The Fountainhead

The Trials of Howard Roark

Howard Roark's character in The Fountainhead is unwavering and beyond the effects of time, people, and mass opinion. Much of Roark's effectiveness and integrity is drawn in contrast, a contrast to the ever-changing beliefs of those around him. These differences, and Roark's steadfast character, can be tracked through the two trials of Howard Roark. The first trial, the suit against Roark from Stoddard, involves the same cast of characters as the second, when Roark is accused of dynamiting Cortlandt. The differences in these characters' testimony, the different atmospheres of the court room, and the different nature of the trial all illustrate Rand's primary theme of the integrity and necessity of the egoist.

The differences show not only the changing of mass opinion influenced by the powerful, but also the changes that Roark's philosophy brings about to those whom he interacts with. The first trial in many ways mimics in a smaller proportion the philosophy brought out in the second. The result is the increased success of Roark's testimony in the second trial, not towards the verdict, but to the reader.

Behind the existence of Stoddard v. Roark is the influence of Ellsworth Toohey. Toohey, the...

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