Character Analysis Guy Francon


Guy Francon is a mediocre architect who attains commercial success by consummate mastery of the social graces. Handsome, well-groomed, impeccably dressed, charming, and debonair, Francon wines and dines prospective clients at New York's most exclusive restaurants. He offers the public impressive Greek columns and showy white marble fronts; his work is all glitter and no substance. He is a phony and a second-hander. His success is based on two factors: He copies from the Classical designers, and he impresses customers with suave urbanity. He imitates and receives undeserved acclaim; this is his career. But despite these serious flaws, Francon possesses good qualities that enable him to attain a level of happiness in the end.

Francon's virtues are that beauty, charm, and fine attire are good things — and though Francon is an egregious imitator, at least he has the good judgment to copy from the geniuses of Classical Greece. He is a conformist but chooses to mimic the best of what society believes. But above all, of all the second-handers, Francon is the least antagonistic to Roark. Though he does not approve of the Stoddard Temple, he refuses to testify at the trial because, says Dominique, "he did not think we were behaving like gentlemen." Critically, Francon not only loves his daughter, he does so for the right reason — for her unconquerable soul. Whenever he thinks he should hate her, his mind reverts involuntarily to an incident of her childhood in which she leaped an obstacle he had thought too high for her. It is engraved in his memory as the greatest illustration of freedom and ecstasy he has ever witnessed — and at some unspoken level of emotion he realizes what this says about Dominique's spirit. Because of this, he realizes that Roark is the right man for her and is happy. Despite the scandalized embarrassment of his friends, Guy Francon sits with Roark's allies at the Cortlandt trial.

Francon's redeeming characteristic is his genuine love for his daughter's best qualities. This means that in spite of the insincere nature of his career, there remains in Francon's soul one last, unbetrayed element, committed to a life of achievement and happiness.