Literature Study GuidesThe FountainheadPart 2 Chapters 1 2 Summary

The Fountainhead | Study Guide

Ayn Rand

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The Fountainhead | Part 2, Chapters 1–2 : Ellsworth M. Toohey | Summary

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Summary

Part 2, Chapter 1

Work for Roark at the quarry is drilling granite all day in the hot summer sun. The narrator says, "He felt at times as if it were a match of wrestling between his muscles and the granite." Roark lives in the simplest conditions with the other workers. Once in a while, he thinks of the buildings he could be designing. When that happens "he had to drive a wedge and blast the thing within him which persisted in calling to his pity."

Dominque comes to live alone at the house, which is located three miles from the quarry. Her table is "laid out as for a formal banquet ... with a single water lily spreading white petals about a heart of yellow like a drop of candle fire." One morning Dominique walks down to the quarry and sees Roark. She sees "the planes of his gaunt, hollow cheeks; the cold, pure brilliance of the eyes that had no trace of pity." When he looks up and sees her, Roark's glance seems to her "an act of ownership." This thought makes Dominique angry, but she finds the superintendent and walks down into the quarry with him to "show some interest in it." Roark continues to stare at her, and she hopes he is a former convict. Many days later, Dominique finds him sitting on the side of the path to the quarry and asks him why he stares at her. "For the same reason you've been staring at me ... Miss Francon," he answers.

Part 2, Chapter 2

Dominique is in a struggle with herself as she has lost her freedom by the pull of interest she has in Roark. Her objective of each day is to make it one she will not walk to the quarry. The narrator says, "She found a dark satisfaction in pain—because that pain came from him." Finally, Dominique decides to test her safety in the house by attempting to break a marble slab over the fireplace in her bedroom. She approaches Roark as he is working and asks him to have a look at it that evening. When Roark arrives, she is keenly aware of the ease with which he removes the large cracked stone. She engages him in a conversation about the exact type of marble it would take to replace it.

Sometime later the new slab arrives. Dominique sends Roark a message "I want it set tonight." But when another laborer arrives at the house to set the stone, she is furious and confronts Roark. Late at night, he arrives at her bedroom terrace and without a word between them he deliberately forces himself on her. "They had been united in an understanding beyond violence, beyond the deliberate obscenity of his action," the narrator says.

Roark and Dominique do not see each other again for a week. Roark receives a letter from Roger Enright stating that he's had a hard time locating him. He wants to see Roark about the Enright house based on the design he did for the Fargo Store. Roark resigns from the quarry and returns to New York. Dominique finally pays a visit to the quarry to find Roark has gone. "She had nothing to do except never to ask for his name" is the narrator's comment.

Analysis

As she has done with Part 1, Rand devotes the first couple of chapters in Part 2 not to the titled person (in this case Toohey). Instead, she focuses on the two most powerful and direct-acting individuals of Roark and Dominique. It is, however, Rand's purpose to establish this complicated and ultimately powerful relationship between Roark and Dominique. Then she will pit them both (individually and in partnership) against the very different basis of Toohey's existence and power. For now, Toohey as a character simply haunts the corners of the story. Later this approach will be revealed as the source of his ubiquitous and hidden influences on many people.

Rand explains in an interview that the sexual violence Roark forces on Dominique is "rape by engraved invitation," if it is rape. This explanation might not satisfy some critics. But it can be pointed out that Rand did set up Dominique's "invitation" to experience sex with Roark through Dominique's actions. Dominique chooses to damage the marble fireplace inset in her bedroom instead of one in another less suggestive room of the house. She specifically asks for Roark to come have a look at it, remove the damaged marble, and order a replacement. If Dominique had simply wanted the marble replaced, she would not have dismissed the workman who arrived to do it because he wasn't Roark. Besides, she asks Roark to set the new marble in place at night, not in the daytime and encourages him to stretch out his time for which she is paying him in conversation with her.

By sending someone else to reset the replacement marble, Roark made sure that what Dominique wanted was no one else except Roark. Once that is established, he is more than willing to accommodate. The fact that she fights against him may be interpreted to mean that the fight is not against having sex. It may be her fear that in yielding to its control of her she will lose her freedom. This is the one thing she treasures above all else. For Roark, the episode is yet another contest of his body against the "granite" of Dominique's resistance. This is on a par with the toll the drilling takes on him at his work in the quarry.

The test for Dominique is one of information because although Roark knows who she is, she has no idea even of his name. Not knowing who he is provides Dominique with a kind of shield between her feelings and the man who brings those feelings to the surface. This vulnerability is something she wants no one to perceive. It is difficult enough for Dominique to recognize it in herself. For someone else (such as Toohey) to know her weakness means it could (and likely would) be used against her.

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