The Fountainhead

Selfishness and Selflessness in The Fountainhead College

The impact literature can impose on society remains striking even to this day. Ayn Rand’s novel The Fountainhead contains themes that resonated so significantly with readers that it triggered a political movement, and assisted in forming the Libertarian party. The Fountainhead often referred to as “a novel of ideas,” brings some illuminating claims surrounding selfishness and selflessness to surface. The novel provides unique definitions for selfishness and selflessness, supporting Rand’s central theme of celebrating and encouraging individualism and freedom of speech. Rand explains her beliefs regarding selfish and selfless actions through each main character in the novel, exposing the nature in admirable characters versus malicious characters. Rand uses the often negative connotation associated with the word ‘selfish’ and the positive perception of the word ‘selfless’ to her advantage by reversing the roles for the theme of the novel.

In The Fountainhead being selfish is the virtue, while being selfless is a fault. Rand argues that you must identify yourself as an individualist and not continue to live life depending on other people’s judgments. An example of this is stated by self-proclaimed selfish (and proud) character...

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