Literature Study GuidesThe FountainheadPart 4 Chapters 13 14 Summary

The Fountainhead | Study Guide

Ayn Rand

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The Fountainhead | Part 4, Chapters 13–14 : Howard Roark | Summary



Part 4, Chapter 13

Dominique wakes up in a bed in the penthouse with Wynand by her side, relieved that the doctors were wrong to predict she would not live. "I don't see why he had to save the watchman's life and almost take yours," he tells her, meaning Roark. The police arriving at the scene of the explosion found Roark calmly standing next to the plunger that had set off the dynamite and arrested him. Wynand had him released from jail. Roark comes to see Dominique. He tells her that he's waited seven years for her to understand that whether or not he goes to jail "it will not matter. Not too much. Only down to a certain point."

The newspapers go wild with condemnations against Roark for having blown up the Cortlandt Housing project. Toohey is in the lead of the pack, writing "Society needs the right to rid itself of men such as Howard Roark." Speculation ranges on possible motives. But such speculation is to the side of the real issue of outrage. The anger may be that "one man ... wished neither to serve nor to rule. And had thereby committed the only unforgivable crime." Prescott and Webb are treated as the injured victims, but Keating is nowhere to be found. Wynand stands alone against the tide of condemnation aimed at Roark. He even snaps at Scarret who protests, "We can't defend a dynamiter!" Wynand battles with his best writing on behalf of Roark, forcing his reluctant staff to do all they can to support Wynand's fight. "They'll do as I say," Wynand tells them. "Because it is my city and I do run things around here." Dominique has recovered, and she and Roark leave Wynand to his glorious fight, knowing that Roark is only an excuse. Wynand makes of his stand a target of conspiracy theories suggesting that he himself might have been behind the destruction of the Cortlandt project. Sales of the Banner go down. Wynand's lawyer tries to reason with him, saying "An unpopular cause is ... for a popular newspaper ... suicide." Wynand gives impassioned speeches, but "the men who had gathered ... had no interest in his opinion on art, greatness and abstract justice." Scarret appeals to Toohey that all is about to be lost, but Toohey reassures him that now, at last, the time is right. He says, "This is where we take over ... the Wynand papers." Toohey is simply disappointed to find there is no one to whom he can talk who would understand what he's talking about.

Part 4, Chapter 14

Toohey pays a visit to a completely defeated and unstable Keating. It is an effort to prove to Keating that he's no match for the destruction Toohey plans for Roark. Keating's silence will do no good either way. Toohey tells him to testify against Roark. He lets him know he knows Keating no more designed Cortlandt than he did the Cosmo-Slotnick Building. He says, "I know you've worshiped him all your life ... and you've destroyed him." Finally badgered into telling the truth, Keating shows Toohey the contract he made with Roark. Toohey crows, "You harnessed him. You made him work for you. You took his achievement, his reward, his money, his glory, his name." Toohey takes charge of the document. He tells Keating that he makes him sick because Keating knew enough to reap the benefits without being honest about what it was he was really doing. "It's not my fault you couldn't hear," Toohey tells him. "I shall rule. You. The world," he says. Toohey continues, "It's only a matter of discovering the lever ... laugh at Roark and hold Peter Keating as a great architect. You've destroyed architecture."

Toohey doesn't stop there. He outlines to Keating everything Keating has seen Toohey do and say for the past 10 years to knock down the exceptional in men. Preach happiness in vague terms, but never in specific ones. The unhappier a person is, the more he will need someone like Toohey to feed him what he wants to believe. "Suspend reason and you play it deuces wild," Toohey concludes. "We don't want any thinking men." When Toohey has had his say, a speech he will never make in public, he makes as if to leave, but Keating begs him to stay. "You can't leave me and you'll never be able to leave me," Toohey tells him, "Because that's all you're good for now."


It is in part to fulfill Roark's statement that Wynand was never born to be a second-hander that Wynand works with the passion of a crusader. He tries to pull all his power to Roark's defense. However, he does so under the mistaken impression that he controls public opinion instead of the other way around. The harder Wynand is hit for his support of Roark, the harder he fights.

Toohey takes great pleasure in revealing to Keating exactly how he's set his idol Roark up for destruction, handing Roark into Toohey's hands. Toohey's ruthless leveling of everyone within reach down to the same size evokes a Procrustean bed. Procrustes was, in Greek legend, a robber who either stretched his guests or cut off their feet to fit them to his bed and then robbed them. Like any true villain, Toohey can't help revealing the details of his nefarious plan to "rule the world" to someone. That's so he can be admired for the sheer genius of his thinking. That someone for Toohey is the gullible Keating. Although the full scope of how Toohey has used him is evident, he still pleads with Toohey to stay with him. Toohey acknowledges that the two of them are indeed inseparable, but it is Keating who will never be able to leave Toohey, stuck to him like cement.

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