Have You Noticed?


Recommended Posts

Opening and reading The Fountainhead here and there something struck me a quite odd--how so many characters call Howard Roark "Roark" when it is literally inappropriate. Dominique marries Peter Keating (an instance of her "stupid" [Ayn Rand] behavior) and jilts him on her wedding night for one last night in Roark's bed. P. 386 hb: "'I love you, Roark.' She had said it for the first time."

I think there are two problems here. The obvious one and the fact that "Howard" compared to "Roark" is a next to nothing name. "Roark" carries all the esthetic weight and that's why Rand used it. It also points out that these two characters were not ever depicted as really being in love with each other, not even to the extent Roark and Wynand had love for each other. The Dominique character is so twisted out of shape to make her fit into the story-line as to make her unrecognizable as a human being, frankly, as contrasted to Roark who is merely incomplete or undeveloped. Wynand is the most developed, well rounded, believable major character qua Rand heroic in her two great novels. Psychologically the logical choice all considered is for Roark and Wynand to go to bed with each other, which would destroy the novel, of course, but the artificiality of the plot stops that the same way it twists Dominique out of human shape.

I think what's going on is Rand loves both Wynand and Roark and that's the real love here, not between the two guys. Wynand and Roark go off on a cruise together, but Rand is also on board, alone with them. In this sense they are one person plus the author (in a good mood).

--Brant

Link to post
Share on other sites

Francisco and Rearden, lovers at the end of Atlas, yes, if they were ambisexual. But Roark and Wynand in Fountainhead, not so much, due to the Roark-Dominique possibility at the end, a culmination of their history.

Roark and Dominique are a fantastic love, beginning to end of Dominique’s fanciful neurosis and beginning to end of their dual fanciful projects in the world, including blowing up a shameful building.

D – “Since you know who I am, it would be better if you stopped looking at me when I come here. It might be misunderstood.”

R – “I don’t think so.”

She stood watching him. It was strange to feel a senseless necessity to watch the mechanical process of the work as if her eyes were helping it. Then she knew that she was afraid to look at the room around them. She made herself raise her head.

She saw the shelf of her dressing table, its glass edge like a narrow green satin ribbon in the semidarkness, and the crystal containers; she saw a pair of white bedroom slippers, a pale blue towel on the floor by a mirror, a pair of stockings thrown over the arm of a chair; she saw the white satin of her bed. His shirt had damp stains and gray patches of stone dust; the dust made streaks on the skin of his arms. She felt as if each object in the room had been touched by him, as if the air were a heavy pool of water into which they had plunged together, and the water that touched him carried the touch to her, to every object in the room.

“As a matter of fact, Mr. Roark, I’m not alone in this decision. As a matter of fact, I did want you, I had decided on you, honestly I had, but it was Miss Dominique Francon, whose judgment I value most highly, who convinced me that you were not the right choice for this commission—and she was fair enough to allow me to tell you that she did.”

. . .

His room was half dark around him. . . . / Dominique came in. . . . /

He asked: “What do you want?”

She answered: “You know what I want,” her voice heavy and flat.

“Yes. But I want to hear you say it. All of it.”

. . .

“I have hurt you today. I’ll do it again. I’ll come to you whenever I have beaten you—whenever I know I have hurt you—and I’ll let you own me. . . . That is what I want of you, Roark. That is what I am. You wanted to hear all of it. You’ve heard it. What do you wish to say now?”

“Take your clothes off.”

It was an act of tension, as the great things on earth are things of tension. . . . It was the moment made of hatred, tension, pain—the moment that broke its own elements, inverted them, triumphed, swept into a denial of all suffering, into its antithesis, into ecstasy.

Once, when he got out of bed, she switched the light on and saw him standing there, naked; she looked at him, then she said, her voice quiet and desperate with the simple despair of complete sincerity: “Roark, everything I’ve done all my life is because it’s the kind of world that made you work in a quarry last summer.”

“I know that.”

He sat down at the foot of the bed. She moved over, she pressed her face against his thigh, curled up, her feet on the pillow, her arm hanging down, letting her palm move slowly up the length of his leg, from the ankle to the knee and back again. She said: “But, of course, if it had been up to me, last spring, when you were broke and jobless, I would have sent you to precisely that kind of a job in that particular quarry.”

“I know that too. But maybe you wouldn’t have. Maybe you’d have had me as washroom attendant in the clubhouse of the A.G.A.”

“Yes. Possibly. Put your hand on my back, Roark. Just hold it there. Like that.” She lay still, her face buried against his knees, her arm hanging down over the side of the bed, not moving, as if nothing in her were alive but the skin between her shoulder blades under his hand.

On an evening in October, Roark and Dominique walked together through the completed Temple. . . .

It was a clear, quiet evening. The site of the Temple lay empty and silent. The red of the sunset on the limestone walls was like the first light of morning.

They stood looking at the Temple, and then stood inside, before the marble figure, saying nothing to each other. . . .

“Roark . . .”

“Yes, my dearest?”

“No . . . nothing . . .”

They walked back to the car together, his hand clasping her wrist.

“You could ask, why not kill myself then. Because I love you. Because you exist. That alone is so much that it won’t allow me to die. And since I must be alive in order to know that you are, I will live in the world as it is, in the manner of life it demands. . . . And only within my own mind, only where nothing can touch it, kept sacred by the protecting wall of my own degradation, there will be the thought of you and the knowledge of you, and I shall say ‘Howard Roark” to myself once in a while, and I shall feel I have deserved to say it.”

. . .

“I won’t try to stop you. I love you, Dominique.”

. . .

“I love you, Dominique. As selfishly as the fact that I exist. As selfishly as my lungs breathe air. . . .”

. . .

“You must learn not to be afraid of the world. Not to be held by it as you are now. . . . I must let you learn it. I can’t help you. . . . I’ll wait for you. I love you. I’m saying this now for all the years we’ll have to wait. I love you, Dominique.”

Then he kissed her and let her go.

“How did you get this store to design?”

“The owner saw my buildings in New York and liked them.”

. . .

“Until—when, Roark?”

His hand moved over the streets. “Until you stop hating all this, stop being afraid of it, learn not to notice it.”

When she saw black vertical strips with dots of light filling the glass of the car’s side window, she wondered what had happened to the glass. Then she realized that she was driving along the East River and that this was New York, on the other side. She laughed and thought: No, this is not New York, this is a private picture pasted to the window of my car, all of it, here, on one small pane, under my hand, I own it, it’s mine now—she ran one hand across the buildings from the Battery to Queensborough Bridge—Roark, it’s mine and I’m giving it to you.

A

for Dominique.
Link to post
Share on other sites

You've certainly adduced enough to make your point, Stephen, but I don't think you've entirely washed mine away. There was, after all, a naturalness between Roark and Wynand that belied the tension between Roark and Dominique. In the context of the novel she was a work in progress, but it was she who needed to do the work and she did. The next level up for Gail destroyed him for self knowledge and rebuke. The basic problem of Howard and Dominique seems to be the battle against estrangement (or for love). The happiness--the love--ever after was after the end of the novel. It was going to be higher than the highest building in New York.

--Brant

corrected yet again, ~groan~

the pitiless pursuit of perfection (chasing me)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dominique was a very forced attempt by Rand to illustrate and embody her concept of the "malevolent universe premise." As I've mentioned in previous threads, the problem is that Dominique was right about the fictional world in which she lived. Man was not capable of succeeding in it on merit. The enviers and destroyers were too powerful. Only by violating his own moral code, initiating force against others by destroying their property, and offering irrational and delusional excuses for his immoral actions did Roark "beat" the society that Dominique correctly identified as stronger than Roark, and in doing so he was actually defeated by them, since he became them.

And then Dominique changed her attitude to "benevolent universe premise."

But, lots of holes can be found when you go looking for them in almost any work of art.

J

Link to post
Share on other sites

I caught something on a Google search from Objectivism Online that is very funny about Roark and the opening to The Fountainhead.

It's a post from 2005 by one Tom Robinson (see here).

Rand's fiction is ripe with sexual imagery and symbolism. But far from trivializing her prose, the subtle (and not so subtle) allusions to male genitalia, physical intensity of copulation and ecstasy of orgasmic release serve to enrich and enliven her descriptions.

Take the opening passage from The Fountainhead:

Howard Roark laughed.

He stood naked at the edge of a cliff. The lake lay far below him. A frozen explosion of granite burst in flight to the sky over motionless water. The water seemed immovable, the stone flowing. The stone had the stillness of one brief moment in battle when thrust meets thrust and the currents are held in a pause more dynamic than motion. The stone glowed, wet with sunrays. . .

His body leaned back against the sky. It was a body of long straight lines and angles, each curve broken into planes. He stood, rigid, his hands hanging at his sides, palms out. He felt his shoulder blades drawn tight together, the curve of his neck, and the weight of the blood in his hands. He felt the wind behind him, in the hollow of his spine.

Roark’s nakedness; his pleasure; the hardness of the granite outcropping paralleling the “rigidness” of Roark’s body; the choice of the words “explosion,” “burst,” “flowing” “wet,” “thrust meets thrust” to describe a quiet scene in nature -- all of this lends the unmistakably pungent flavor ofsex! to the proceedings.

And, keep in mind, we haven’t even got to the phallic imagery of the skyscrapers yet.

Now skip ahead to the scene that precedes what Rand famously called the “rape by engraved invitation.” Describing the natural creation of marble, Roark says, the forces involved are "heat and pressure," and then explains, "pressure is a powerful factor -- it can lead to consequences which, once started, cannot be controlled." (Hmm, now what human experience does that resemble?) When Dominique asks about the consequences, Roark’s answer is all but explicit: “The infiltration of foreign elements from the surrounding soil."

Only a dunce would miss the double entendre.

Take the sexual zest out of Rand’s writing and you get Henry Hazlitt the novelist of Time will Run Back. Great economics but deadly dull fiction.


I tend to agree with this guy. (For the record, I don't know him and never heard of him before this).

I wonder if the descriptions of Dominique will yield the same erotic wealth.

(Ah me... art is long and life is short...)

:smile:

Michael

Link to post
Share on other sites

Opening and reading The Fountainhead here and there something struck me a quite odd--how so many characters call Howard Roark "Roark" when it is literally inappropriate. Dominique marries Peter Keating (an instance of her "stupid" [Ayn Rand] behavior) and jilts him on her wedding night for one last night in Roark's bed. P. 386 hb: "'I love you, Roark.' She had said it for the first time."

I think there are two problems here. The obvious one and the fact that "Howard" compared to "Roark" is a next to nothing name. "Roark" carries all the esthetic weight and that's why Rand used it. It also points out that these two characters were not ever depicted as really being in love with each other, not even to the extent Roark and Wynand had love for each other. The Dominique character is so twisted out of shape to make her fit into the story-line as to make her unrecognizable as a human being, frankly, as contrasted to Roark who is merely incomplete or undeveloped. Wynand is the most developed, well rounded, believable major character qua Rand heroic in her two great novels. Psychologically the logical choice all considered is for Roark and Wynand to go to bed with each other, which would destroy the novel, of course, but the artificiality of the plot stops that the same way it twists Dominique out of human shape.

I think what's going on is Rand loves both Wynand and Roark and that's the real love here, not between the two guys. Wynand and Roark go off on a cruise together, but Rand is also on board, alone with them. In this sense they are one person plus the author (in a good mood).

--Brant

For those who have followed the series "House M.D.," you may notice, as I do, a general similarity between House and Roark. They're both very independent and unconventional in their approach to what they do. They both are in love with a woman who makes "stupid" (Rand's term) decisions about relationships. And many of their associates--and even the woman they love--call them by their last name. Also, the relationship between Wilson and Roark is oddly similar to that of Wynand and Roark, setting aside many superficial differences in detail.

Interestingly, the malevolent universe premise standin in "House"--"everybody lies"--is espoused by the main character, not his female love-interest. However, House's working assumption seems to serve him well most of the time. So many of the patients or their loved ones turn out to have medically relevant information they are afraid of revealing, for one reason or another, that House is justified in being suspicious that his diagnoses may be hindered by people lying or covering up the truth. Cuddy, for her part, doesn't try to professionally destroy House, like Dominique does Roark, but she does enough of a psychological number on him with her (IMO) wrong choices about their relationship that the overall demoralizing effect is about the same.

REB

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dominique was a very forced attempt by Rand to illustrate and embody her concept of the "malevolent universe premise." As I've mentioned in previous threads, the problem is that Dominique was right about the fictional world in which she lived. Man was not capable of succeeding in it on merit. The enviers and destroyers were too powerful. Only by violating his own moral code, initiating force against others by destroying their property, and offering irrational and delusional excuses for his immoral actions did Roark "beat" the society that Dominique correctly identified as stronger than Roark, and in doing so he was actually defeated by them, since he became them.

And then Dominique changed her attitude to "benevolent universe premise."

But, lots of holes can be found when you go looking for them in almost any work of art.

J

I dunno. I think you've stapled too much dubious stuff together. The theme that runs through Rand's work, fiction and non-fiction, is the impotence of evil. That Rand screwed it up with the climax and Roark's trial doesn't mean she screwed it up the way evil bounced off him. I think Roark could have blown up the housing project in the context of a valid contract between him and the government or something else. The trick is to preserve for climatic esthetic reasons blowing up the project. Rand wrote most of The Fountainhead in one year, (1942) under severe deadline and economic pressure. When it comes to her fiction--heck, non-fiction too--deconstruction is fine, but after deconstruction reconstruct in appreciation of genius.

--Brant

Link to post
Share on other sites

I caught something on a Google search from Objectivism Online that is very funny about Roark and the opening to The Fountainhead.

It's a post from 2005 by one Tom Robinson (see here).

Rand's fiction is ripe with sexual imagery and symbolism. But far from trivializing her prose, the subtle (and not so subtle) allusions to male genitalia, physical intensity of copulation and ecstasy of orgasmic release serve to enrich and enliven her descriptions.

Take the opening passage from The Fountainhead:

Howard Roark laughed.

He stood naked at the edge of a cliff. The lake lay far below him. A frozen explosion of granite burst in flight to the sky over motionless water. The water seemed immovable, the stone flowing. The stone had the stillness of one brief moment in battle when thrust meets thrust and the currents are held in a pause more dynamic than motion. The stone glowed, wet with sunrays. . .

His body leaned back against the sky. It was a body of long straight lines and angles, each curve broken into planes. He stood, rigid, his hands hanging at his sides, palms out. He felt his shoulder blades drawn tight together, the curve of his neck, and the weight of the blood in his hands. He felt the wind behind him, in the hollow of his spine.

Roark’s nakedness; his pleasure; the hardness of the granite outcropping paralleling the “rigidness” of Roark’s body; the choice of the words “explosion,” “burst,” “flowing” “wet,” “thrust meets thrust” to describe a quiet scene in nature -- all of this lends the unmistakably pungent flavor ofsex! to the proceedings.

And, keep in mind, we haven’t even got to the phallic imagery of the skyscrapers yet.

Now skip ahead to the scene that precedes what Rand famously called the “rape by engraved invitation.” Describing the natural creation of marble, Roark says, the forces involved are "heat and pressure," and then explains, "pressure is a powerful factor -- it can lead to consequences which, once started, cannot be controlled." (Hmm, now what human experience does that resemble?) When Dominique asks about the consequences, Roark’s answer is all but explicit: “The infiltration of foreign elements from the surrounding soil."

Only a dunce would miss the double entendre.

Take the sexual zest out of Rand’s writing and you get Henry Hazlitt the novelist of Time will Run Back. Great economics but deadly dull fiction.

I tend to agree with this guy. (For the record, I don't know him and never heard of him before this).

I wonder if the descriptions of Dominique will yield the same erotic wealth.

(Ah me... art is long and life is short...)

:smile:

Michael

I hope Roark didn't try to dive off that cliff while having an erection! :-/

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dominique was a very forced attempt by Rand to illustrate and embody her concept of the "malevolent universe premise." As I've mentioned in previous threads, the problem is that Dominique was right about the fictional world in which she lived. Man was not capable of succeeding in it on merit. The enviers and destroyers were too powerful. Only by violating his own moral code, initiating force against others by destroying their property, and offering irrational and delusional excuses for his immoral actions did Roark "beat" the society that Dominique correctly identified as stronger than Roark, and in doing so he was actually defeated by them, since he became them.

And then Dominique changed her attitude to "benevolent universe premise."

But, lots of holes can be found when you go looking for them in almost any work of art.

J

I question that Rand had formed, at least explicitly, her "malevolent"/"benevolent universe" idea when she wrote The Fountainhead. Are there references to it in her notes?

She appears to have gotten the idea "sense of life" from Unamuno after she wrote The Fountainhead. (She uses the wording "sense of life" someplace in TF, but not with the meaning employed in the theory she developed.)

Ellen

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the warning, REB. I was just going to try it.

--Brant

close call

However, had you launched the degree of difficulty would have beeb 9.9.

Also reminds me of my pay per view naked gymnastic competition extravaganza...

Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope Roark didn't try to dive off that cliff while having an erection! :-/

Roger,

LOL...

No, but he sure was sweating as he worked a "trembling drill" when Dominique showed up. (In the movie I think they used a jackhammer, which works just fine, too. :smile: ) She hoped "that the vibrations of the drill hurt him, hurt his body, everything inside his body." Well... he was pounding that thing right through solid marble.

Later she accosted him with her legs wrapped around a horse and whipping it. She lashed Roark across the face to make sure he understood.

:smile:

Maybe this is over the top? Heh. Look at the description when Dominique walked to the quarry the first time she saw Roark:

When she came out of the woods to the edge of the great stone bowl, she felt as if she were thrust into an execution chamber filled with scalding steam. The heat did not come from the sun, but from that broken cut in the earth, from the reflectors of flat ridges. Her shoulders, her head, her back, exposed to the sky, seemed cool while she felt the hot breath of the stone rising up her legs, to her chin, to her nostrils. The air shimmered below, sparks of fire shot through the granite; she thought the stone was stirring, melting, running in white trickles of lava. Drills and hammers cracked the still weight of the air.

She is "thrust" into a "chamber" of "scalding steam." The "heat" is coming from a "broken cut" in the earth. She feels the "hot breath" "rising up her legs." And don't forget those "sparks of fire," shimmering air, and "white trickles of lava."

Cracking drills and hammers indeed.

:smile:

Michael

Link to post
Share on other sites

The friendship between Howard Roark and Wynand did always seem a bit intense much as Rand’s admonishment on Sixty Minutes to kiss a smoke stack in gratitude. That was embarrassing, if you were watching it with someone.

Excellent insights, guys! I went to that Tina Turner “Break all the Rules,” linked site and hetero-enjoyed it a lot. With Tina’s big hair and astounding lips I had to coax the tiger down.

I recommend Katie Perry’s Indian themed video, Japanese video, and of course, “The Eye of a Tiger.” Katie is having a real burst of creativity, and my 4 year old granddaughter likes her a lot, though she is tired of “What Does the Fox Say?” With Katie’s twinkle in her eyes, I always think she is going to burst into a Saturday Night Live parody.

Peter

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dominique was a very forced attempt by Rand to illustrate and embody her concept of the "malevolent universe premise." As I've mentioned in previous threads, the problem is that Dominique was right about the fictional world in which she lived. Man was not capable of succeeding in it on merit. The enviers and destroyers were too powerful. Only by violating his own moral code, initiating force against others by destroying their property, and offering irrational and delusional excuses for his immoral actions did Roark "beat" the society that Dominique correctly identified as stronger than Roark, and in doing so he was actually defeated by them, since he became them.

And then Dominique changed her attitude to "benevolent universe premise."

But, lots of holes can be found when you go looking for them in almost any work of art.

J

I question that Rand had formed, at least explicitly, her "malevolent"/"benevolent universe" idea when she wrote The Fountainhead. Are there references to it in her notes?

She appears to have gotten the idea "sense of life" from Unamuno after she wrote The Fountainhead. (She uses the wording "sense of life" someplace in TF, but not with the meaning employed in the theory she developed.)

Ellen

I'm pretty sure that Rand did claim that Dominique was supposed to represent the "malevolent universe premise," and her followers at ARI seem to have taken up that position as being the proper interpretation of the character. But I don't recall if that view on the creation of Dominique can be found in Rand's notes from the time, or if it's something of an anachronistic claim.

J

Link to post
Share on other sites

I dunno. I think you've stapled too much dubious stuff together. The theme that runs through Rand's work, fiction and non-fiction, is the impotence of evil.

No, that's not "the theme" that runs through Rand's work. It is only her intended theme. It's an "outside consideration" which she attempted to staple to her art by telling everyone the themes that they had better find in her art.

But that's not the way that the Objectivist theory of aesthetics works. We are to judge the art itself, not the author's stated intentions.

That Rand screwed it up with the climax and Roark's trial doesn't mean she screwed it up the way evil bounced off him.

Technically, by Objectivist Esthetic standards, it does mean that Rand screwed it up.

I think Roark could have blown up the housing project in the context of a valid contract between him and the government or something else. The trick is to preserve for climatic esthetic reasons blowing up the project. Rand wrote most of The Fountainhead in one year, (1942) under severe deadline and economic pressure. When it comes to her fiction--heck, non-fiction too--deconstruction is fine, but after deconstruction reconstruct in appreciation of genius.

I understand. Readers often bring some degree of suspension of disbelief to reading a novel, or they allow for some technical leeway regarding one aspect of a work of art or another. They recognize artistic intent and overlook errors. I'm not actually criticizing Rand's art by my own standards, but by her theory of aesthetic judgment. I'm just applying her theory to judging her art.

J

Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm just applying her theory to judging her art.

J

J.

Physician heal thy self?

A...

Link to post
Share on other sites

The friendship between Howard Roark and Wynand did always seem a bit intense much as Rand’s admonishment on Sixty Minutes to kiss a smoke stack in gratitude. That was embarrassing, if you were watching it with someone.

Excellent insights, guys! I went to that Tina Turner “Break all the Rules,” linked site and hetero-enjoyed it a lot. With Tina’s big hair and astounding lips I had to coax the tiger down.

I recommend Katie Perry’s Indian themed video, Japanese video, and of course, “The Eye of a Tiger.” Katie is having a real burst of creativity, and my 4 year old granddaughter likes her a lot, though she is tired of “What Does the Fox Say?” With Katie’s twinkle in her eyes, I always think she is going to burst into a Saturday Night Live parody.

Peter

I don't recall her ever being on 60 Minutes. I did see a show in the spring of 1971--early May--in which she exclaimed on finding the dirtiest smokestack you could and gives thanks. Something like that. I think it might have been a response to the first Earth Day. Her appearance was very bad. She looked quite haggard.

-Brant

Link to post
Share on other sites

Brant wrote:

I think there are two problems here. The obvious one and the fact that "Howard" compared to "Roark" is a next to nothing name. "Roark"

end quote

Everyone knows nicknames for “Howard” but how about “Roark?” If you tweek the letters a bit, you could get the nickname “Korky.”

Dagny said for the first time, “I love you, Korky.”

Link to post
Share on other sites

Mixing up the characters does spoil the joke. I went to bed chortling to myself, "Korky," not realizing my gaff.

Something that is even more embarrassing is seeing someone again who you last saw twenty years ago and not recognizing them or remembering their name. It happens a lot when you live in one spot for most of your later life. I might walk past someone in the supermarket, and wonder, who the heck was that who said Hi?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Mixing up the characters does spoil the joke. I went to bed chortling to myself, "Korky," not realizing my gaff.

Something that is even more embarrassing is seeing someone again who you last saw twenty years ago and not recognizing them or remembering their name. It happens a lot when you live in one spot for most of your later life. I might walk past someone in the supermarket, and wonder, who the heck was that who said Hi?

Imagine if you were wearing "goggle glasses," with face recognition software, that would provide you with their complete profile.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now