The Fountainhead

by Ayn Rand

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Part 2, Chapters 4-6 Summary

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Keating reads Lois Cook’s book and finds it spiritual because he does not understand it. He is meeting Katie at Ellsworth Toohey’s home for a “family tea.” Mrs. Keating still pushes her son along, despite his recent success.

Katie is anxious that her uncle approve of her marriage to Keating. Toohey implies that it is not important enough to disapprove. Keating and Toohey discuss Roark’s design for the Enright House, which Toohey finds unremarkable. At Lois Cook’s home, Keating discusses with her the plans for her house. She wants it lighted by kerosene, absent of windows in the living room, and an appearance of the ugliest house imaginable. She finds beauty too commonplace. She speaks of a youth group of writers (similar to the youth group of architects) that Toohey wants to form, with Lois Cook and Peter Keating as the chairmen.

Dominique returns to New York City, hoping to run into Roark (whose name she still does not know). She resents each part of the city where he might have had contact. She sees his design for the Enright House. She is unaware of the designer but judges it too beautiful to be built. It should exist only as an ideal.

Ellsworth Toohey gathers together his youth group of architects, which acquires the name of the Council of American Builders. It is not open just to architects but to all who are involved in the building process. The group of eighteen consists of unknowns except for Peter Keating and Gordon Prescott. Keating is unanimously elected chairman, with Prescott chosen as the vice-chairman. Toohey refuses all nominations, preferring to remain an unofficial advisor. Dominique Francon arrives and sits unobtrusively in the back. After the meeting is over, she greets Toohey, who is delighted that she has come. Keating is overjoyed to see her. He can sense that she has newly acquired the experience of being with a man. She explains that it was a lowly quarry worker. She wants Keating to agree that they will not meet each other socially. Keating refuses to do this.

Austen Heller convinces Roark to join him at a party given by Kiki Holcombe. Roark refuses, but when he hears that Dominique will be there, he agrees. At the party, Mrs. Holcombe tries to engage Roark in conversation but is soon repulsed by his arrogance. Toohey meets him and takes him to be introduced to Dominique. Both Dominique and Roark act as if they have never met. Dominique has a sense that Roark is testing her. She tells Mrs. Holcombe that she finds him repulsive but somehow good-looking. Joel Sutton hires Roark to build an office building for him, which signals that Roark has managed to work his way back into some level of respectability.

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