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Literature Study GuidesThe FountainheadPart 4 Chapters 3 4 Summary

The Fountainhead | Study Guide

Ayn Rand

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The Fountainhead | Part 4, Chapters 3–4 : Howard Roark | Summary



Part 4, Chapter 3

Roark and Wynand drive out to the site of the house Wynand wants him to design for him and agree on the positioning of the building. Wynand wonders why Roark doesn't hate him for all the adverse press the Banner had published on him. Roark convinces him that he feels neither anger nor pity toward Wynand. Roark says, "I think it hurts you to know that you've made me suffer." He continues, saying "there's something that frightens you more. The knowledge that I haven't suffered at all." Wynand is amazed by Roark's attitude and the two compare the impoverished childhoods from which they came. The similarities of conditions are offset by the differences in attitudes. While Wynand dreads to look back on his life, Roark does not.

Roark does not contact Wynand again until the drawings for the house are complete. Wynand is very pleased with them. He accepts Roark as his architect as long as Roark agrees to Wynand's condition. It is that "I wish to sign a contract whereby you will be sole architect for any building I undertake to erect in the future." He threatens Roark that if these conditions are broken he will never work again, not even in a granite quarry. Wynand then attempts to block Roark in a corner with the demand that every building must be according to public taste and fails. "Then shut up ... and don't ever let me hear any architectural suggestions," Roark tells him. Wynand, startled, agrees and asks Roark to his apartment to meet with Mrs. Wynand, at which point she will see his designs.

Part 4, Chapter 4

As soon as she sees Roark's design for their country home, Dominique instantly knows without seeing the signature that it is his work. She has a difficult time hiding her surprise that of all the architects Wynand could have engaged, the one chosen is Roark. She is further astonished that Wynand has asked Roark to dinner. She retains her composure upon meeting Roark, whom she has not seen for many months. More to her, however, is the easy exchange between Wynand and Roark as if the two men share a unique relationship admitting no one else into a closed circuit. She thinks, "He must look at me when he answers ... he must look at me."

Five days later, Wynand pays a visit to Roark's office and feels himself to be right at home as if he "owned" it and everything in it. Wynand tells Roark that meeting him has caused him to reflect on a past he rarely visits. As it is near the end of the day, the two of them go out to dinner together. Wynand phones Dominique to tell her of this. She realizes "She had no right to go to that office. But Gail Wynand had." Toohey is summoned to Wynand's office. He is surprised to see that the wall, which never had any pictures, now has the photo of Roark at the opening of the Enright house. This seems to tell Toohey all he needs to know of his boss's state of mind. He agrees to Wynand's demand that he not write anything about Roark in the paper. "Go on writing your column" Wynand instructs him, "remember its title and devote it to commensurate subjects. Keep it small, Mr. Toohey. Very small."


Wynand feeds Dominique's appetite for self-depreciation by keeping all mention of her out of the Banner. He also feeds Roark's immutable working requirements. It is an exclusive contract to do any and all designs Wynand may require of him as Wynand's architect. Keating would readily accept the terms including the stipulation that every building must be according to public taste. But Roark instantly bats it aside. So instead of Wynand dictating to Roark what he will or will not do, it is Roark who lays down the law to Wynand. Roark will not hear another word from Wynand on the subject of architectural design.

Roark's design for the Wynand private country home is immediately recognized by Dominique as soon as she sees it. She does not even need to read the signature to know it is Roark's.

Dominique gradually finds herself excluded from the growing bond between Roark and Wynand. She uses this realization as another facet of her program of strengthening herself. She denies herself the luxury of any jealousy of Roark's compliance with Wynand's wishes, something of which Roark himself could not help but be aware.

Perhaps taking Dominique's warning about Toohey with some seriousness, Wynand confines Toohey to his "small" column. Toohey accordingly bends to his boss's command like a rubber tube to avoid a direct break for which Toohey is not quite ready to face.

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