The Fountainhead By Ayn Rand Study Help Full Glossary for The Fountainhead

altruism a moral theory urging an individual to sacrifice his values and happiness in order to serve others. Here, it is the code advocated by Ellsworth Toohey.

benevolent universe premise Ayn Rand's belief that the world is open to the achievement of values and happiness by good men and only by good men. Here, it is embodied in the life and ultimate success of Howard Roark.

collectivism the theory claiming that an individual exists solely to serve society, and that he possesses no right to his own life. Here, the theory is embodied in the character of Ellsworth Toohey.

Communism a type of collectivist dictatorship in which the individual is subordinate to the needs of the poor or the working class, as in the Soviet Union. Here, the theory is advocated by Ellsworth Toohey.

compromise the vice of betraying those things most important to an individual, a violation of integrity. Here, shown in the life of Peter Keating.

conformity an unthinking acceptance of the beliefs of other people. Here, it applies to a number of negative characters, especially Peter Keating.

cornice a molded and projecting horizontal component at the top of a building.

cynicism a theory of human nature, holding that no virtue is possible to man, that all men are corrupt in some form. Here, it is the mistaken view that Wynand accepts from his tough upbringing.

dependence permitting others to dominate one's beliefs, either in the form of following their thinking or rebelling against it. Here, this failure to function independently is, in one form or another, the hallmark of all the villains.

egoism a moral theory urging an individual to attain his values and live a joyous existence. Here, it is lived by Roark in the form of rational egoism, the commitment to earning the things he wants by his own mind and effort.

facade the front of a building.

Fascism a nationalistic type of collectivist dictatorship in which the individual is subordinate to the country or nation, as in Nazi Germany or Italy under Mussolini.

first-hander an individual who relies on his own thinking, who does not place the beliefs of others before the functioning of his own mind. Here, it is most fully represented by Roark.

flying buttress a projecting structure arched over at the top to engage with a main wall. An important feature of Gothic architecture, lending strength to the main structure.

fountainhead the original source of something, such as a river. Here, it means that the independent reasoning mind is the original source of all human progress and prosperity.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) German philosopher who held that certain superior men were beyond the traditional precepts of good and evil, and had the right to seek power over others. Here, it is the mistaken view held by Wynand that leads to his downfall.

frieze a sculptured or richly ornamented band on a building in classical architecture that is horizontal and rests on a column.

Gothic a style of architecture dominant in western Europe from the mid-twelfth century to the early-sixteenth century.

Hell's Kitchen an area on the west side of Manhattan in New York City that in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries was a tough slum neighborhood. Here, it is the area in which Gail Wynand is born and raised.

idealism a commitment to man at his highest and best. Here, applicable to all of the heroes, most importantly Howard Roark and Dominique Francon.

independence reliance on one's own thinking in the search for truth, rather than a blind acceptance of or rebellion against the thinking of others. Here, the character of Howard Roark is its fullest expression.

individualism the theory claiming that an individual has certain "inalienable" rights (such as freedom of speech) that must not be violated by society. Here, the right of an individual to his own life is embodied in the character of Howard Roark.

innovator a person who has new ideas and, consequently, develops new methods and/or products. Here, it is represented by such heroes as Henry Cameron, Howard Roark, and Steven Mallory.

malevolent universe premise the opposite of the benevolent universe premise. The view that the good have no chance in the world and that evil has the ultimate power. Here, it is the mistaken premise held by Dominique Francon.

nonconformity an unthinking rebellion against the beliefs of others. Here, it applies to negative characters, such as Lois Cook and Gus Webb.

pandering the sell-out of higher values to gain popularity and influence, such as by catering to the vulgar tastes of the crowd. Here, it applies to Gail Wynand and his newspaper.

pediment a triangular space forming the gable of a low-pitched roof in Classical architecture.

pessimism the belief that the good have no chance to succeed in the world, that only the evil will flourish. Here, shown as a mistaken view held by Dominique Francon.

pilaster an upright architectural member that is rectangular in shape and, though functionally a pier, serves primarily as a decoration.

second-hander an individual who places the beliefs of others above the functioning of his own mind, whether as a follower or a rebel. Here, it is exemplified by Keating, Toohey, and, in one form or another, all of the novel's negative characters.

self-betrayal to surrender the things most important to the self, generally in order to win approval from the group. Here, it applies to both Keating and Wynand, though in different forms.

selfishness the commitment, in action, to one's self, i.e., one's own values; a persistent quest to achieve — and the refusal to betray — one's values for any reason. Here, it is embodied consistently in the life of Howard Roark.

selflessness the opposite of selfishness. A betrayal of the self by the surrender of one's values. Here, it is embodied in the life of Peter Keating.

The Three Orders the schools of design in classical Greek architecture. These are the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. The Doric was the most basic and least ornate, and was used by the Spartans. The Ionic consisted of higher and slenderer columns. The Corinthian was more ornate, more detail-oriented, and not as widely used as the other two.

totalitarianism a political system in which the government has full or total control over the life of the individual, who has no rights. It is the logical application to politics and economics of the collectivist view that an individual exists solely to serve society. Here, it is the theory of government advocated by Ellsworth Toohey.

volute a spiral, scroll-shaped ornament in Ionic and Corinthian architecture.

Back to Top

Take the Quiz

About whose sculptures does Roark say: “Your figures are not what men are, but what men could be — and should be.”




Quiz