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Literature Study GuidesThe FountainheadPart 2 Chapters 13 15 Summary

The Fountainhead | Study Guide

Ayn Rand

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The Fountainhead | Part 2, Chapters 13–15 : Ellsworth M. Toohey | Summary



Part 2, Chapter 13

Stoddard wins his case. He announces that the building will be renamed, as Toohey has suggested to him, as the Hopton Stoddard Home for Subnormal Children. Dominique submits her testimony from the trial to be printed in the Banner, but Scarret objects. Then she threatens to leave the paper. Wynand is not in the country but when Scarret cables him about the issue, Wynand tells him to fire her. Toohey gives her a copy of the cable from Wynand, but she gathers her things and leaves the Banner. She tells Scarret, "If you think I can't take the Stoddard Temple, wait till you see what I can take."

Catherine has become a dependent creature on her Uncle Toohey. He has gotten her a position as a social worker at a settlement house. However, she comes to him one evening in fear that she is "beginning to hate people." In the mildest and kindest manner possible, Toohey sets her straight. He informs her that her problem lies with being concerned with her own happiness when the focus of her attention should be on others. He concludes, "You must forget how important Miss Catherine Halsey is. Because, you see, she isn't ... only then will you know the kind of happiness I spoke about." On the evening after their conversation, Toohey receives Keating, who is drunk. Keating tells Catherine that she must quit her job and they must get married the day after tomorrow.

Part 2, Chapter 14

Keating is packing his suitcase to take Catherine away to be married when Dominique comes to his apartment offering to marry him. Utterly astonished, he asks for some time. She flatly declares that they must leave together now to get married or forget it, recommending to him that he refuse her. He does not. Together, they drive to Connecticut, get married, and drive back, Dominique at the wheel. She drops him at his apartment and then goes to see Roark to tell him she has married Keating as a "gift" to Roark. She says, "You won't win, they'll destroy you ... but I will live for you, through every minute and every shameful act I take." But he tells her he loves her and "You'll win, because you've chosen the hardest way of fighting for your freedom from the world."

Part 2, Chapter 15

Keating has locked the door of his room against his mother, who is breathless with joy at the news he's married Dominique instead of Catherine. He supposes Dominique will vanish, but at noon she appears at his apartment ready to move into it exactly the way it is, mother-in-law included. Keating is called away to the office and finds Francon both stunned and relieved. Almost immediately, Francon projects his retirement, leaving the firm in Keating's hands. When Keating asks him why, Francon can only say that he wants to be sure it all has been worth it. This lack of certainty Francon has about his profession and his life in it stuns Keating. Keating demands, "You have no right—not to be sure! At your age ... with your prestige ... Well, I know somebody who'll be sure, at the end of his life." At the conclusion of the evening when they are alone together, Dominique tells Keating "Let's get it over with." And although he spends his passion on her, she gives him nothing of herself, neither pleasure nor revulsion. In the morning, she finds that Toohey has sent flowers and invites him to dinner. He tries to gloat over Dominique's choice of a husband, but she does not give Toohey much of a chance.

Toohey informs Keating that he's been chosen as one of several architects to revise the Stoddard Temple. "The four architects had decided to achieve an effect of harmony and therefore not to use any historical style in its pure form," he says. Once completed, the new tenants moved in, and Catherine takes charge of occupational therapy. The statue of Dominique is sold. Most work is stalled due to the Depression and Roark's commissions dry up again. He tries to keep Mallory afloat. Toohey meets up with Roark when he goes to see what has been made of the Stoddard Temple. He asks Roark what he thinks of him. "But I don't think of you," Roark replies.


The reader is not given much with which to speculate on Keating's state of mind as he accepts Dominique's one-time offer to marry her and leave Catherine. There is no indication how Catherine must have felt. Whether he knows it or not, however, Keating acts as he does regardless of his feelings for Catherine or hers for him. All that really matters to him is what people think of him. This is a cold and calculating direction as devoid of feeling as is Dominique herself. Dominque remains true to her initial distance from Keating as much after marrying him as before. The more Dominique acquiesces to everything Keating suggests, the more in control of both herself and Keating she remains. She sets the terms by which they marry, forcing Keating into a definite acceptance or rejection of them in a way Catherine does not. Dominique also determines where and when she marries Keating, driving the car herself. In other words, Dominique controls Keating by giving him everything he wants except herself.

The exchange between Francon and Keating is telling because where Francon is now, that's where Keating will be himself in time. The idea that Francon is not sure it has all been worthwhile and meaningful at the end of his career terrifies Keating. At this point, Keating still hopes something will magically give him the secure sense of his own self-worth and meaning in his work. It is this security that Roark, who depends only on himself, seems to maintain with such effortless ease.

Quite against Toohey's expectations, the desecration of the temple and resulting lawsuit seems to have no effect on Roark other than financial. Toohey seems unable to accept even this as sufficient and deliberately makes a point of offering himself as a target for Roark's frustration. But Roark is one of those few men and women who have no need to concern themselves with anything about Toohey. He is so much a "non-person" as to not exist. Roark's response is proof enough that financial ruin is only one of many hardships to which he has become accustomed. It ultimately has no effect on his single-minded goals. Toohey has a victory, however, by persuading Stoddard to have it redesigned by Keating so that it can become a home for subnormal children. Toohey further distracts his niece Catherine from any and all thoughts of love and marriage. He gives her what Keating had demanded what she would have to give up if she married him. Catherine's avocation is set when she is put in charge of occupational therapy for the children.

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