Character Analysis Steven Mallory


Mallory is a brilliant young sculptor who becomes a close friend of Roark's. His work demonstrates an exalted view of the human potential. He sculpts figures of man the hero, capable of achievement. Roark understands that Mallory is the best sculptor there is. "Your figures are not what men are, but what men could be — and should be," Roark tells Mallory. "Because your figures are more devoid of contempt for humanity than any work I've ever seen. Because you have a magnificent respect for the human being. Because your figures are the heroic in man."

But when Roark meets him, Mallory is already cynical and embittered, disillusioned by rejection. Mallory, at this time, is a younger version of Henry Cameron, a brilliant innovator, whose work differs sharply from conventional standards, causing him to be rejected by most of society. Like Cameron, Mallory is loyal to his ideas and will not compromise. But also like Cameron, and unlike Roark, Mallory is affected by rejection. Although independent in thought and action, he is still tied to the beliefs of others at an emotional level; their repudiation hurts him, angers him, and rankles within his soul, leaving him bitter. Mallory is not as independent as Roark, and is on his way to alcoholism and despair. But if, symbolically, Cameron is Roark's father, then Mallory is his younger brother. It is too late for Roark's undiluted independence to have a positive impact in Cameron's life, but not in Mallory's. Roark's character and conduct are an inspiration to Mallory, helping him realize that a man's values and ideals are the most important elements in life, not the beliefs of others.