The Fountainhead

by Ayn Rand

Start Free Trial

Part 1, Chapters 4-6 Summary

Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Guy Francon reads a magazine article to Peter Keating; it is by Ellsworth Toohey and praises Francon for his architectural genius. Keating, who has become the favored boy of the firm, offers to finish the plans by his best friend, Tim Davis, because he knows Davis’s days are numbered. Afterward, Keating visits Catherine Halsey, a homely and dull girl with whom he is inexplicably infatuated. He learns that her uncle is Ellsworth Toohey, but he does not want to use her to meet the famed architectural critic. He does not want his future to be one of manipulation.

Henry Cameron calls Howard Roark into his office to let him know that he is firing him. Cameron says that Roark is too good for his second-rate firm. He urges Roark to try a more distinguished firm, such as Francon and Heyer, where he will earn more respect just by association. He sees that Roark has a passion for architecture; he would work for nothing just to build the masterpiece he desires. In the end, he knows Roark will not leave.

Over the next two years, Peter Keating rises to the top level of the firm. He begins to do more of Tim Davis’s work, which eventually leads to Davis’s termination. Keating also manipulates Stengel, the top designer, into leaving the firm to start his own business, thus leaving Keating as the chief designer of Francon and Heyer. When faced with his first assignment, however, he becomes insecure and seeks Roark’s help. Roark simplifies Keating’s designs, which Keating then turns in to Francon as his own work. In his position at Cameron’s firm, is faced with the reality that Cameron is no longer accepted as a valid architect. Cameron sees his career as symbolized by a tabloid, appealing to an undiscriminating public. He leaves it to Roark to salvage what he can from the mess Cameron has created.

Ellsworth Toohey publishes a bestselling book on the history of architecture. One year following this, Henry Cameron retires from business. He leaves the cleaning up for Roark. Keating expands his notoriety beyond the office to New York society. His mother rents her home in Stanton and moves to New York. She constantly provides advice to her son on how to get ahead, and Peter ignores her advice. He and Katherine (whom he calls Katie) agree that they are engaged. Although Keating had tried to get an introduction to Francon’s daughter, Francon obviously does not get on well with her, so Keating abandons the effort and focuses on Katie. He has changed his mind about having Katie introduce him to her uncle, Ellsworth Toohey, but Katie does not want them to meet. Keating reassures Katie that he is not marrying her for her uncle’s sake.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Part 1, Chapters 1-3 Summary


Part 1, Chapters 7-9 Summary