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The Rape Scene in The Fountainhead


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#21 Jeff Kremer

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Posted 17 April 2007 - 09:21 PM

Michael, I always thought of the rape scene as one of her ideas blown up to extravagant proportions making it easy to hear what she's saying. This was where a whole lot of characterization happens for both Roark and Dominique. In many ways you see far more character development in those pages than in many other sections of the book. Similar things can be said about when Dominique destroys the sculpture she finds beautiful and literally dozens of other small things in literature. Rand takes philosophic concepts and applies them to things that they are not generally applied to. This makes people think "how strange" because they don't understand. Then you take the concept that she showed and apply it to something a little more subtle but where it is more commonly applied, suddenly it makes sense. With the statue I was explaining it to a friend and I used the example of things that she keeps to herself because she values them and doesn't trust other people with them, the most obvious was her body. People preserve their physical form, via sexual abstinence or generally not being a whore.

I was reading We the Living in History class the other day and I came by a funny little paragraph that was stuck seemingly without purpose into a somewhat tranquil part of the novel. It seemed like space filler. The paragraph was explaining the "bourgeois" the little stove that the once wealthy, now poor people owned. It was then that I realized that literally every single paragraph in Rand's writing has a distinguishable purpose.
The belief in the morality of altruism is the belief that you should use tires without treads on a rainy day so that you don't cause a crash by kicking water into another driver's windshield; you'll definitely crash, but you may have saved someone else. Government enforced altruism is just forcing the treads off everyone's tires. This will ensure that everyone will crash, but at least they will be helping others while they do it.

#22 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 17 April 2007 - 09:41 PM

Jeff,

I certainly agree that when Rand finished with an idea in her fiction, everything was larger than life and it was so logically placed that one almost cannot conceive it having been otherwise, especially as the "tiers of meaning" (to use her term) become clearer.

Michael

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#23 Kat

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 05:57 AM

the alleged famous (or infamous) “rape scene” was not rape at all by any definition of the term


The crime of forcing another person to submit to sex acts, especially sexual intercourse.




Hate to throw the dictionary at ya, Victor, but she was raped. He took her by force. Sure it makes the book spicier, but it makes me lose a lot of respect for Roark's character. I find him to be too violent to look at as my hero. I don't care much for Dominique, either. I much prefer Atlas over The Fountainhead.

A woman's right to say no has to be respected.

Kat

#24 Brant Gaede

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 09:00 AM

the alleged famous (or infamous) “rape scene” was not rape at all by any definition of the term


The crime of forcing another person to submit to sex acts, especially sexual intercourse.




Hate to throw the dictionary at ya, Victor, but she was raped. He took her by force. Sure it makes the book spicier, but it makes me lose a lot of respect for Roark's character. I find him to be too violent to look at as my hero. I don't care much for Dominique, either. I much prefer Atlas over The Fountainhead.

A woman's right to say no has to be respected.

Kat


As I read that scene Dominique could have stopped that "rape" any time she wanted. I think it has to be considered in the context of the novel and these frankly unreal characters, especially Dominique. Someone so screwed up in the head in real life would have been horribly damaged by sex that way, but not in the surreal world of "The Fountainhead" where she needed to be "raped" and "asked for it."

I could never do what Roark did to her. I've had rape fantasies--who hasn't?--but every time they break down when the imagined victim is seen as a human being. Even in a fantasy I can't avoid the human face. Roark behaved like a rapist. Maybe I'm trying to parse this thing too much; if it looks like a duck ...

--Brant

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#25 Ellen Stuttle

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 02:32 PM

As I read that scene Dominique could have stopped that "rape" any time she wanted.


Completely agreed. I've always thought, ever since I heard it, that Rand's own reply on the "rape" issue -- "If it was 'rape,' it was rape by engraved invitation." -- stated with precision brevity the nature of that scene.

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#26 Ciro

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 03:30 PM

Brant: As I read that scene Dominique could have stopped that "rape" any time she wanted.

Brant, I am courious to know how could she have stopped that?

Ciro

#27 Brant Gaede

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 03:45 PM

Brant: As I read that scene Dominique could have stopped that "rape" any time she wanted.

Brant, I am courious to know how could she have stopped that?

Ciro


I could say by not asking for it in the first place, but that'd be begging your question. It has to do with comportment. Roark in effect said "I am here to rape you" and Dominique in effect replied, "I am here to be raped." Notice that they didn't actually exchange words. So to stop the "rape" all she had to do was start talking matter of factly. Any conversation or any statement from her would have stopped him because that would have violated the implicit prior understanding.

Anyway, there is quite a bit wrong with the "rape" and its context. Dominique afterwards dragged herself to her bath where (I believe) she lay until morning (my books are mostly in storage). Roark immediately left. I think they should have spent the rest of the night together. He all but forgot about her afterwards, being surprised to think of her at all when he got on the train to New York a week later. This seems more rapist behavior than any love and affection. (Of course as a man I know it's lust first, love later. :) )

--Brant

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#28 Judith

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 05:53 PM


Brant: As I read that scene Dominique could have stopped that "rape" any time she wanted.

Brant, I am courious to know how could she have stopped that?

Ciro


I could say by not asking for it in the first place, but that'd be begging your question. It has to do with comportment. Roark in effect said "I am here to rape you" and Dominique in effect replied, "I am here to be raped." Notice that they didn't actually exchange words. So to stop the "rape" all she had to do was start talking matter of factly. Any conversation or any statement from her would have stopped him because that would have violated the implicit prior understanding.

I agree completely. All she had to do was straighten up and say something like, "Okay, wait a minute; this is going too far, I've changed my mind here, bud" in a normal tone of voice -- anything that would show that she's no longer playing the game. Nothing whatsoever shows that Roark had the kind of character that would really "rape" a woman according to Kat's dictionary definition. They were playing out a choreographed scene that involved intense awareness of each other's state of mind and body. He would have known instantly had she not wanted things to be going where they were going. I think Rand indicated that pretty clearly in the way the scene was written.

Judith
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#29 Brant Gaede

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 06:58 PM

Okay, guys and gals! Here is MY JUDGMENT: The "rape" was not rape.

--Brant

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Edited by Brant Gaede, 18 April 2007 - 06:59 PM.

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#30 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 07:02 PM

Brant,

So... would you send Roark to fix your daughter's fireplace?

:)

Michael

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#31 Ellen Stuttle

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 07:06 PM

Brant,

So... would you send Roark to fix your daughter's fireplace?

:)

Michael


That has so obvious an answer:

If my daughter was Dominique.

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#32 Judith

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 07:44 PM

That has so obvious an answer:

If my daughter was Dominique.

Shouldn't that be "If my daughter WERE Dominique?"

What's happened to the subjective tense in the past 20 years? It seems to have disappeared from novels, periodicals, newspapers, and other venues of my curmudgeonly review.

:tongue:

Judith

Edited by Judith, 18 April 2007 - 07:44 PM.

"Facts are stubborn things, and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."
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#33 Jeffery Small

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 08:11 PM

So... would you send Roark to fix your daughter's fireplace?


Of course. I agree completely with Brant's and Judith's analyses. Roark was a man of uncompromised integrity and would never rape a woman. I read The Fountainhead many times and the thought never crossed my mind that this scene was a "rape". I remember being totally shocked by this when it was first suggested and still remained puzzled to this day. To even suggest it indicated a complete misunderstanding of Roark's character.

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Edited by Jeffery Small, 18 April 2007 - 08:13 PM.


#34 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 08:38 PM

Jeff,

Actually, I agree with you. If I have a problem with Roark and Dominique, it is with Roark's attraction to Dominique in the first place. I can see her attraction to him, but not his initial attraction to her, and not enough real value to carry it through those two marriages.

The long almost telepathic stares do not really convey enough information (in reality) for him to see her as more than a spoiled rich girl at first. The last thing he would be interested in is spoiled rich girls, so his initial attraction always seemed to me to be out of character. Even the Vest Dunning parts that were cut show him to be almost biding his time with a girl.

If I suspend belief on the initial attraction, put it in the category of love at first sight without rhyme or reason (although they come later), the rest makes perfect sense.

Michael

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#35 Mike Hardy

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 08:42 PM

Shouldn't that be "If my daughter WERE Dominique?"

What's happened to the subjective tense in the past 20 years? It seems to have disappeared from novels, periodicals, newspapers, and other venues of my curmudgeonly review.

:tongue:

Judith



Oh, please. It's SUBJUNCTIVE MOOD, __not___ SUBJECTIVE TENSE.

In English, personal pronouns can be subjective or objective, and that's about CASE, not about TENSE and not about MOOD.

Verbs have TENSES, MOODS, and VOICES.

Present, present-progressive, past, present-perfect, etc, are TENSES.

Indicative and subjunctive are MOODS.

Active and passive are VOICES.

Grammar-naziistically -- Mike Hardy

#36 Victor Pross

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 08:58 PM

In the effort to gain a different perspective of “rape” by any definition, let’s say this: it’s the unilateral escalation of a courtship to its inevitable conclusion, without the usual niceties of flowers and the mood-killer of asking “may I?” :turned:
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#37 Ellen Stuttle

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 09:01 PM


That has so obvious an answer:

If my daughter was Dominique.

Shouldn't that be "If my daughter WERE Dominique?"

What's happened to the subjective tense in the past 20 years? It seems to have disappeared from novels, periodicals, newspapers, and other venues of my curmudgeonly review.

:tongue:

Judith


Te-he, Mike Hardy was the one I'd expected to inquire about the non-use of the subjunctive mood; instead he got to give a grammar-nazi correction of your terminological misuse.

Twenty years ago, it should have been WERE instead of WAS. These days, in a non-fancy context such as the present one, the subjunctive tends to sound forced and weird. It's going out of fashion in general; even good writers will sometimes think it's wrong in contexts where once it would have been considered right. "Whom" is another one on which usage is changing. In many casual contexts wherein it once would have sounded right, it now sounds wrong.

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#38 Robert Jones

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 10:27 PM

Jeff,

Actually, I agree with you. If I have a problem with Roark and Dominique, it is with Roark's attraction to Dominique in the first place. I can see her attraction to him, but not his initial attraction to her, and not enough real value to carry it through those two marriages.

The long almost telepathic stares do not really convey enough information (in reality) for him to see her as more than a spoiled rich girl at first. The last thing he would be interested in is spoiled rich girls, so his initial attraction always seemed to me to be out of character. Even the Vest Dunning parts that were cut show him to be almost biding his time with a girl.

If I suspend belief on the initial attraction, put it in the category of love at first sight without rhyme or reason (although they come later), the rest makes perfect sense.

Michael


I have a one-word counter-argument for you Mike:

Chemistry
WWMD

#39 Brant Gaede

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 10:27 PM


Shouldn't that be "If my daughter WERE Dominique?"

What's happened to the subjective tense in the past 20 years? It seems to have disappeared from novels, periodicals, newspapers, and other venues of my curmudgeonly review.

:tongue:

Judith



Oh, please. It's SUBJUNCTIVE MOOD, __not___ SUBJECTIVE TENSE.

In English, personal pronouns can be subjective or objective, and that's about CASE, not about TENSE and not about MOOD.

Verbs have TENSES, MOODS, and VOICES.

Present, present-progressive, past, present-perfect, etc, are TENSES.

Indicative and subjunctive are MOODS.

Active and passive are VOICES.

Grammar-naziistically -- Mike Hardy


English were doin' fine til the gramer guys & lexicogigraphers got ahold of it!

--Brant

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#40 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 10:53 PM

Chemistry

Robert,

I agree. That's the only explanation that fits.

I don't find chemistry to be a big part of Rand's theory of love, however, not even at that time. Maybe... if you call love at first sight "chemistry." But Rand seemed to want to make it much more.

Michael

Know thyself...





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