Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Fountainhead

There are novels that you read for sheer entertainment. There are novels which take you on a journey into another world. There are novels with suspense so gripping that you can’t let go of them till you finish. And then, there are books that simply inspire.

The Fountainhead belongs to the last category. It is so beautiful a book that I don’t feel qualified enough to review it. The book surely inspires, but it inspires each person differently. This is how it inspires me.

I liked many aspects of the book. Each aspect was represented by one of the Fountainhead’s protagonists. Each represented an ideology of living, ideologies which can’t be categorized as valid or invalid. The book exposes you to so many facets of human nature that it leaves you heavy with thoughts.The egotism redefined by Roark was at the forefront. I personally belonged to a school of thought that despises the whole concept of egotism but this book made me rethink my stand. Is altruism positive in its truest sense? Is it not breeding a world of dependants? Why is living for one’s own self considered selfish? The book preaches egotism as the freedom of an individual, of morals, creativity and thought. All it implies is respect for one’s own space and that for someone else’s.

Dominique Francon symbolized the spirit of freedom. Frankly, she did appear eccentric to me when she made her first appearance. The more you read about her, the more mesmerized you are by the reason she lives for – it being no reason at all. The hardships which she takes upon herself so willfully to reach where Roark already is leave you perplexed, until you discover why.

The third most intriguing character of the book according to me was Mr. Gail Wynand, a bully who threw his weight around just to challenge the integrity of an individual. The self-made millionaire showed his new side, or rather, hidden side, after he tied his knot with the woman who he wanted to possess, who he later loved. He was one of the two people Roark loves in this world, for his courage to stand up on his own, against the majority. He had power and knew how to use it to manipulate and break individuals or organisations, the reasons for which changed as the book progressed.

Apart from the three discussed above, all others were second-handers. They were everything which these people were not. The book describes them as parasites, who feed on each other. They do what the world wants them to do, and not what they want to do themselves. But they have the power of collectivism, the power which suppresses individualism, breaks its back so that it cannot stand again. The second-handers are not the villains. They are just helpless against the force of the majority. The have sold their soul which is the easiest thing to do. They loathe the creators just because they cannot be them.

I am not aware of which category I belong to. I am not an altruist, nor an egotist. I am not exactly dependant, but I don’t know if I am completely independent. All I know is that this book has got me thinking, given me a direction. Hopefully, when I go in that direction, I will find my answer.

7 comments:

Silent Screamer said...

Nice blog!There are many such books which have inspired me too,Paulo Coelho books particularly.They are highly fascinating,and inspire you unintentionally.I'll definately try getting my hands on Fountainhead next time.Seems like a very interesting book.

Metallica bhakt! said...

Roark GOD hai!! Its the best book I have ever read! though most of them who read it find Ayn Rand boring but I could actually relate to Dominique in soooooo many occassions! Its a fantabulous book! The best read ever for me!!Roark GOD hai! (I would love to marry him!:p )

The Illuminator said...

@Ale
Haven't read Coehlo's books still though I am dying to read the Alchemist. Let's see how soon I can get hold of it.

@MB
I think Dominique bhi GODDESS hai. Did you catch up with the Fountainhead movie by any chance?

Pallavi said...

Hmmm..very intriguing indeed.The definition of an egotist dat u mentioned over there in mind over matter has got me in a very introspective mood..will definitely make it a point to read this one.
Very well written or reviewed rather :P

Seeker of Truth said...

The creator's creation is always his own
The purpose of all his work is his joy alone
What it means to an other
Doesn't cause him much bother
Once his joy is his, all else is readily thrown!

In his every work, his Sense of Life he does express,
If it makes no sense to others, he couldn't care less!
Of cheap labor there is no dearth...
But what is priceless is self-worth.
Selfless work for others' sake also makes you worthless!

priya said...

I actually want to finish it now, after reading your post.
I'm in the part where Dominique enters. Maybe theres more to the book.
You told me not to skip pages and go for it. Thanks!! Will tell you what I felt after finishing it.
Btw, awesome review! =)

The Illuminator said...

@Pal
Yes, I have started looking for resemblences in my life too.

@AI
I loved last two lines particularly. Brilliant insight.

@Priya
The book is descriptive but in the description are hidden some of the most beautiful lines about human behaviour. Once you read the whole thing, the review is not very difficult to structure.