The Fountainhead

by Ayn Rand

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Student Question

What point does Ayn Rand make about the boy inspired at Roark's resort in The Fountainhead?

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A college student is riding his bicycle in the countryside and comes upon the resort designed by Howard Roark (later called Monadnock Valley). The boy was having worried thoughts about his future, but his anxiety falls away when he sees what he thinks is a beautiful town unlike anything he has ever seen. He is moved by its beauty. He then speaks to Roark who tells him this is a resort that is about to open. The boy then leaves, and Roark looks after him. As the passage reads: "He had never seen that boy before and he would never see him again. He did not know that he had given someone the courage to face a lifetime."

The point being made here, and one which is a common theme throughout Rand's novels, is that great human achievement that is uncompromising and true to a singular person's vision is one of the hallmarks of a successful and fulfilling life. Roark's integrity is paramount, and his buildings represent his talent and hard work true to his integral vision. Rand also describes the average person as someone who does not possess this vision or integrity; and so the young man is inspired and filled with "the courage to face a lifetime" because he is given a glimpse of what is possible when someone is true to their highest ideals. 

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