Literature, Philosophy, Rhetoric

Reasoning why

Read the first half of this post here

In some lighter posts, I’ll come onto the severe weaknesses in Rand’s writing which I believe she cannot control, and which generated some of the fun that kept me sane during the harder going parts. But I think it’s clear that partially Roark’s bizarre construction is an intentional effect. Rand wants to create an embodiment of her virtues: if we were to describe Roark even in negative terms as unreflective, callous, monomaniacal or bone-headed, I can see the committed Randian openly embracing these qualities (though I suspect they would rather cast them as unswerving, selfish, focussed).

So why does it backfire so badly? I would challenge even the most starry-eyed devotee to find the Roark we’re given compelling. The narrative voice – and by extension Rand herself – chooses to spend more of the novel away from him than otherwise.¬† Even if we allow ourself to discount the rape scene – where the distancing is total, and he may as well be an incidental criminal – he comes out as a pretty second-rate kind of superman.

Continue reading

Standard
Irony, Literature, Rhetoric, self-parody, Uncategorized

Goodies and badies

My favourite source (wikipedia) describes the process of the The Fountainhead as a series of interactions between Roark, the “author’s ideal man of independence and integrity” and a continuum of lesser personalities. While it’s certain that Roark is an flawless paragon for Rand, as I plowed through the first section it became very clear that Rand has no interest in providing us any nuanced characters. The Fountainhead is a novel where the characters are neatly split into¬†badies and a vanishingly small number of goodies – it is never in any doubt which are the favoured creatures – and there is no prospect of complexity, heterogeneity of character, or redemption.

Continue reading

Standard