YMMV / The Fountainhead

  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • There is a considerable amount of debate on whether Dominique was actually raped by Roark, or whether she was acting out a fantasy, with his compliance, and was the one truly in control at the time. In BDSM circles, this is commonly referred to as "topping from below"; where the "submissive" is actually in control, "writing the script" as it were, and the "dominant" is simply following along, playing a role created and maintained by the sub. In fact, consensual "rape fantasies" are more often initiated by the person playing the "victim" role, than the the one playing the "rapist". This interpretation would seem to be borne out by the very similar, but more obvious, example set by Dagny Taggart's more clearly dominant role in Atlas Shrugged.
    • In the wake of events such as the Oklahoma City bombing and 9/11, Roark could convincingly be branded a domestic terrorist (even back then, blowing up a building was very much treated harshly. Terrorists had already done so by that point).
    • Whether or not Roark was a sociopath is fuel for countless flamewars. Much like Ayn Rand herself, in fact.
    • Toohey on the other hand is definitely a sociopath.
    • Peter Keating can be variously seen as a Classic Anti Hero, a deconstruction of the Classic Anti Hero or a Type II Anti-Villain, especially at the end.
  • Anvilicious: Whilst this book is nowhere near as anvilicious as Atlas Shrugged, the book is not subtle about its message, except possibly for a reader that has almost no familiarity with the ideas and debates Rand is dealing with. Remember that Tropes Are Not Bad, however, and it is quite arguable that at the time The Fountainhead was published, it was dropping anvils that needed to be dropped.
  • Broken Aesop: Roark's courtroom speech, littered as it is with lines such as "A man thinks and works alone" and affirmations that collective action is worthless and exploitative, is particularly rich coming from an architect.
    Roark: An architect uses steel, glass, concrete, produced by others. But the materials remain just so much steel, glass and concrete until he touches them. What he does with them is his individual product and his individual property. This is the only pattern for proper co-operation among men.
    • The architect doesn't touch them. The builders do.
      • Shame, too - the same point could be delivered by saying something like, "Paper and ink are produced by others but an architect's artwork is his or her own."
    • It's also amusing that a book which dismisses a number of people, including a social worker, as "leeches" and "parasites" features a hero who, in the opening chapter, cheerfully admits that he intends to use his clients solely as tools to let him construct buildings - which is at least as parasitic as half the examples, sometimes more so.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Toohey might be considered this, or maybe just a dick.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Toohey's little monologue about his true aspirations. I dare you to read that and not feel a chill.
    • There is a very good reading of it here. One of the best Hannibal Lectures you'll ever hear.
  • Values Dissonance: Let's just say that the chapter dealing with the mentally handicapped children moving into the rebuilt Temple of the Human Spirit can be very uncomfortable to read for modern audiences.
  • The Woobie:
    • Ironically, Peter Keating becomes one later in the book, the poor bastard... In fact, his turn-wife Dominique picks up on this fact and pretty much does give him that hug he so badly needs... but he needs it even more as the book progresses even further.
    • Poor, poor Catherine...