Character Analysis Roger Enright


Enright is a tough, hard-bitten entrepreneur who began his career as a coal miner in Pennsylvania and who earned his fortune through years of prodigious effort. But Enright is more than a self-made multimillionaire. His method of conducting business is strikingly innovative. He branches out into many fields, ranging from the oil business to publishing, from restaurants to the manufacture of refrigerators. Before entering a field, Enright studies it assiduously, gaining a wealth of information. Then he proceeds to overturn every element of accepted wisdom in the industry, acting as though he had never heard of what had previously been done. Some of his innovative ventures fail, though many succeed, and he continues to run them all "with ferocious energy," working twelve hours a day.

Enright's independence extends to other aspects of his life, as well. He refuses to buy or sell stock. He owns his fortune single-handed, "as simply as if he carried all his cash in his pocket." When he decides to construct a building, Enright searches for the proper architect for six months, then hires Roark at the end of a 30-minute interview. Enright tells Roark not to bother explaining the building to him, because he has no abstract ideals or principles, and no capacity to learn any. He says that he simply goes by what he likes, "But I do know what I like." Enright — like Lansing — not only knows what he wants, but is willing to break all established conventions to accomplish it. It is a surprise neither that Enright attends Roark's trial for the Cortlandt dynamiting, sitting with Roark's other friends, nor that he buys from the government the site, the plans, and the ruins of Cortlandt, then hires Roark to build it in exact accordance with Roark's original design. Enright is the fictional epitome of an independent entrepreneur who rises from the bottom by means of his own talent and work ethic. As such, it is natural that he would admire, hire, and befriend Roark.