Rand's self-stated theme in this work is "individualism versus collectivism, not in politics, but in man's soul." More specifically, the work rebukes the collectivization of art and the lack of respect for the innovator, the true genius. In some cases, new developments in art (specifically modern architecture in this novel) are simply unfamiliar and are shunned for that reason. Some people, however, the truly depraved, recognize the brilliance of new developments but set out to destroy them because they are incapable of duplicating them. Keating hates Roark because he knows that Roark is the superior architect; Ellsworth Toohey, a newspaper columnist, fights Roark by supporting Keating's mediocrity and attacking Roark's brilliantly designed buildings.
Roark ultimately is victorious against all of the odds against him, and Rand affirms that every man has the spark of brilliance within himself. By the conclusion of the work, Roark has triumphed over Keating and Toohey, and has converted society to his point of view. The true innovator, Rand seems to say, may be sure of the inevitability of his work and can wait patiently for the recognition he deserves.
(The entire section is 184 words.)