Private: Reading Group Materials » The Fountainhead

Discussion Questions

  1. When Roark comes uninvited to Dominique’s bedroom in his rough, soiled workman’s clothes, is the act that he commits rape? Why or why not?
  2. Why does Gail Wynand, a self-made media and real-estate mil­lionaire, seek to turn men into hypocrites? Why does he make a socialist defend management and a conservative defend labor?
  3. Why does the struggling sculptor Steven Mallory attempt to gun down a famous newspaper columnist who champions the voice­less and the undefended?
  4. Why does Peter Keating, a celebrity architect, plead with his unsuccessful and widely condemned friend, Hoard Roark, secretly to design a crucial housing project for him? Roark is an architect of unmatched integrity who scorns Keating—so why does he agree to do it?
  5. Howard Roark refuses a major contract when he most needs it, arguing that his action was “the most selfish thing you’ve ever seen a man do.” Why does he call this action selfish?
  6. Why does Roark dynamite Cortlandt Homes? How does he defend his action? Is he a moral man, a practical man, both, or neither?
  7. Both Howard Roark and Lois Cook are artists with a unique vision who are not accepted by the mainstream of society. What does Ayn Rand mean by “individualism”? Are they both individu­alists? Why or why not?
  8. What does Ayn Rand mean by the terms “first-hander” and “second-hander”? Cite examples of each type from real life.

Biographical Material on Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life (DVD)

Ayn Rand, by Jeff Britting

Secondary Reading

Essays on Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead”, edited by Robert Mayhew

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