The Fountainhead

by Ayn Rand

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Part 4, Chapters 19-20 Summary

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Roger Enright buys the site of the Cortlandt housing project and clears it. He hires Roark to build his own project, which will be economical but open to anyone, regardless of their income. Wynand is granted his divorce; Dominique is publicly branded as an adulteress.

Ellsworth Toohey sues Wynand to get his job back and wins. Wynand calls Toohey and tells him to show up for work by 9:00 at night. Toohey arrives at ten minutes until nine, though only he and Wynand are in the office. He sits at his desk, and Wynand watches him. Toohey is not sure how to start, but he likes being back with the sound of the presses in the background. At nine o’clock, that sound stops and Wynand informs him that The Banner has ended and he is out of a job. Wynand eventually finds work at The Courier. He asks about the boss, Mr. Talbot, but the only response he receives is a voice from the loudspeaker that states, “Time marches on.”

Roark is summoned to Wynand’s almost-deserted office building. Wynand, keeping his emotional distance, hands Roark a contract to build the Wynand Building, the tallest skyscraper in New York. Wynand tells him that it will be the last skyscraper built because the world’s attention is now turned to housing projects, which is the last step to building caves. Roark is to build it according to whatever design he wishes. Wynand will not need to sign off on his approval of them. He tells Roark that it will no longer be built, as he had originally intended, as a symbol of Wynand’s life. Now it will be a monument to the spirit that guides Roark, the spirit that could have been Wynand’s.

Eighteen months later, Dominique arrives at the building site of the Wynand Building in Hell’s Kitchen. As she looks at the skeletal structure of the partially completed building, she thinks that the heart of the earth may be made of fire, but at times it breaks through the clay, the iron, and the granite, and shoots out to freedom. She observes the sign naming all the companies involved in different aspects of the project. She sees the sign with Roark’s name on it. Henry Cameron’s voice echoes across the years, signifying the victory that he had foreseen in Roark if he should be able to continue his fight to remain an individual amidst the collective. She walks to the superintendent’s shed and asks for Roark; she introduces herself as Mrs. Roark. As she is lifted up to the top of the building, she watches the city fall beneath her. She looks up to see where there is nothing but the ocean, the sky, and the figure of Howard Roark.

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Part 4, Chapters 16-18 Summary