most useless people of all are aristocrats--so Kiki decides she does not mind being called useless. Keating basks in the glow of admiration that surrounds him until he and Toohey come face to face--Toohey comments that everyone in the room is trying to attach themselves to Keating except Dominique Francon. Keating approaches Dominique, but she treats him with such frustrating disinterest that he leaves after a moment.

Roark and Heller enter the room, and Holcombe greets them. She tells Roark that she admires the Enright House. It is not to her taste, but she considers herself very broad-minded. Roark comments that he has never been broad-minded. Kiki takes the comment as "insolent." She takes Roark to meet Dominique, and they speak as though they never met. Heller concludes regretfully that Dominique does not like Roark, and then Kiki takes him away to speak to someone else. Roark and Dominique discuss a friend of Austen Heller's, and Dominique perceives that Roark is trying to humiliate her by forcing her to bring up their acquaintance before he does.

Suddenly John Erik Snyte interrupts them, and then Heller pulls Roark away to speak to Joel Sutton. Joel tells Roark that Roark will get the job. Roark begins to talk about the building, but Sutton, surprised, quickly turns the conversation elsewhere and then turns to someone else. Keating congratulates Roark on landing Joel Sutton but makes snide comments about Roark's social graces. Roark notices that Keating is drunk.

That night Roark meets many people who compliment him in the only ways they know how, and he finds their compliments worse than their insults. He does not look at Dominique again, but she cannot take her eyes off of him. After he leaves, Dominique waits a few minutes and then tries to depart. Kiki stops her at the door and asks her what she thought of Roark. Dominique replies that she found him "revolting" but that he is "terribly good-looking." Toohey approaches and comments that he knows something about her now, and she responds by noting that he may be more dangerous than she realized. As she leaves, Kiki asks Toohey what the meaning of that conversation was, and he explains that the first time you look at someone is the only time you can really know them; the human face is the most revealing thing in the world.

Chapter 7

The chapter begins with an excerpt from Dominique's column about the Enright House. She appears to be insulting it but is actually calling it the most beautiful, most wonderful building in the city. Her way of doing this is by castigating it for revealing the inferiority of everything else and everyone else around it. Toohey walks into Dominique's office, and he comments that he and Roark will be able to tell what she was really saying; she replies that she was writing it for everyone else. He talks about Peter Keating--that he was an old friend of Howard Roark's--but she does not respond. He presses her for a reaction. Toohey discusses the parallel lives of Roark and Keating, acknowledging that Roark finds Keating's work extremely mediocre and focusing on Keating's incredible successes. Toohey adds that Roark must have been suffering from a worse torture than the Spanish Inquisition. Dominique finally screams at him to get out; he tells her she has revealed too much. As he leaves, he comments that he thinks "Peter Keating is the greatest architect" they have.

That evening Joel Sutton calls Dominique and asks her if she really meant what she wrote in her column. She invites him to lunch, where she tells him that Roark will design him a "great" building. But minutes later she has him convinced that he cannot hire an architect whom nobody else hires--unlike Roger Enright, he wants people to like him and agree with him. Sutton is set on hiring Peter Keating.

Sutton calls Roark to tell him the news. He is very apologetic but disturbed that Roark does not object or fight for the project. He had many arguments prepared, and it no longer makes sense to use them. He feels somehow cheated by Roark's lack of resistance. Finally he tells Roark that Dominique persuaded him to pass on Roark. Roark laughs and asks Sutton if Miss Francon told him to tell Roark this, and Sutton admits she said that he could. Roark continues to laugh.

That night, Roark sits alone in his office, looking at a picture of the Heller House. He hears a knock on the door, and Dominique walks in. She is wearing a severe black suit. She takes off her hat. He asks her what she wants, forcing her to say it. She tells him:

I want to sleep with you. Now, tonight, and at any time you may care to call me. I want your naked body, your skin, your mouth, your hands ... I want you like an animal, or a cat on a fence, or a whore ... I hate you, Roark. I hate you for what you are, for wanting you, for having to want you. I'm going to fight you--and I'm going to destroy you ... I will hurt you through the only thing that can hurt you--through your work. I will fight to starve you ... I have done it today--and that is why I shall sleep with you tonight.

Roark tells her to take off her clothes, and this time her "surrender [is] more violent than her struggle had been." Afterwards, she asks him about working in the quarry. She tells him the Enright House is the most beautiful building in New York, but Roark cuts her off, telling her not to say something she will regret. She tells him she still wants to destroy him, and Roark tells her that this is why he wants her. She tries to say something else, but he cuts her off again. He tells her to go to sleep and that he will cook her breakfast in the morning--then she can continue trying to destroy him.

Chapter 8

Toohey visits Dominique and observes that people Dominique used to snub are now happy to be friends with her. He finds that she has secured four commissions for Peter Keating. He adds that she is lucky that Keating is her father's partner; it appears as if she is just being a dutiful daughter. He also notes that while Roark secured the Norris country house, overall Dominique is being very successful. Toohey becomes much more direct, explaining that they are allies after all, for they have a common enemy in Roark. She agrees. He tells her to be less obvious about badmouthing Roark. As for Toohey, he hurts Roark simply by ignoring him in his columns.

Dominique asks him why he hates Roark so much. He denies that he hates Roark. They look out at the view of the city, and Toohey says the magnificent skyline can be traced to about a dozen people in history and that there are two possible reactions. One can love and admire these people, or one can despise them for showing the rest of mankind how inferior they are by comparison. He notes that one of these is the more "humanitarian" view--and he is a humanitarian himself.

Slowly Dominique gets used to her new plan of praising Keating and vilifying Roark, flirting with disgusting men, and flattering women who are revolting. Often, late at night she goes to see Roark, and each time they make love with the same violence and the same feeling of connection. She tells him about the commissions she has taken from him, and he laughs at her. She is happy when she sees that he reads her columns and knows about her insults. At the same time she wishes she has hurt him enough to force him to avoid them. She forces him to tell her how badly he wants the buildings she is fighting to take away from him. Sometimes he makes her wait as he finishes a drawing, and she sits and watches him. Sometimes he comes to her apartment, and if she has guests he makes her send them away without explanation. They are never seen together. In her apartment they talk for hours, but they never speak of their battle. Sometimes they sit in her living room, looking out the windows for hours. One night she tells him, "Roark, everything I've done all my life is because it's the kind of a world that made you work in a quarry last summer."

Heller gets very angry with Dominique for being so strongly against Roark. He calls her "an irresponsible bitch." One morning Roger Enright comes to see her and takes her to see the Enright House. He tells her, "I can understand stupid malice. I can understand ignorant malice. I can't understand deliberate rottenness." As they enter the building, Enright is confused by the expression of love and awe on Dominique's face. They meet Roark, and he shows them around the building, behaving as if he and Dominique have met only once. Dominique asks him many questions about the building, and he answers them all. In her column she writes that the Enright House ought to be blasted out of existence rather than be allowed to be degraded by people living in it. Roark tells Dominique that Enright doesn't know what to make of it, and he cannot tell if it is an insult or extravagant praise. He cautions her to stop writing such things because someone else might notice. She laughs at him but then asks him what he thinks of Ellsworth Toohey. Roark merely scoffs.

Dominique loves meeting Roark at parties. She enjoys the stir they create as everyone watches them, wondering if there will be an explosion. She loves how he speaks to her, politely and vaguely as if he barely remembers who she is. At the same time she hates the people on his street, the people who think they can speak to him, smile at him, or laugh at him. She tells him that she alone does not degrade him through contact.

Keating is bewildered; he does not understand why Dominique Francon has suddenly devoted herself to his career. He also thinks that he is "the only man in New York City who did not think that Dominique Francon was in love with [Keating]." He sends her flowers but does not bother her. One day he sees her in a restaurant and approaches. He tries to thank her, but she only assures him she will not stop helping him; she sees no need for them to speak about anything.

Keating continues to attend meetings of the Council of American Builders and likes them although all they do is have meetings and listen to speeches given by members and once in a while hear a speech by Ellsworth Toohey. Toohey attends every meeting. One night, they walk home together and have a cup of coffee in a drugstore. Toohey essentially hypnotizes Keating as he speaks of a "beautiful new world" where everyone will "love everything, the humblest, the least, the meanest," and "the meanest in you will be loved."

Chapter 9

We learn about Toohey's own history. He was not popular in school, but he was left alone because he was so weak. He was very smart, and he knew how to tell people, especially teachers, exactly what they wanted to hear. In high school he won every speech and debate contest. He began to make friends as he learned that he could win over the misfits, the weak ones, the stupid ones, the unsuccessful ones. They would do whatever he asked. Until he was sixteen, Ellsworth thought he wanted to be a minister. At sixteen he discovered socialism and abandoned religion. At first his Aunt Adeline tried to argue him out of it, but she stopped when she realized that he was unlikely to become one of those radicals who started riots.

Toohey then went to Harvard and majored in history. He became popular at Harvard. "It became amusing, at first, to accept 'Monk' Toohey; then it became distinctive and progressive." He spoke about the beauty of the masses and how one must give up the ego to achieve goodness. He was very successful with the second- and third-generation millionaires who felt "he offered them an achievement they were capable of." Ellsworth graduated and moved to New York, his fame somewhat preceding him. He got a master's degree at NYU and wrote his thesis on architecture. He began to write reviews and served as a vocational advisor, at which he was thought to be a tremendous success. Toohey almost never let a boy pursue the career he had chosen. He told boys they must think only of what they could do for others, not what they themselves wanted to do. These boys continued to cling to him, and some flourished; only one committed suicide.

Toohey donated money to certain charities, and when wealthy people asked his advice, he encouraged them to give money to the same charities. He was uninterested in sex, and he thought the family was an outdated institution. Slowly he became known as "an eminent critic of architecture." In 1921 Catherine Halsey's father died, and she came to live with him. He had planned to have her live separately, but when he saw her she looked oddly beautiful, so he changed his mind. In 1925 Toohey wrote Sermons in Stone and became famous. Suddenly everyone wanted to know him. Many were surprised when Toohey agreed to write a column in the Banner. It was supposed to be about architecture, but Toohey's contract allowed him to write anything he wished, so he wrote about architecture only once a month. His columns "never seemed to say anything dangerously revolutionary, and seldom anything political. It merely preached sentiments with which most people felt an agreement: unselfishness, brotherhood, equality."

The artists and writers he organized all tended towards the extreme and the unpopular. People were surprised and pointed out that they were all "rabid individualists." Toohey took these comments as a joke, just as he took it as a joke when people made fun of his councils. His favorite title was "Ellsworth Toohey, Humanitarian."

Chapter 10

At the opening of the Enright House in 1929, Roger Enright invites a few friends, unlocks the entrance doors, and throws them open. A few press photographers are there uninvited. One, from the Banner, takes a picture of Howard Roark standing alone across the street looking up at the building. When his editor sees the picture, he cuts it from the paper. The Enright House is quickly filled with tenants who want only to be comfortable. Everyone else spends three weeks insulting the house and its architect. Toohey never mentions it in his column. Roark begins to get more commissions. He expands his office and hires more employees simply by looking at their work. His employees love him; "they know only, in a dim way, that it was not loyalty to him, but to the best within themselves."

Dominique stays in the city for the summer, knowing that she cannot leave because of Roark. She goes to see all of his buildings. One night she takes the ferry to Staten Island merely for the pleasure of returning to the city where he is. She goes immediately to his apartment for the night, desperate to see him. On the weekends they go away together. Sometimes Dominique tries to exert her power over him, staying away, but he spoils it by readily confessing her power over him. He tells her everything she most wants to hear, but he does so too easily for any kind of victory.

In late June, Kent Lansing comes to see Roark. He tells him he is a member of a board that will build a luxurious hotel on Central Park South. He wants Roark to have the commission for the Aquitania Hotel. One morning Toohey sits in his office reading about the commission, and Dominique walks in. He comments that this is the first time she has ever been there, and finally he asks her what she wants. Dominque tells him that she tried desperately to take that commission away from Roark, but he got it anyway. She admits that this makes her terrifically happy. She suggests that the world may be different after all, but Toohey assures her it is not. He sends her out to continue battle.

That night, Toohey thinks about Hopton Stoddard, a multi-millionaire with a lot of respect for Toohey, who was spending his old age desperately trying to find a religion that would promise him a happy afterlife. Now, Stoddard wants to build a magnificent temple dedicated to all the world's religions, just to hedge his bets. Toohey has been trying to get him to build a home for sub-normal children instead, but Stoddard has thus far refused to be swayed. A few days later Toohey goes to Stoddard and tells him he has changed his mind. He now agrees with the idea of the temple and wants to recommend an architect. He explains that Stoddard can pick no one else but Roark, and he tells Stoddard exactly how to persuade him. Furthermore, he outlines a plan to generate a lot of publicity, which involves building a huge fence around the construction site and not taking it down until the building is unveiled. Stoddard follows Toohey's directions to the letter, and a few days later Roark agrees to build "The Stoddard Temple of the Human Spirit."


In this section of the novel, the conflict at the root of The Fountainhead finally becomes clear. This conflict consists of simultaneous battles, conscious and unconscious, between Howard Roark and Ellsworth Toohey, Howard Roark and Dominique Francon, and Ellsworth Toohey and Dominique Francon. The most interesting of these three is the fight between Toohey and Roark, for Roark does not yet acknowledge that he sees Toohey as an adversary, much less a dangerous one. The battle begins the moment Toohey sees Roark, and it is interesting to note that, like Dominique, Toohey does not need to know who Roark is or what he has done to recognize his powers. Toohey clarifies this point in his conversation with Kiki Holcombe. He tells her that one's first glance at a human face tells us everything about that person. Kiki thinks this idea is frightening, as does Toohey. At this moment, it might be difficult for the reader to understand why Toohey is so afraid of Roark. But by the end of this section, Toohey's underlying motivations will be made clear.

When Toohey goes to Dominique's home, he makes his declaration of war more explicit. Dominique tries to get him to explain why he hates Roark so much, but he will not tell her. In fact, he essentially declares (or at least threatens) war against her as well. He admits that he does not trust her and that they are allies only in terms of a common enemy, not because of any real agreement between them.

The first clue to Toohey's character lies not in information about him, but rather in information about the people he surrounds himself with. The composition of the Council of American Builders is interesting because its members are for the most part entirely unimportant and ineffective. The people whom Toohey chooses to celebrate are Roark's polar opposites, the worst whom the world has to offer. This makes him an enemy of elitism and elitists like Roark. Dominique is fighting Roark for a completely different reason.

When Toohey and Keating sit in a drugstore drinking coffee, Toohey enthralls Keating and illuminates the reader. In the world he imagines, everyone is equal because everyone is low, meager, and debased. All people can forgive each other because all need to be forgiven. Keating longs for just such a world because in this world, Roark would be no better than he is. Toohey believes that for this world to exist, men like Roark must be destroyed. The chapter giving a history of Toohey's life underscores this point, for as early as high school Toohey understood how to manipulate the weak and bitter. The most important fact revealed in this chapter is that Toohey is a socialist. By representing socialism through Toohey, Rand is clearly making a greater argument about the degrading effects of an economic system that preaches equality above all else.

Ignored in this account, however, are various alternative value systems involving equality. Some religions, such as Christianity, make all people equally humble under God even though they may differ among themselves in other ways. A moral adherence to natural rights is another alternative; in this view, all people have an equal claim on one another for basic needs such as survival, even while people are considered free to achieve whatever greatness they can within that context.

In any case, if Toohey represents socialism, Roark represents capitalism, for Rand sees capitalism as an ideal system whereby men work to their greatest capacity and are rewarded for it. Roark makes sure that he does not go to the extreme of hurting others to achieve his success. This symbolism is slightly confused by the necessities of the plot in The Fountainhead, since Roark does not meet simple economic success, and his rewards come from quality instead of business savvy. Still, Rand provides other characters who emphasize the positive nature of a capitalist system. For example, in this section Roark gains another ally, Roger Enright, a noble character who is clearly part of Roark's rather than Toohey's world. Other millionaires dislike Enright, and he is able to look at Roark's work and know that he likes it without the need for validation from anyone else.

Roark and Dominique also begin their battle in this section. In order to understand this conflict, one must consider both Dominique's philosophy and the concrete results of Dominique's actions against Roark. Dominique tells Alvah Scarret that when she saw a statue in a museum that she thought was beautiful, she bought it and broke it so no one else could see it. She tells him that when she loves a book, she can never open it again because she cannot stand to think of the many unworthy people who have read it. When Dominique discovers that the man she slept with is also the man who designed the Enright Building, she knows that she cannot stand to see him degraded by letting such masterpieces exist in a very imperfect world. Dominique will fight him, but she is fighting him in order to save him.

This interpretation is supported by the consequences of Dominique's attacks. Dominique is not always successful in taking away Roark's clients, and she is the happiest when she fails. The first client she entices towards Peter Keating, Joel Sutton, is completely unworthy of being one of Roark's clients. Roark only secured him temporarily because Austen Heller convinced him to act against his principles and attend Kiki Holcombe's party. Dominique is not really hurting Roark; she is purifying his relations to the world. She runs interference for him, in some ways making it easier for him to be matched only with worthy clients, saving him time and trouble. Only worthy customers can make it past Dominique Francon. When Toohey manages to get Hopton Stoddard accepted as a client (for reasons not fully clear), it becomes clear that Dominique and Toohey are not fighting on the same side at all. Dominique is fighting on the side of elitism. Roark understands and can laugh sincerely at her game.

Another interpretation of Dominique’s actions is that she is purifying him by forcing him into situations where the great pain of remaining true to his principles proves that he is a good person. When Roark had no clients, he was forced to stay true to his principles and risk starvation or else to give in, and he chose not to give in. Now that he is more successful, Dominique is doing what she can to make sure that Roark does not become complacent or attracted by success.