The Fountainhead

by Ayn Rand

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Part 3, Chapters 1-3 Summary

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Gail Wynand considers suicide but decides against it because he is indifferent whether he lives or dies. He reflects on his life. He was born in the poorest section of New York, but he worked his way up in the newspaper business. He became the editor of the Gazette, which he renamed the Banner. Once he sought help from a respected journalist in trying to save an honest man from being framed, but the journalist was refused. He thus gave up on men of integrity. He ran two articles seeking help for two people: one was a scientist on the verge of a great invention, and the other was the pregnant girlfriend of a convict. The contributions to the pregnant girlfriend vastly outnumbered those to the scientist. This pointed out the direction that Wynand would take his newspaper. Wynand focused on and reported the lowest common denominator, appealing to the prurient interests of the public. He invested money and expanded his interests until he controlled a large section of the media in the country.

Ellsworth Toohey wants Wynand to hire Peter Keating as an architect for Wynand’s Stonebridge housing project. Wynand will not listen to him, so Toohey wants him to talk to Dominique Keating; this Wynand refuses. Toohey tells him he has sent him a gift that will convince him. When Wynand opens it, he discovers the statue of Dominique Francon from the Stoddard Temple. Wynand agrees to talk to Dominique.

After two years of marriage, Keating realizes that Dominique has no interest in their marriage, though she agrees to whatever he wishes. His mother has moved out because she was unable to deal with the soulless atmosphere. Ellsworth Toohey calls, wishing to come over. He tells them that Gail Wynand has agreed to talk with Dominique about the Stonebridge project for Keating. Keating understands the implications of this meeting: Wynand has a reputation for bedding beautiful but difficult women, which Dominique certainly is. Dominique agrees to the meeting, though she asks Toohey what he gains from her sleeping with Wynand. Toohey reveals that he hopes to destroy the Keating marriage because it has not turned out the way he wanted.

Dominique meets with Wynand and surprises him with the revelation that she is Dominique Francon, whom he fired. She offers to sleep with him if he will give the Stonebridge contract to Keating. Wynand understands that she is punishing herself; he sees her as a portrait of suffering. Wynand agrees to the deal, provided she will go with him for a two-month cruise, after which he will give the contract to Keating. Dominique agrees. The Keatings have dinner with Wynand, at which Wynand tells Keating his agreement with Dominique. Keating is shocked—not on a condition he had understood from the beginning but that it is being done so blatantly. A few days before their departure, Wynand invites Dominique to see his art gallery.

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