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Essay/Term paper: The fountain head: individualism

Essay, term paper, research paper:  College Essays

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The Fountain Head: Individualism

Individualism, the only element which makes a person's character unique.
In the Fountain Head, a character binds true to this belief and goes by the name
of Howard Roark. This young architect who had his own viewpoint of the world
and how he envisioned it, was condemned by the media and the public by doing so.
Roark's lifestyle completely perpendiculates the mundane lifestyle that the
average citizen lives. Roark conforms to only what he considers valid in his
own conscience. The novel opens the door to lead the way against the oppression
of conformity. The environment which Howard was placed into didn't help in his
situation to freely express his thoughts on certain subjects. This was mainly
made possible by the people who he had come in contact through out the years.
Many examples of this type of movement are shown by the actions taken by Roark
during his career as an architect.
All of the actions taken by Roark had a deep profound effect on one key
player in the novel, Toohey. Toohey with all the power he had with the public
and through the newspaper, was not able to manipulate Howard into his way of
thinking. The general public who read the Banner had been convinced that Toohey
new what he was talking about on all subjects. His plan to manipulate the
public and gather them as a whole was directly countered with every move that
Howard made. One of these major moves was the building of the Stoddard Temple.
With the temple, Roark had the freedom to build whatsoever he choose. This gave
him a medium to express his viewpoint without having any restrictions. After
the delayed unveiling of the temple, it was condemned by the public. At the
head of this group was no other than Toohey. He wrote articles in the newspaper
on how the temple in no way represented the human spirit. The temple allowed
Howard to display his individualism, his uniqueness, and his self being. This
temple was looked down upon because it did not conform to the ancient styles of
architecture. Due to the amount of uniqueness found in the temple, it opposed
the conventional view that life required conformity.
Howard's special relationship between himself and Gail came about
because of their unique individualism. They both believe in the same ways of
thinking and therefore they are very much on the same plane of conscienceless.
The reason why Gail conformed to society was to play against their trust in the
future. When the Banner first got started, it ran two stories to test which
types of stories would best fit society. This type of conformity allowed the
Banner to be accepted inside the home. This strategic move allowed the Banner
to become enormously popular among the populous. Once the trust has been built
between the public and the paper, manipulation can start occurring. Gail's
individualistic side began to show up when Howard designed the house that was
built for him. Gail used his power to filter out the information that goes on
the paper. When Gail turned his cheek away from the masses and more toward his
individual viewpoint, his downfall begins. Individualism has a price, but well
worth its weight in gold.
A person who did conform to the wants and needs of society was Peter
Keating. Peter was foolish enough to be controlled by the public. This
eventually lead to his downfall because of his lacking of character. His
character as a human being was made up of what the public wanted to see. With
Peter living a false life, the only way he could live was to live up to the
public's requirements. Peter always needed help with his building projects
because he was never proficient enough to design a building all by himself. The
public expected Peter to design outstanding buildings that everybody would enjoy.
These buildings would not be possible without the work that was placed in from
Howard. When the architecture industry was on the decline, he did not know what
to do because he had no public to base his work on. The novel spins off on the
issue of the virtues of being an individual.
Life requires compromise is a very unique way of saying that people
should be known as numbers and should live only as a statistic. These are they
types of people who are afraid of change and live a very mundane lifestyle. If
this phrase were to have any truth in it, many things in today's society would
of never came to people. Christopher Columbus would of never traveled off to
sea if he conformed to the general public into thinking that the Earth was flat
and he would fall of the face of the planet. Many great outcomes have occurred
by of the individualistic attitude which is well represented in the Fountain


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