The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

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The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand, shows the human ideal and a struggle to keep itself going in a decaying world. It depicts the fact that in order to be successful and remain that way, man must be moral and practical, not one or the other. In doing so, Rand has created two characters Peter Keating and Howard Roark, a foil of one another. They went to the same school, chose the same profession, and even lived in the same house. Throughout the novel, both characters succeed. Keating prospers because of his ability to conform to societies standards and his overwhelming practicality, Roark flourishes by maintaining his morals and his rational use of practicality. As their lives continue, both men grow increasingly different. A fierce struggle erupts as the individualist tries to define his place in society against the covetous conformist.

Peter Keating is the conventional definition of practical. He graduates at the top of his class and accepts a job at Heyer and Francon, a leading architectural firm in New York.

Through attempting to please everyone and sacrificing all of his virtue, Keating is at first successful. In the eyes of society, it seems that he is wanted by everyone, sadly, this is what makes him happy. Keating is greedy and vain, doing whatever the majority demands. When designing a building he proves to be exactly like it, rigid and fake, as long as it leads him to public success. Although he appears to be prosperous, Keating can only perceive success through the approval and admiration of others. By being practical, he has sacrificed every moral ever known. For example, Keating wanted to become a painter, but he let his mother manipulate him into being an architect. As long as he had someone?s approval he would follow anything she...