Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Voice of Peter Keating

As always, I turn to my favourite book, The Fountainhead.

All of us have all the characteristics mentioned in The Fountainhead. It's because, all of us are flawed. Yes, even those who consider themselves Roark.

The author says that the characters of Peter Keating and Catherine Toohey are failures because they were weak in the senses to be self-less by sacrificing their interests in the interests of some set goals (Peter) or other people (Catherine). Or those who are forced by a practical set of constraints to follow the beaten path (Wynand).

As for Dominique Francon, the less said the better. Apart from the convoluted romantic angle, she serves the sole destructive purpose of breaking the pure love of Peter and Catherine.

The World is made up of 99.9% Tooheys (the Ellsworth kinds.) Insincerity and incompetance is what drives this world and hence, I am not off the mark with my comment.

Howard Roark, to me, is a convenient myth. For all his detachment towards the world, picture in a dependent family and social constraints and let's see how the author works around that.

There will be Men are made of steel, no doubt. Ones who are committed to their art, task with utmost devotion.

But true detachment would be if one were unmoved by the act of destruction, as much as one is pleasured by the art of creation. And thats where Roark fails. Thats where Ayn Rand's theory of Objectivism fails. It is partial and thereby a failure.

Roark, while of the highest importance amongst the novel's characters is, but an ideal to follow. It is upto each individual to follow that path uptil where one chooses/can.

A Peter Keating might imbibe traits of Roark (assuming he is the chosen Fountainhead, though not necessarily so), a Wynand might aim to be a Keating (in an alternate Universe), no one would want to be Ellsworth Toohey (though most might find it easier to give up breathing.)

But to all, the goal is reached by a long-trodden path. And the path may not even be the same for all. By no means so, the destination even.

That's because The Fountainhead doesn't end on Page 1.

1 comment:

arch said...

comment coming up as soon as i finish the book :)......agree with the Howard being a myth part though :)