Power And Integrity In Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead

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Power is wanted by many but obtained by only a few. Argumentatively, the easiest way to gain power is to sell part of oneself, but that leaves one with an emptiness that cannot be filled. In Ayn Rand's novel, The Fountainhead, the characters skirt around exchanging, stealing, and achieving power; however, the only character that truly achieves this power is the main character, Howard Roark. True power can only be gained without sacrificing oneself, therefore, the themes of power and integrity are presented throughout this novel in order to illustrate how the characters deal with each element in order to reach the top. As many in society today, Peter Keating, desires power. However, due to his lack of individuality he is unable to gain true…show more content…
He does for a short time, but only through corruption. In order to become a partner at his architecture firm, he causes the current partner to have a stroke and die. “The thought followed him, gentle, unstressed, monotonous, at his work, at home, at night: he was a murderer...no, but almost a murderer...almost a murderer…” Peter has this thought shortly after the death of the partner. This one thought proves that he has the ability to understand that his actions were wrong. As the novel goes on, he begins to dismiss from his mind the wrongs he has done to obtain his goals. Additionally, Peter makes Roark design a major project for him so that he can gain recognition for the great building. Roark does as Peter asks because Roark loves architecture and wants Peter to have a good life. Peter takes advantage of Roark’s kindness and asks him to do more projects in the future. This has no impact on his conscious when the buildings are built and he…show more content…
He gains approval of society in order to increase his chances for power. In his column for the Banner(a newspaper), Toohey takes a stand on issues dealing with architecture, and although he is not necessarily educated in the architecture field, people respect his words because he educates himself with research and countless experiences. His words are used to push rising figures back to the background or vice versa, figures that are not rising he pushes forward. This causes Howard Roark to lose large commissions he deserves and allows Peter Keating to gain commissions that he does not deserve. Toohey uses this small power in corrupt ways in order to control the city of New York with his power. With each article he writes, the people come to respect him more and more, until the point where he believes his respect overpowers that of Gail Wynand, the majority owner of the Banner. Peter asks Toohey what he wants and Ellsworth replies, “Power Petey”(Rand 634). Ellsworth spends years manipulating and twisting his words in order for the people to take his side, and people begin to turn against Wynand. It is here that Ellsworth’s power is truly seen, although, his power can only go so far. In order for his power to really mean something, it would have to affect everyone in the novel. His power does not affect Roark because Roark only places expectations on himself does not rely on

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