Literature Study GuidesThe FountainheadPart 3 Chapters 3 4 Summary

The Fountainhead | Study Guide

Ayn Rand

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The Fountainhead | Part 3, Chapters 3–4 : Gail Wynand | Summary

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Summary

Part 3, Chapter 3

When Dominique meets Wynand in his office, he tells her Toohey has given him the statue Mallory had created of her. Wynand skillfully probes for any crack or weakness in the beautiful woman standing before him. But Dominique is equally determined to give no foothold. She comes to the point of her visit, which is to gain commission to design the Stoneridge project for her husband. She is perfectly honest about her relationship with Keating. Wynand is baffled by a woman who is willing to endure suffering in a way he has only known men to engage. "You want ... to express through the sexual act your utter contempt for me," he says to her. She answers, "No, Mr. Wynand, for myself." Wynand agrees and he, Keating, and Dominique meet at a restaurant, where Wynand blatantly discusses an exchange of Dominique for the commission. This frank understanding of the true nature of the proposal confuses Keating, whose expectations of civil behavior have been shattered. Wynand suggests to Dominique that if she wishes to learn self-contempt, she has only to study her own husband. Keating feels himself disappear from the discussion. "His own clothes," thought Keating, "contained nothing now, because the two faces did not notice him any longer. He was safe; his place at that table was empty."

Part 3, Chapter 4

Wynand and Dominique are aboard his yacht. She doesn't ask him where they are going to sail. Instead, she engages him in a discussion of humanity and what love of man implies when carried to the extreme that brings a person to its exact opposite. "One can't love man without hating most of the creatures who pretend to bear his name," Wynand tells her. Dominique recognizes in him some of her own thoughts. He asks her to marry him, and she accepts. He pulls her to him. She can't help responding to his physical possession of her, but he will not sleep with her until after they are married.

Analysis

When they meet, Wynand and Dominique seem surprised to recognize in each other similar motivations in how and why they live. It is immediately clear to Wynand that Dominique and Keating's marriage is in name only. By taking possession of Dominique as a reward for granting her husband the Stoneridge project he isn't taking anything away from Keating except his public pride. But even this isn't enough for Wynand. The statue of Dominique that Mallory had created for the Stoddard Temple is only a representation of the woman herself. Keating had sacrificed his love for Catherine to obtain Dominique's hollow glamor. But Wynand is after the woman herself mind and body. The fact that Dominique responds to his embrace is a sign that she recognizes Wynand's particular brand of power.

Keating clings to the shreds of moral "decency." He pretends ignorance of Wynand's purely mercantile exchange of Dominique's sexual favors for granting Keating the commission he so desperately wants. It is this clinging to which neither Wynand nor Dominique waste a single thought that erases Keating from the conversation at the restaurant.

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