Ayn rand’s objectivism reflected in her two fictional works

  • Số trang: 80 |
  • Loại file: PDF |
  • Lượt xem: 13 |
  • Lượt tải: 0

Đã đăng 15929 tài liệu

Mô tả:

CAN THO UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES ENGLISH DEPARTMENT AYN RAND’S OBJECTIVISM REFLECTED IN HER TWO FICTIONAL WORKS B.A. Thesis Supervisor: Hồ Phương Thùy, M.A. Researcher: Nguyễn Tuấn Kiệt Code: 7106991 Class: NN1054A3 Course: 36 Can Tho, May 2014 DECLARATION I hereby declare that I have worked on this thesis independently; all the cited words as well as reference sources are listed in the Works Cited. Supervisor Researcher Ho Phuong Thuy Nguyen Tuan Kiet i ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to express my gratitude firstly to my friend Vo Thanh Lien for being a great help from the very beginning of this thesis; without her counsels, as well as reading materials I would never be able to conceptualize the process of making a proper thesis. I also dedicate my gratefulness to another friend of mine, Tran Thi Nhi, who spent time sharing ideas and experience with me during previous months. Finally, I want to thank, above all, my supervisor, Mrs. Ho Phuong Thuy, for giving me countless advice and suggestions as well as handling all my spontaneousness with patience and kindness. Thanks to her devotion this thesis paper is fulfilled. ii ABSTRACT This thesis, “Ayn Ran’s Objectivism Reflected in Her Two Fictional Works” aims at analyzing the basic doctrines of Ayn Rand’s philosophy-Objectivism in its early development. Although Objectivism has been studying as a proper philosophy for decades, its original theory had already been promptly presented in Ayn Rand’s fictional works, especially the famous “The Fountainhead” (1943) and the final “Atlas Shrugged” (1957). Regarded as the best illustrations for Objectivism, studies of the philosophy based on these two novels would hopefully work out Ayn Rand’s original ideas of Objectivism as well as the use of Objectivism in her fictional works. As Objectivism is built up with four key elements and two subordinations, this study also investigates the philosophy under the same structure. Via the protagonists of the two novels, the three first and foremost elements, metaphysics, epistemology and ethics, accompanied by the minor human nature will delineate the portrait of a typical Objectivist. On the other hand, politics, reflected through the motives used in the fictions, will enclose Objectivism with its importance to the world. Finally, esthetics will support Ayn Rand’s theory of a “rational mind” through the typical symbols in both “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged”. iii TABLE OF CONTENTS Part One: INTRODUCTION ....................................................................................... 1 Part Two: OBJECTIVSM AS ILLUSTRATED IN THE FOUNTAINHEAD AND ATLAS SHRUGGED ..................................................................................... . 8 Chapter 1: Metaphysics, Epistemology and Ethics through the protagonists of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged .................................. 13 Chapter 2: Politics through motives used in The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged ..................................................................................... 38 Chapter 3: Esthetics through symbols found in The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged ..................................................................................... 52 Part Three: CONCLUSION ....................................................................................... 65 Works Cited ................................................................................................................ 69 iv PART ONE INTRODUCTION This literature study orbits around three most fundamental subjects in Ayn Rand’s writing career, namely The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged and Objectivism in order to examine how the author’s philosophy was concreted in her fictional works. Perhaps to many readers in Vietnam, Ayn Rand and the phenomenal novel The Fountainhead, which had been published under the translated title Suối Nguồn, are fascinatingly familiar; however, hardly had readers been aware about the existence of the sequel novel Atlas Shrugged and the philosophy Objectivism, which are closely related to the former one. As a matter of fact, I feel an urge to carry out this study in order to analyze how Objectivism was adapted to the novels, clarify Ayn Rand’s ideas in the two stories and suggest further studying about the world famous author and her fictions, as well. With the glorious success of her fiction The Fountainhead (published in 1943), Ayn Rand, alongside working on other novels, pushed herself on writing another story, a successor to The Fountainhead, to which she once called its predecessor “only an overture”, titled Atlas Shrugged (1957), whose publication struck massive attention among readers and later brought its author such a worldwide reputation that she once claimed in her journal that it was her “magnum opus”, a great work or masterpiece. The book gained an enduring controversial recognition, not for its plot or length or for it was the last fiction work of Ayn Rand but for the philosophy system that she developed (and later) named Objectivism. The tenet earlier was conceivably demonstrated in The Fountainhead, yet it was not until Atlas Shrugged that ideology was fully illustrated. Theoretically, Randian Objectivism reckons that reality exists objectively to the human mind and can only be discovered by direct contact with human knowledge 1 through one’s perception, which means that man must discover reality through his own mind (not from the others’) and pursues his own way of living. An Objectivist makes his mind objective form trendy public opinions and accesses to the world by his own logic and comprehension. He chooses to live objectively from others’ lives and in return, does not ask one to live his. To the afterword of “Atlas Shrugged” (1957) Ayn Rand first time concreted the philosophy which she claimed to be, in essence, “the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.” (1170-71). The concept originated back to Ayn Rand’s early school years’ experience on philosophy of Aristotle, Kant and Nietzsche justifying “Objectivity”. In fact, theories of so-called “Objectivity” dated back to the very early days of man’s history, which was proven by William Lawhead in his book The Philosophical Journey. Lawhead indicated that Platonism and Aristotelianism advocate that reality exist not within but parallel with man’s knowledge; that truths come to those who live wholeheartedly to one’s own nature. Likewise, Kant believed that there is only one way to attain knowledge, to which Nietzsche, reckoning that there is no fact, only interpretations [of fact], contradicted that knowledge is perceived subjectively through one’s perspective. Nietzsche’s philosophy refuses Aristotle’s “A is A” theory and supposed that everything is nothing without perspective. However, Nietzsche’s idea of “Übermensch” or “Superman” is somehow the same with that of Ayn Rand’s, to which the statue of so-called “Overhuman” depicts an ideal man who lives by virtue of his existence on earth beyond good and evil, an “egoist” like Ayn Rand described. In other words, Randian Objectivism is delicately blended conjugation of selective premises whose combination depicts so much a larger prospect that the founder herself asserted it as “a philosophy for living on earth.” It goes without saying that Objectivism of Ayn Rand did not come out to public originally. To David King’s theory, before Ayn Rand, Albert Einstein, implying that man’s knowledge is absolutely limited just by orbiting around assumptions, 2 experience and what have already been discovered, once declared that "Out yonder there is this huge world, which exists independently of us human beings and which stands before us like a great, eternal riddle, at least partially accessible to our inspection and thinking." (par. 7) However, such belief existed restrictively only in fields of science like Physic, Chemistry and Cosmology, and it was not until Rand’s attempt that the doctrine was demonstrated in term of philosophy. Since then, Objectivism was preached widely in many other aspects such as psychology, ethics and politics. To Nathaniel Barden’s theory, Objectivism implies that “reality is what it is, that things are what they are, independent of anyone's beliefs, feelings, judgments or opinions - that existence exists, that A is A” (par. 14). According to this point, the only way to access to nature or reality is through its own characters, not by that assumed by anyone’s. The interaction between man and nature can be diverse, yet only interaction that operates objectively will last; as precisely as a mathematical calculation or a chemical reaction. Likewise, David King simplified Objectivism’s fundament by indicating its differences to that of Subjectivism. He asserted that while Subjectivism claims that existence is created by consciousness, Objectivism believes that there is indeed a real world that has its own existence, independent of any perceiving consciousness. A Subjectivist would take the world as an element of his whole life and an Objectivist would discover his life through his existence on earth. In other words, Objectivism believes that there is only one reality and Subjectivism asserts the opposite that reality is the product of one’s mind working, that things themselves possess no character until people define it. It can be inferred that Objectivism is a fundamental element of self-discovery, which changes one’s perception about reality, from human-centered to naturecentered. Ethically, Objectivism encourages one to discover his meaning of living on earth by himself, supposing that only his direct contact with the world would make him realize his goal in life and, as a result, pursuits it. Such a man is the ideal “heroic being” that Ayn Rand wanted to refer to. Although apparently, there is 3 nothing heroic about life discovering, Randian Objectivism claims that living truly to one’s own heart, pursuing one’s own happiness is the moral purpose of one’s life, without which there would not be the term “living”. The reception on Objectivism is controversial. Nevertheless, it goes without saying that Rand’s phenomenal philosophy has long been talked about and studied until today as a part of world’s philosophic system. Studies of this Objectivism still have been carrying out until today by Rand’s students and by Ayn Rand Institute (ARI). Such reputation makes the study of its very first original virtues, the one that was illustrated in The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, was highly regarded; especially when only in these works was Objectivism found being presented in form of fiction. As a reader of Ayn Rand, I found it important to learn how Objectivism has been illustrated in her novels since it is the mere way to understand the duo correctly, in accordance with the author’s original ideas. In addition, readers who are fond of Ayn Rand’s fictions, by analyzing Objectivism, may be able to see all the pros and cons initiated from the novels in order that controversies about her fictions would be objectively worked out As a matter of fact, instead of studying Objectivism solely as a realistic philosophy, which is unearthly incomprehensible, I reckon that it would really make sense using it to literally analyze the ideas found in the mentioned novels since doing so means not only discovering the relationship between Objectivism and Ayn Rand’s fictions but also finding a reasonable assessment to such philosophy. I have chosen The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged for this study because they are perfect illustrations for Randian Objectivism. According to the author, it was not Objectivism that the theme of The Fountainhead bore. In fact, Barden agreed that hardly did readers who had known about Objectivism recognize it in the story. It is a story of Howard Roark, an ungraduated yet talented architect, a man of Idealism whose life and career were cruelly turned down by the society for his “alien” designs regardless of their brilliant and rational structures and also for his 4 unacceptably abnormal manners, which are headstrong, unnegotiable and simply indifferent, who fought his own way of doing things he loved and lived by his standards no matter how badly people criticized him for not doing these the same way as they were doing. Ayn Rand, on gathering ideas for writing Atlas Shrugged, stated in her journal that The Fountainhead was about “individualism and collectivism within man’s soul” and “it showed the nature and function of the creator and the second-hander” (x). However, it was by the battle between Collectivists and Individualists in the story and by “fountainhead-ed” Howard Roark’s unique rule in designing: ‘originality’ that the foundation of Atlas Shrugged and Objectivism was developed. In other word, The Fountainhead was, in one way or another, a premise to Objectivism. No sooner had Atlas Shrugged come to publication than Objectivism was officially presented. Atlas Shrugged was Rand’s final and most famous novel. The writing process, to Peikoff’s theory, dated since the publication of The Fountainhead “in form of essays and journals” (ix). Developed from its predecessor, The Strike (early name of Atlas Shrugged) posed a question about the role of people like Howard Roark in the society, also known as the “prime movers”, in the society or, in other word, how the world desperately needed them. Peikoff, speaking of Objectivism, stated that man must learn by himself, not by force, physically or mentally. Comparing to the plot of Atlas Shrugged, Dagny Taggart, the protagonist, was supposed to work within and by her own consciousness, not that of her lover John Galt or any others, even though she had been warned about the future of her company. She was informed what would happen, she sensed and knew it would happen but she had to understand what was wrong with it before giving up everything. This is the basis of Objectivism. Although it does not proactively encourage one to cling on the collapsing world stubbornly like Dagny did. Through the utopia society illustrated in Atlas Shrugged, the tenet Objectivism was first presented in its truest form and later motivated further studies on it that lasted until today. The theme of the novel was 5 designed in a larger scale in comparison with The Fountainhead, with more mysterious and impossible factors which made its outstanding recognition. Although according to ARI’s resource, Atlas Shrugged, unlike The Fountainhead, basically received negative reviews for the society presented in the story was utopian, it goes without saying that without Atlas Shrugged Objectivism would never be publicly established and those who adored The Fountainhead may never fully understand what the writer really implied in it. Should there be anything to compare to Objectivism in this situation, it would be a floating ice-berg, to which the smaller above water surface section represents The Fountainhead and the bigger one below represents Atlas Shrugged. As a result, one may not call himself understand The Fountainhead without reading Atlas Shrugged even though they were written independently from each other. In her own words, Ayn Rand stated that “To all the readers who discover The Fountainhead and asked me many questions about the wider application of its ideas, I want to say that I am answering these questions in the present novel, and that The Fountainhead was only an overture to Atlas Shrugged.” (1171) However, without reading The Fountainhead, one may likely to find Atlas Shrugged unfamiliarly ridiculous and over-imaginary. Probably, Ayn Rand wrote Atlas Shrugged because of reasons; she wanted to show in the story, firstly, as mentioned above, the importance of people like Howard Roark to the society, which was not included in The Fountainhead; secondly, the relationship between the prime mover and the characters around him by virtue of leadership and finally the prospect when the prime mover went on strike. It can be inferred that John Galt in Atlas Shrugged was Howard Roark that struggled against society’s bullying. Both were the victims of collectivization, yet unlike Roark who kept his mind inviolable from second-handers no matter how cruelly he was treated, John Galt denounced them and wanted the world to see the loathsome truth about living as a second-hander. As a result, reading Atlas Shrugged in the first place, readers would 6 not understand the motivation of John Galt going on strike, as well as the importance of the striking plan, which makes reading process of this thousand-page novel meaningless. Therefore, the assessment through Objectivism and The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged must be linked together; this triangular should never be broken whenever studies about Ayn Rand’s philosophy were carried out. By analyzing how Objectivism was illustrated in The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, one would be able to assess to higher threshold of Objectivism and further study about Ayn Rand’s novels. 7 PART TWO OBJECTIVISM AS ILLUSTRATED IN THE FOUNTAINHEAD AND ATLAS SHRUGGED To Ayn Rand’s description, there are four pillars that hold up Objectivism. The first one is metaphysics, also known as objective reality; the second one, epistemology, deals with the procedure of reasoning of man’s mind; the third one, ethics, is the system of the values determining choices and behaviors of human; and the last one, politics, emphasizes the role of government or authority due to the essence of ethics. There are also two other subordinate principles called human nature and esthetics coming up with, respectively, matters of one’s mind’s rationality and art. Metaphysics simply refers to nature or reality or, generally, things that are unquestionably given. By “reality”, Objectivism indicates things that exist independently to man’s consciousness and are not being touched or judged or interfered by the will of human being; in other words, “A is A”. For example, the moon, a mountain or any race of animal exist as naturally as human being, without which things are still themselves as ever. Ayn Rand’s concept of “reality” obviously contradicts to that of Nietzsche’s, whom claimed that reality (or fact) does not exist but human’s epistemology does. To his theory, a book can only be a book to human, not to a cat or a tree; even amongst human kind, a book could also be regarded differently due to one’s mind perception. Meanwhile to Randian doctrine, “existence exists” no matter how people consider it to be. If things happen to exist due to man’s will (man-made things), they must unavoidably be observed and understood (as themselves) before being laid hand by human. For instance, human must have learnt that rocks are hard (quality) before turning them into spears (purpose). To this point, Objectivism confirms that things mean to be understood, not to be judged. Moreover, Objectivism, like Atheism, 8 also refuses to believe such things called supernatural or mystic, which are claimed to be undoubtedly assigned with man’s will. As a result, in order to access Objectivism, one must firstly regard things as they are, which, according to objectivists, it is the very first “principle to survive on earth” (Ozpek 18) Epistemology, to Ozpek’s description, is a “methodology of attaining knowledge” transforming from the given metaphysics (18). In Ayn Rand’s words, it is interpreted as the matter of “reasoning” (Rand 709). According to her theory, the reason “is the ability taking, defining and integrating the materials which are perceived by the human senses. By that, the reason improves its knowledge level from perceptional level that animals also have to conceptual level that peculiar to him by integrating the perceived material to abstracts and concepts” (Rand 102). It can be translated that knowledge can only be attained thanks to the process of man’s mind deriving facts from metaphysics; also known as epistemology. Metaphorically, epistemology is a “connector” between reality and knowledge, without which one is unable to take the meaning of the world he is living in into actual righteous concepts, or “knowledge”. For instance, to conclude that coral are a type of animal, human had to observe, analyze and subscribe their living structures, organs and habit, then compared them to that of both animal and plant to draw the final conclusion that corals’ living organization is the same with that of animal despite their plant-like appearances. It can be inferred from this case that to learn the truth, you have to make discoveries, not assumptions and never let appearance fools you; that is how epistemology works. Human nature is not one of the prominent factors, yet its coming after the second factor is somehow necessary in the whole progress of Objectivism since it reflects the next stage of epistemology before reasoning ethics. Human nature reckons that man is a rational being; and that “reason, as man’s only means of knowledge is his basic means of survival” (Rand 710). Since human is supposed to be rational, there must be unavoidably a certain aim or goal or at least, an answer to every action someone takes. Generally, this element comes up with the necessity of 9 epistemology, reasoning that man, sooner or later, will inevitably find himself wondering the reasonability of every action he takes. Ethics literally means the set of values leading choices and behaviors. Likewise, Ayn Rand defined ethics as “a system by what human kind can decide what is right and what is wrong; what is good and what is bad” (100). However, to her standard of so-called ethics, Ayn Rand reasoned that “man- every man- is an end in himself, not to the ends of other’s; he must live for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself; he must work for his rational selfinterest, with the achievement of his own happiness as the highest moral purpose of his life” (710-11). Apparently, her doctrine on ethics is believed to be extremely pragmatic, selfish and against human will. Ayn Rand, in her entry The Objectivist Ethics clarified that to every man living in the world, before he was given a moral code, there must be a proper survival code came before that. If common morality denounces living for one’s sake as being selfish, the morality within one’s self thinks the opposite since it is human nature to live for one’s own life. Moreover, living individually is also grounded with the condition of not sacrificing one’s self to others, in both ways. Had one decided to sacrifice his life to somebody, it would have been his own choice and will to do so, nobody had the right to demand or encourage such thing. As a result, Objectivism’s ethics is the ethics within one’s soul or that of egoism. Figuratively, it is a stage in which the compromising between epistemology and civilization takes place. The final factor, politics, specifies the laissez-faire capitalism, the situation in which the intervention of government to the economic transactions is eliminated as much as it could be. By “laissez-faire capitalism”, Ayn Rand emphasized the noninterference and privacy respect of authority to other people; that individual rights should be protected and encouraged, not to be turned down. This doctrine was specifically illustrated throughout the novel Atlas Shrugged, according to which, it can be inferred that such policies like nationalization or wealth redistribution means infringement and deprivation on individual rights. To Ayn Rand’s point, capitalism is “a system based on the recognition of individual rights, 10 including property rights, in which the only function of the government is to protect individual rights, i.e., to protect men from those who initiate the use of physical force” (711) She was also strictly against the “force”, both physically and mentally. She reasoned that “a rational brain does not work under the pressure, cannot moderate his conception of reality to the order of anyone else” (Ozpek 20) and that “men must deal with one another as traders, giving value for value, by free, mutual consent to mutual benefit” (Rand 711) since it is the only way they can gain best benefit from each other. Hence, politics is all about freedom. Objectivism claims that man can only do his best under no restriction and once his mind’s desire becomes unrestricted, he is capable of absorbing the metaphysics and thus, turns it into common knowledge. The second subordinate factor, esthetics, literally refers to the value of beauty. In Ayn rand’s fictions, esthetics is reflected through the concept of art, which, according to her standard, is the “creation of reality in accordance with the artist’s metaphysical value judgments” (Rand 711). Leonard Peikoff stated that Ayn Rand’s Objectivism can be summarized on three axioms namely existence, consciousness and identity, in which man’s mind, interacting with nature, works out a system of reality, as well as the meaning of his existence on earth and a self-discovery to which he see himself as the one and only individual, not a clone or a reflection of the world. Based on the brief summary of Objectivism above, I divided this study into three chapters. Chapter one came up with the most basic ideas of Objectivism and the protagonists. Ayn Rand wrote that Howard Roark was the theme of The Fountainhead, as much as The Fountainhead was all about Howard Roark. Truly, almost every elements of Objectivism were reflected through this character. By analyzing the hero of The Fountainhead, half of Ayn Rand’s philosophy would be worked out. However, important as Howard Roark was, he did not finish the ideas which Ayn Rand opened on him. That is the reason why John Galt of Atlas Shrugged was created. If Howard Roark’s was the image of a man who lived for 11 himself, John Galt’s was that man who was put in the relationship with other people. Besides, a comparison between Dominique Francon and Dagny Taggart was also included in this chapter so that the ethics of an Objectivist would be made livelier with the matter of love and selfish. Chapter two concentrated on the fifth element (also known as the forth main element): politics via the common motives used in the two novels. Through “The goods, the bads and the idiots” and “The evil mighty government”, the ideal form of politics according to Ayn Rand’s theory would be clarified. Finally, chapter three discussed about symbols of esthetics, also known as the perspective of Objectivists via their concept of beauty and art. The symbols, besides being in charge of revealing the internal world of the Objectivists, would be put under the perception of other characters in order to enhance the contrast between the mind of an Objectivist and a non-Objectivist. With four symbols found in two novels, the power of creativeness would also be emphasized. 12 Chapter 1: Metaphysics, epistemology and ethics through the protagonists of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged To every novel, characters, especially main characters, are those who speak out the authors’ mind and represent their points of view the most. Thinking the same way, Forster stated in his book Aspects of Novel that characters are word-masses whom the novelist gives names, genders, gestures and are made to speak his/her words. Hence, Ayn Rand and her novels are not exception to this hypothesis. In fact, characters in Ayn Rand novels are the best illustration for her theory/philosophy. According to Leonard Peikoff, Ayn Rand took care of the characters the second most carefully only after the theme of her fiction works. To every important character, Ayn Rand used to write a detailed description on him/her, including physical appearance and even his/her particular interests. As a matter of fact, it can be seen that in Ayn Rand novels, characters plays an utmost important role in conveying her ideas to readers, especially when her novels are about philosophy. There are not many characters in The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, those who are capable of expressing her ideas is even fewer. Her characters could be categorized into three groups, the Objectivists, the anti-Objectivists and the almostObjectivists. The first group includes the heroes and heroines, which will be discussed below. The other groups consist of Ellsworth Toohey, Gail Wynand, Dr. Robert Staddler and most people from John Galt’s gang. Ellsworth Toohey played an important role in The Fountainhead; he knew all about Objectivism but decided to prevent it from spreading to other people so that he could easily control them since the desire to live for one’s sake had been extinguished. However, when put on scale of Objectivism, this man did not reflect clearly any of Ayn Rand’s ideas and clearly, it was not he the author wanted to emphasize the role of Objectivism. Likewise, the almost-Objectivists, including Gail Wynand and Dr. Robert Stadler, could be regarded as the simplified versions of John Galt. They could reason for their individual rights but could not go any further than that; as a result, they need 13 someone to guide them to the right way. They were new-born Objectivists and they needed time to write their own stories as well as philosophy. Meanwhile, back to The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, Objectivism was reflected in the protagonists, including the four characters of two stories. With Ayn Rand’s theory of Objectivism, I could see each element reflected in each character as clear as A is A. Howard Roark- the new Adam Amongst every ultimate element that concretes Objectivism, Howard Roark himself is the one that started it all. From the very beginning chapters of The Fountainhead Roark was presented as a born Objectivist, the most typical portrait to suit neatly Ayn Rand’s drafting of the “superhero”. He caught a great deal of attention for being an Objectivist, a perfect demonstration of what an Objectivist should be; yet it was “the man of his truest self”, or it was his nature that Howard Roark was most remembered for. Not only did he, standing out from other characters of the story, make his own existence worthwhile but also declare man’s right to live purely by one’s own nature regardless of the pressures from society. Straightforwardly, as Mary Boulanger wrote, Howard Roark is a whole new Adam. The concept of new Adam, also known as American Adam had long existed in the culture of the New World. In The American Adam: Innocence, Tragedy and Tradition in the Nineteenth Century Richard Lewis, based on local history, came up with the idea of a new type of man of the new America that “…emancipated from history, happily bereft of ancestry, untouched and undefiled by the usual inheritances of family and race; an individual standing alone, self-reliance and self-propelling, ready to confront whatever awaited him with the aid of his own unique and inherent resources” (5) Such a man represents the American ideal dream hero, independent, free-thinking and absolutely picturesque. In one way or the other, Ayn Rand’s Howard Roark 14 was this kind of man, “self-sufficient, self-confident” and “be himself at any cost” (698). First of all, it is stated in the story that Roark’s identity was a mystical blur. Neither his family nor any close relation was ever mentioned; an orphan he was conjectured to be. Roark came out of nowhere; had no friends or a love of his life, his one and only loose friendship with Peter Keating, whose house he rented for college, did not made them be in the same league. One neither had ever learnt about his past nor cared for his story. The room in which he lived was stuffed with only his clothes and drawings, “few” for one and “too may” for the other, respectively…that to Peter Keating’s mother’s thought, it was “the drawings lived there, not the man” (18). Had he happened to disappear one day, no one would have noticed his absence or even spared a thought of him. Ayn Rand’s creation of Howard Roark was somehow influenced by her adoration to America, where people speak about the future, not the past. Metaphorically, Howard Roark was the American Adam who had no relation with other human being, lived in the “paradise” America and evidently, bared no sins from the alluring society. Instead of attaching to her protagonist a certain family background, Ayn Rand just made him pop up suddenly, baring no ties to the world. Roark appeared from the very first scene of The Fountainhead when he was caught naked on the edge of a cliff, standing alone and laughing. Bathing his body in the wind, Roark stared at the granite below his feet, the trees and the iron ore underground, imagining how those things would one day altogether turned into buildings. In that scene, Roark was the only human being existed; surround him was the nature; his thoughts was about nature while his body leaning resting like a part of nature. Likely at that time, Roark and nature were merging together into one unity. He was taking (with epistemology) the world (metaphysics) into himself. Roark was thinking about the manufacturing of the elements around him: trees to be cut off, stone to be grinded and houses to be built from that trees and stones. It could be interpreted that his thought spoke out the first rule of metaphysics: “Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed” (709). Just like that, Howard Roark 15
- Xem thêm -