Literature Study GuidesThe FountainheadPart 4 Chapters 1 2 Summary

The Fountainhead | Study Guide

Ayn Rand

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The Fountainhead | Part 4, Chapters 1–2 : Howard Roark | Summary



Part 4, Chapter 1

Roark has been chosen to build the Monadnock Valley summer resort project in the fall of 1933. The backers have given him full support and left him completely in charge based upon his design for the Stoddard Temple. He and all the workmen of the project live on-site. The narrator says "the year at Monadnock Valley remained in their minds ... when the earth stopped turning and they lived through twelve months of spring." The narrator continues, "They were an army and it was a crusade." Mallory does all the fountains and sculptures for it, and Mike provides the electrical work. Roark would have been glad to live there himself. But he is called back to New York. Lansing cables him that he has at last wrestled control of the Aquitania Hotel out of everyone else's hands so that Roark can finish it. He has other work as well from people who saw one or another of his buildings and will hire him based on these designs. The narrator says that "an underground stream ... broke out in sudden springs that shot to the surface at random ... he was kept working."

Within a month of its opening, every house in Monadnock Valley is rented out. Mallory confronts Roark with the truth that the whole scheme of its construction was to make it fail. When it didn't, the backers have to pay up. Roark laughs at this. Mallory tells him that this is the face of the "beast" he fears. They had used Roark's greatest achievement "as a filthy joke." Nevertheless, Heller writes and publishes an impassioned description of Roark's designs and commissions continue to come in for him. Roark is invited to design for "The March of the Centuries" World's Fair but won't take it on unless he is given complete autonomy on it. "I don't work with collectives," he tells them. "I don't consult, I don't cooperate, I don't collaborate." The group of architects chosen for it includes Keating as its head. In fall 1936 Roark moves his offices into the top floor of the Cord Building he had designed and is surprised to receive an invitation to meet with Wynand.

Part 4, Chapter 2

The Wynand offices seem at Roark's first approach most like a large "body" "run by such control ... in the hands of an authority aware of every motion." The two men meet as if instantly recognizing each other. Wynand tells Roark he wants him to design a private residence for him on 500 acres of private Connecticut land. When Roark asks, Wynand assures him that Mrs. Wynand knows nothing about it. He had chosen Roark based on the Monadnock Valley homes. Wynand explains how this private residence is to be different than the public buildings he's had done by other architects in the past. He states, "I can't stand to see my wife among other people ... This house is to be a fortress. My architect is to be my guard." Although this assignment is difficult for Roark to accept emotionally, he takes it on. Wynand begins to pull up anything and everything he can find out about Howard Roark. Scarret and Toohey have an extended conversation on the changes of behavior in their boss Wynand. Toohey reassures Scarret by saying "if it came to a showdown between us and our boss, we don't have to be afraid of Mr. Gail Wynand any longer."


As has been evident, Roark has been commissioned to do private homes projects outside New York instead of skyscrapers in the city. Regardless of the type of project, he never fails to put his best design and problem-solving creativity into it. This emphasizes the nature of the creative process itself, which does not at all go in a straight line, but forwards, backward, stalls, and reverses its track.

Roark receives slow but steady gathering by word-of-mouth referrals. These are from clients based not on high-powered reputation but on the physical existence of the buildings he has designed. This slow accumulation is compared to an underground stream that finds an unlikely place to surface.

The meeting between Roark and Wynand is one at which both men size each other up and find an honest connection. Toohey's ominous statement to his ally Scarret suggests that Toohey believes he has all his invisible strings to control and manipulate Wynand firmly in place.

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