Study Guide

The Fountainhead

by Ayn Rand

The Fountainhead Characters

Characters Discussed (Great Characters in Literature)

Howard Roark

Howard Roark, the hero, a maverick architect apparently modeled on Frank Lloyd Wright. He refuses to compromise with mediocrity and conventional fashion, insisting on pursuing his personal vision whatever the cost. The story follows Roark from his architectural school days to the novel’s climax, his trial for dynamiting a public housing project whose builder had compromised his design. Roark’s credo is, “I don’t build to have clients; I have clients so I can build.”

Peter Keating

Peter Keating, Roark’s classmate in architectural school. The two are antithetical personalities. Keating rises in the architectural profession through manipulating people rather than through creative design. His yearning for commercial success leads him to play up to anyone who can assist his career, and several times he begs for Roark’s assistance. The result is the atrophy of what talent he had to begin with. By the novel’s end, he has become an empty shell.

Ellsworth M. Toohey

Ellsworth M. Toohey, the influential columnist on architecture for the Banner newspaper and the novel’s villain. Toohey’s ambition is to advance his power by exploiting the weaknesses of others. Without any talent of his own, he exploits his position to stir up popular hostility against the superior few in the name of “selflessness.” Accordingly, Roark becomes his number one target.

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(The entire section is 525 words.)

The Fountainhead Characters

The major character of The Fountainhead is Howard Roark, an architect who has a vision of buildings that have never been built but...

(The entire section is 266 words.)

The Fountainhead Character Analysis

Henry Cameron

Henry Cameron
Roark seeks out Henry Cameron when he first comes to New York because of the architect's reputation as a...

(The entire section is 156 words.)

Dominique Francon

Dominique Francon
Guy Francon's daughter, Dominique, is a troubled pessimist throughout most of the novel. She...

(The entire section is 186 words.)

Peter Keating

Peter Keating
Keating arrives in New York at the same time as Roark, but the two architects take very different paths....

(The entire section is 191 words.)

Steven Mallory

Steven Mallory
As his friend Roark notes, Steven Mallory's sculptures are "not what men are, but what men could...

(The entire section is 125 words.)

Howard Roark

Howard Roark
Howard Roark is a brilliant architect whose innovative designs reflect his stanch individualism. At the...

(The entire section is 283 words.)

Ellsworth Toohey

Ellsworth Toohey
Ellsworth Toohey, the architectural critic for The Banner, promotes collectivism and so...

(The entire section is 164 words.)

Gus Webb

Gus Webb
Another one of Toohey's followers, Gus Webb is, like Lois Cook, a shallow nonconformist architect. Unlike...

(The entire section is 144 words.)

Gail Wynand

Gail Wynand
Wynand is a powerful newspaper mogul who, like Dominique, has a pessimistic view of the world, even though...

(The entire section is 163 words.)

Guy Francon

Guy Francon
Keating works for Guy Francon, who heads the most successful architectural firm in the city. Francon has...

(The entire section is 147 words.)

Other Characters

Lois Cook
Presenting herself as a nonconformist, Lois Cook breaks the rules of a society that she believes is trapped...

(The entire section is 300 words.)