Ayn Rand’s novel The Fountainhead powerfully and credibly depicts how important moral integrity is in maintaining one’s personal independence, and in achieving success and happiness. Ayn Rand makes her case by depicting characters whose lives and choices represent the logical variations on her philosophical and psychological themes.

Readers of the novel may find the following chart useful. It summarizes the differing premises, goals, and methods of each of the story’s five major characters – and the respective consequences for each of them.







  Integrity leads to success & happiness  

  His work, done his way  

  Exercise uncompromising integrity  

  Success: his work done his way  


  Integrity leads to destruction by the   world

  Preserving her integrity  

  Abandon worldly values, success & happiness  

  Discovers that her premise is in error.  


  Integrity is an obstacle to popularity  

  Popularity & social success  

  Reject integrity, seek popularity via   pandering

  Failure in his quest for popularity  


  Integrity is an obstacle to power over others  

  Power over others  

  Weaken others by attacking their integrity  

  Failure in his quest for power over men of integrity  


  Integrity is an obstacle to practical success  

  Values & happiness  

  Seek power over others  

  Failure of power to bring him values & happiness  



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