The Fountainhead: Novel Summary: Part IV Chapters 16-20

Part IV Chapters 16-20Summary
Chapter 16
Despite Wynands heroic efforts, the circulation of the Banner drops daily with thousands of papers returned unread and advertisers jumping ship. The investors call a meeting and demand that Wynand either close down the newspaper or issue a retraction regarding the Roark case and rehire the editors and Toohey. He gives in to their demands but insists Toohey remained fired. He walks the early morning streets of New York to Hells Kitchen waiting and dreading the issue of the Banner that will make the announcement: “I never got out,?he tells himself (662). He remembers the time he almost pulled the trigger and killed himself. The new issue prints an apology from Wynand for defending Roark.
Chapter 17
Circulation figures for the Banner immediately jump up when people see Wynands renunciation headline. Roark writes to Wynand telling him he understands but Wynand returns the letter unopened. Soon after, Dominique for once accepts happiness and drives to Monadnock Valley where Roark is staying for the summer. She realizes that all is lost with Wynand and when Roark questions her about what he could have done differently, she says “he could have closed the paper?(666). Roark realizes she is right and says “I love you.?
She awakes happy the next morning with Roark next to her. Then she puts on Roarks pajamas and calls the police to tell them of a stolen star-sapphire ring given her once by Roark. The police arrive to take her statement accompanied by two reporters who see the pajamas and the lone bed. She is no longer afraid of the world, she tells Roark. The scandal will unite them. That afternoon, the newspapers begin their campaign to smear Dominique. Wynands editor, who once was friendly toward Dominique, leads the charge and talks Wynand into divorcing her, makes her the scapegoat and expands the scandal to increase circulation. At home, Dominique tells Wynand of her past relationship with Roark and admits she has always loved him.
Chapter 18
Once more, Roark defends himself at his own trial. Keating is the first witness and answers questions without emotion, admitting that Roark in fact did design the Cortlandt project. In a long monologue, Roark looks back in time to the creators who came before, describing how they suffered hatred for their principles. They create, not to help their fellow man, he states, but because they know they can. “Second-handers,?in the guise of altruism, he says, are like parasites who feed off the very souls of such creators. He uses the example of the United States whose primary creed involves “the pursuit of happiness,?to illustrate his thesis. He insists he destroyed Cortlandt Homes because he could not see his work corrupted by second-handers. To everyones surprise, the jury returns a verdict of “not guilty?in a matter of moments. Roark seeks out Wynand, but he looks away and is first to leave the court.
Chapter 19
The owner of Roarks Enright home buys Cortlandt, and Roark rebuilds the project with the idea of reasonable profit in mind. Wynand is forced by the court to rehire Toohey who shows up gleefully at the Banner late one evening at Wynands request to begin work. However, after ten minutes, the building becomes quiet as the presses stop. Wynand then tells Toohey that he no longer has a job because the Banner has been closed. Toohey, however, begins working for another publication and continues his wily ways. Soon after, Roark is called to Wynands office where he is given the commission to construct the Wynand Building, which will be the highest skyscraper in the City, according to his own vision and spirit.
Chapter 20
Dominique visits the Wynand Building construction site. She looks at the sign stating “Howard Roark, architect,?before an outside elevator takes to the top of the building where between the steel girders she views the ocean as a backdrop to her husband, Howard Roark.
Once more, Wynand is tested and finds a form of final redemption by not for once selling another piece of his soul. Always in the past, he has given up his beliefs for, as he puts it, silk pajamas, yachts, penthouses, and such. Now, however, he confronts the devil Toohey, who comes snickering back to the Banner, and becomes a man of integrity. He will close his much beloved newspaper rather then let Toohey take power. In the past, Roark has encountered the same situation but closed his office rather then give up his principles even if it meant becoming a laborer. Had Wynand chosen this difficult road earlier, he might have retained Dominique for his wife. It should be remembered that earlier Dominique told Roark she was able to leave Wynand because he had chosen the Banner over Roark.
For Dominique, opening herself to scandal simulates Roarks blowing up Cortlandt. Roark says to her “that was a more thorough dynamiting job, than blowing up Cortlandt?(669). However, while Wynand does finally do the right thing, it is in a sense too late. Unlike the weakling Keating, Wynand has known all along that he is better-“I was not born to be a second-hander,?as he puts it, and yet pride and especially power ultimately won out. And readers are left wondering if it was still price that forced him ultimately to beat out Toohey.
Finally, the novel comes full circle with Roark once again portrayed against a background of water. In the first chapter he is presented away from the world, diving from a great granite height into a small lake, while in the final chapter he is portrayed as a triumphant god on top of the world on another great granite height against the ocean.
Rand, however, is ultimately a realist. Through hard work against all odds, Roark the individual has survived and attained the highest heights, but Toohey continues his scheme to rise and dominate the world through his philosophy of selflessness and altruism.