Literature Study GuidesThe FountainheadPart 2 Chapters 5 6 Summary

The Fountainhead | Study Guide

Ayn Rand

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The Fountainhead | Part 2, Chapters 5–6 : Ellsworth M. Toohey | Summary



Part 2, Chapter 5

Dominique has returned to New York hating herself for looking everywhere to get a glimpse of the unnamed man she can't escape. She thinks of leaving her job but ends up telling Scarret she only meant it as a joke. She sees a drawing of the Enright house. She declares to Toohey that "a man who can conceive a thing as beautiful as this should never allow it to be erected."

Mallory's trial takes place, and Toohey defends him—to everyone's praise for Toohey's generosity except Mallory. The first meeting of the young architects is held with Keating presiding and Toohey taking no position except that of amused observer. There seems to be no purpose to it except a feeling of common brotherhood. Together, the group listens to an ennobling speech by Toohey on the art of architecture that is "pleasant and ... drugging." Everyone is astonished that Dominique appears at the meeting. She casually asks if the architect of the Enright house has been invited. Keating supposes she has come because of him, but when he tries to embrace her, he finds things different with her. Instead of perfect indifference to his embrace, he feels her revulsion. Keating suddenly asks, "Who was he?" to which she answers "a workman in the granite quarry." This makes him laugh, and although she warns him away from her, he finds himself more determined than ever to wait for her.

Part 2, Chapter 6

Roark has reopened his office and hired young and inexperienced draftsmen to meet the fast deadline Enright has set for him. Heller is unable to fathom how Roark can work so hard. He says, "It's only a building. It's not the combination of holy sacrament, Indian torture, and sexual ecstasy that you seem to make it." Roark answers, "Isn't it?"

In December, Heller requires Roark to accompany him to a party given by Mrs. Holcombe. Roark refuses until Heller mentions that Francon's daughter will be there. Both Keating and Toohey are the centers of attention, but when they meet, Toohey comments to Keating that Dominique has been obviously ignoring Keating. He adds that "it would take a most unusual man to attract Dominique Francon." Heller introduces Roark to Dominique, and neither give any indication they have met before. Roark is aware of Dominique watching him move through the crowd, but he does not look at her. Toohey refuses to meet Roark. But he overhears Dominique tell Kiki that Roark is "terribly good-looking." By this, he knows Dominique sees something in Roark that everyone else has missed. Toohey tells Dominique, "We're all useful to one another. As you will be to me. As I think, you will want to be." He says, "I have you already, without saying anything further."


The motivation Mallory has in shooting at Toohey is unclear at this point in the story. But Mallory has correctly identified Toohey as an agency of the collective mind-set. This is in direct and combative opposition to the extraordinary individualism of the creative few. Mallory believes he is fighting his artistic battle for the right to express himself freely in his art. Mallory commits an act of desperation against Toohey. Mallory intuitively knows that it is Toohey who so amorphously but effectively persuades people to accept the status quo as the only viable option. This is a stance against Toohey that Roark specifically avoids. Keating, on the other hand, is slowly and irrevocably being drawn into Toohey's maze of gatherings on the subject of architecture. The gatherings are designed to keep everybody who attends these intelligent meetings on a common level of mediocrity and "drugged" with Toohey's velvety voice. He tells them things that offer great comfort and ease to them while ensuring their time is distracted away from any and all individual action.

Roark agrees to attend the Holcombe party because he knows that's the last place Dominique would want to see him. Toohey's words to Dominique at the party constitute a direct threat not only to her independent freedom, but also an indirect threat against Roark. Toohey implies her evident interest in Roark is something he can use through her to cut Roark down. The battle lines are drawn in this way between Dominique and Toohey. It will take everything she can summon of her self-control to keep the truth away from Toohey and his ability to manipulate it to ruin Roark. The only way she can do this is to help Roark keep up his fight and mislead everyone regarding her motives toward him. She will steer any and all prospective clients away from Roark and toward Keating.

In other words, both Toohey and Dominique use Keating as a foil between them. Toohey uses Keating as an example of an artist whose ideals can easily be bent to deny the extraordinary individual. Dominique uses Keating as a shield against her true feelings for Roark. Keating is well aware of the manipulations of his mother from whom he undoubtedly learned the skill to beat out his competitors. The tragedy is that he is blind to the undercurrents of Toohey and Dominique's war.

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