The Fountainhead

by Ayn Rand

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Part 1, Chapters 10-12 Summary

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At a gathering at the home of Mrs. Ralston Holcombe, Keating at last meets Dominique Francon. She is arrogant but Keating finds her appealing. She is dismissive to other guests and eventually to Keating as well.

Roark has worked for Snyte’s firm for several months when he is assigned to collaborate on plans for a home for Austen Heller, whom Keating had heard speak at the union rally. Heller wants something unique built on a rock cliff. Roark designs a home built out of the rock itself, but the final plans show revisions along a more traditional line. Heller, who has gone through several architects to find the design he wants, states that this is the closest anyone has ever come, but it is still not what he wants. Roark seizes the plans and quickly sketches his original design over the water colored picture. Snyte is furious and fires him on the spot. Heller states that he considers himself fired as well and walks out with Roark, whom he immediately hires to design his home according to the sketch he just created. He gives him a check made out to “Howard Roark, Architect” as an advance to establish an office and his own architectural firm.

Roark sets up his own office and returns to Snyte’s firm to retrieve his supplies. Snyte tries to cajole him into staying, stating that he did not seriously mean to fire him. Roark refuses. In anger, Snyte warns Roark that he will never take him back, and he will make sure that no other firm will ever hire him.
Roark begins the building of Heller’s home; he visits the site several times. He discovers Mike working on the electrical system of the house. When the building is finished, the majority of the architectural community ignores it. The only comments made are negative. Keating makes an attempt at defending him.

Dominique Francon writes an investigative article on the conditions of the slums of New York. She spends two weeks living in a tenement, garnering information. After the article’s publication, she attends a reception where she confronts the slum lords with the conditions that the residents must face. However, in a meeting of social workers, she exposes the tenants as the victims of their own laziness. Her father sees these two conflicting views. Peter Keating begins to date Dominique, which pleases Francon, who hopes Keating will be a positive influence on her. Keating does not see Katie for more than a month until she shows up at his home, begging him to marry her immediately. He agrees, but his mother tries to dissuade him, believing that it would be more advantageous to his career to marry Dominique. Keating insists that he loves Katie but agrees to wait. He informs Katie that Heyer is ill and presumably will soon die. Francon is planning on Keating’s marrying Dominique, but if Keating waits until he is firmly in Heyer’s place, he will be able to freely marry Katie. Katie submissively agrees. Keating feels that he has missed a chance that will not repeat itself.

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Part 1, Chapters 7-9 Summary


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