Literature Study GuidesThe FountainheadPart 2 Chapters 11 12 Summary

The Fountainhead | Study Guide

Ayn Rand

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The Fountainhead | Part 2, Chapters 11–12 : Ellsworth M. Toohey | Summary

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Summary

Part 2, Chapter 11

The Cosmo-Slotnick building is finally completed in December, and Keating attends a round of publicity that strangely does not make him happy. Toohey baits Keating with the fact that he's not married, which would look so good in the public at this point. Keating states that "Catherine doesn't photograph well." Of course, Toohey knows exactly who would. He dangles the prospect of Dominique in front of Keating by telling him "You're good but you're not good enough for that." Keating states he doesn't love Dominique, and Toohey explains to him that love is "a profoundly selfish emotion." Toohey then lays on another layer of the cement with which he slowly and irrevocably entraps Keating by reassuring him on "the basic equality of all men."

Roark wants to hire Steven Mallory, the sculptor who took a shot at Toohey, to do a statue of Dominique for the Stoddard Temple to the Human Spirit. Mallory proves elusive until Roark manages to make him understand that, unlike everyone else, he wants Mallory's best work, honestly, and without any artistic strings attached. Roark finally picks up a plaque of a baby and throws it against the wall. Mallory then realizes he and Roark are comrades in a war against an enemy that "has no name and no face." Roark shows Mallory sketches for the temple and explains that the statue of Dominique is to be its centerpiece. Both Francon and Toohey try to talk her out of it. But she goes ahead with it, assuring Toohey that what Roark is planning is better than anything he could have imagined. Roark, Dominique, and Mallory close in on themselves as they work. Although work on the Aquitania Hotel is halted due to financial setbacks, the temple is completed, waiting for Stoddard to return from his trip and open it.

Part 2, Chapter 12

The opening of the temple is announced for November first. Toohey is so completely beside himself with anticipation that he meets Stoddard at the pier. As anticipated, Stoddard cancels the opening without explanation, and Toohey immediately publishes an article about it declaiming Roark as a fraudulent architect. "This is not a house of God," Toohey writes, "We would call it pagan but for the fact that the pagans were notoriously good architects." The day following, Stoddard files suit against Roark, asking for damages so that the temple can be altered by someone else. In the weeks following, just about everyone has something to say against the temple and its architect. But Heller defends Roark only to be "drowned in the storm."

Roark refuses to hire a lawyer to defend himself at the trial. Dominique tells Roark that this is exactly the kind of abuse she has been determined to shield him against. He answers, "That doesn't matter. Not even that they'll destroy it. Only that it had existed." Toohey crows to Dominique that he has at last found Roark's weak spot now that Roark has been publicly denounced as a fraud. The trial goes forward with Dominique as a witness for the plaintiff. Her testimony compares and contrasts Toohey's account with Roark's goals. "The Stoddard Temple is a threat ... if it were allowed to exist, nobody would dare to look at himself in the mirror," she states. Roark calls no witnesses.

Analysis

Toohey does a good job of fanning Keating's interest in Dominique by telling Keating she is far beyond his grasp. It is almost as if Toohey is well aware of the fact that Keating did not design the Cosmo-Slotnick building for which he is being so praised. In this sense, Toohey seems to acknowledge Dominique's integrity as something Keating would want but has no chance of obtaining. She is the sort of woman who would see right through Keating and know him exactly for what he is—and despise him for it. Toohey, as it turns out, is right about that. But Keating sees the conquest of Dominique (at least the appearance of it in public) as proof of his own capabilities.

Two buildings come to completion at approximately the same time, both designed by Roark. The Cosmo-Slotnick (which is in its own way a kind of "temple" of entertainment) with Keating's name attached to it opens to great public acclaim. But the Stoddard Temple to the Human Spirit and Roark's name to it is reviled. Much of the misunderstanding between Roark and Stoddard is engineered by Toohey, who wants more than anything to expose Roark as a "fraud." Toohey knew that if Stoddard placed no restrictions on the style of the temple and left it entirely up to Roark, Roark would accept the commission. He would also revise the very definition of what the word "temple" means. For Roark, the building celebrates the very human (and therefore humanly proportionate) dimensions of his temple. But to Stoddard and everyone else, the word "temple" means the erasure of human proportions. He wants the people coming to the structure to be struck by their own insignificance before a higher (divine) power. It is this that Dominique comments on in her statement that what Roark designed can't exist. If it did, nobody would be able to measure up to it.

Keating finds Toohey's assertion of the basic equality of all men soothing to his sense of himself. The logic of it determines that Roark can't be any better than Keating is, even if that also means Keating is the equal of the lowest and worst. Keating abdicates his own individual self and the responsibility of acting in a responsible way. In this way, Keating finds Toohey's reassurance worth the price of any claim to excellence of which Keating might be capable.

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