The Fountainhead

by Ayn Rand

Start Free Trial

Student Question

What theme in The Fountainhead is related to the provided quote?

He was not the corrupt publisher of a popular empire. He was an aristocrat aboard a yacht. He looked, she thought, like what one believes an aristocrat to be when one is young: a brilliant kind of gaiety without guilt.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Dominique Francon has married Gail Wynand as a form of masochistic punishment; she thinks he is a horrible corrupt man but thinks she deserves to be unhappy with him because she does not deserve Howard Roark. The novel's theme of decadent wealth is illustrated in this quote. Dominque comes from a wealthy family but desires integrity and meaning in her life. When she meets Roark, she knos him to be a man of great talent, determination and personal integrity. She has allowed herself to be manipulated by the world of money and privilege and therefore feels she does not deserve Roark, although they love each other. In looking at her husband Gail, Dominique sees that he does not think of himself as corrupt or greedy; that he sees himself as happy and entitled. This is a commentary on the novel's theme of self-awareness, and how so very few of the characters possess complete self-awareness and self-knowledge. Rand's protagonists tend to be extremely self-aware characters who refuse to play by society's "rules" in order to conform, and refuse to compromise their own standards.

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
Approved by eNotes Editorial