Power In The Fountainhead

Better Essays
Ellsworth Toohey and Gail Wynand, despite being somewhat rivals throughout points of the novel, The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, share fairly similar mindsets in the regard that they are both actively working in the collectivist outlook to life. Having both come from childhoods which greatly influenced their mindsets, Ellsworth’s being manipulation and mediocrity and Gail’s being conformity to the point of slander, their actions are alike in that they both fight to gain power over others at all costs. Ellsworth seeks power to gain a feeling of superiority in an attempt to disguise his own lack of talent, while Gail simply does not what to relinquish the power he fashioned for himself as a child growing up on the rough streets of New York. Both…show more content…
In his youth, Wynand was subject to the hardships that come with being a neglected child in a dangerous neighborhood. His mother, having died when he was very young, was not around to care for him, and his father tended to keep to himself, effectively forcing Wynand to acquire his own independence. Soon after joining a neighborhood gang, he was put up to a certain test of strength which only solidified his abilities to fend for his own well-being. This is what put him in his first real position of power, as right after this event occurred he was made to be leader of the gang. As time went on, Wynand worked several jobs which primarily ended with him being fired for some type of disobedience or challenge of authority, such as with one of his first jobs working as a paper boy, “‘I know it will work,’ says Wynand. ‘Well, you don’t run things around here,’ says the boss. ‘You’re a fool,’ said Wynand. He lost the job.” (402). He sees no reason to listen to other’s methods of doing things when he knows perfectly well that he is the most capable of composing efficient ideas for himself and those around him. From this moment on, Wynand does his best to maintain control over each aspect of his life, and does not concede easily when dealing with outside authority…show more content…
This matter is on an entirely different plane than the motivations and goals of Howard Roark. Where Ellsworth and Wynand have the thought of control being gained in the forefront of their minds throughout each step they take, Roark only wishes to do that which he enjoys and provides him with self-gratification. This is what separates the men across such a distant expanse. No matter the challenge he is faced with or the test to his morals, Roark does not give in to the siren-call of social stature and conformity. While Ellsworth works to be seen in a certain light to others, idealizing that, “We can never really know another person, except by our first glance at him. Because, in that glance, we know everything.” (264), and Wynand works to assure himself of his own power such as when he compromises his creation (The Banner) in order to gain faked success, Roark never once allows himself to deviate from his principles despite the damage this might bring to his public image. He works entirely towards his own personal gratification and disregards the opinions of anyone attempting to hinder him in his road to success within his self-proclaimed field. Even when presented with the task of creating a project that he would not be directly credited for, Roark attempts it for himself, saying, “I’ll expect to gain as much
Get Access