What motivates a creative thinker? Is it a selfless desire to benefit mankind? A hunger for fame, fortune and accolades? The need to prove superiority? . . . Or is it a self-sufficient drive to pursue a creative vision, independent of others’ needs or opinions? Ayn Rand’s answer can be found in her portrayal of Howard Roark, an innovative architect who, as she puts it, “struggles for the integrity of his creative work against every form of social opposition.” The Fountainhead is Rand’s tribute to the independent American spirit of individualism.
This video lecture course is an introduction to this classic novel that includes background material on Rand and the era in which she wrote, an overview of the story, an analysis of the principal characters and detailed discussion of the main themes. Among the questions answered in this course:
- By what principles does the hero of the story, Howard Roark, live?
- Is Peter Keating selfish — or selfless?
- What is Ellsworth Toohey really after in his relationships with the other characters?
- Why does Dominique Francon oppose Roark’s career even though she loves him?
- Why is Gail Wynand’s pursuit of power doomed to fail?
High school students studying the novel will find this course especially valuable, but the material is designed to interest viewers on all levels. You may take the whole course in sequence or choose lessons of particular interest, since each lesson is a self-contained module. Teachers who wish to use the course for classroom instruction are encouraged to select lessons most relevant to their instructional goals.
Spoiler alert: This course assumes that students have read The Fountainhead.