The Fountainhead Analysis

A latecomer to the fascinating book by Ayn Rand, I believe it worthy of analyzing -- Dramatica-style.
If you haven't read this book, I'd recommend giving it a go. While weighty, it's delectable.

Let's take a look at what we know, as we try to identify the Storyform.

The Main Character, Harold Roark, is clearly a steadfast character, refusing to change his ways despite financial peril, social condemnation, and isolation.

The Hand Off
This book is a great example of what Dramatica calls hand-offs, passing the dramatic function from one character to another. In this book, there are many Impact Characters. A post in Hull's Narrative First site [ref?] explains how this is done well. Impact characters, when there's more than one, should never both be with the main character at the same time. It lessens their impact, which is the exact opposite of what we want. Despite this, two Impact Characters in The Fountainhead often spend time with the main character. In this case, both Dominique and Gail Wynand are impact characters - because Roark is Steadfast, they are the ones impacted by Roark. So what gives? How does this still work so well in the novel?

You'll notice that these characters break the guidelines that Jim set forth, and at first this troubled me. There are many times when BOTH impact characters are with Harold. That said, as I continued reading Jim's post, he explained it. If both impact characters are in the scene with the MC at the same time, one should be quiet. You'll notice that once Harold and Gail Wynand start hanging out together, Dominique becomes silent -- she doesn't speak, she doesn't get involved, she merely sits and watches the men.  And, when Dominique and Wynand interact, they do so as Jim says works best: without the main character present.  They talk about the MC -- basically, Dominique understands the impact that Roark is having on Gail.

Back to the Storyform
I digress. We've got a Steadfast MC who is waiting for something to Stop in his environment.  He's waiting for society to get the hell out of the way and allow him to do his thing: build beuatiful (a matter of opinion) buildings.

What about outcomes?  As Ayn Rand herself states, this story is a complete and utter Triumph for the main character.  So Story Outcome is Success, and Story Judgment of Good.

How many Storyforms does that leave us with?  Quite a few!  2048.  Clearly we're still got some work to do.

The story is an Optionlock, rather than a Timelock. There are only so many people who will hire Harold. And after the last fiasco, it basically comes down to one: Gail Wynand. He is ultimately the only one who can condemn or free Harold. And he hires Harold to design a towering building in New York -- allowing Harold free reign, to build it as he would like, in his own style.

My feel is that Harold is a linear thinker. He researches architecture, finds an architect who he believes can teach him and goes to him seeking work. 512 forms left.

We're going to call Harold a Do-er, although this might be open to argument. Does he change himself or the world around him? And how does he do this? My take is that Harold is a builder -- Roark builds buildings -- it's all he want to do. What other examples of his being a do-er are there? He goes to Dominque's and practically rapes her. Not a lot of being there.

Driver?  Action?  Decision?  I was thinking Decision, as it's Gail's decision at the end to give the contract to Harold that ultimately cements Harold's victory. What about the Inciting Incident, the thing that brings an Inequity into existence? Harold's decision to go seek out the architect to train him.  If Harold had been expelled from school and given up, none of the rest of the story would happen.  I think this is the Inciting Incident.  So, let's go with Decision for this. 128!  We're getting somewhere!

OS Throughline?

We're going to call the MC Throughline activity.  Throughout the book, Howard is engaged in activities -- he's a builder -- or he wants to be building.  It's all he wants to do with his life.  He's seldom not doing something.  He's a workaholic.  He's always DOING something.  (And his doing seems effortless to other people -- this is noted many times -- and is a very particular characteristic that no one else in the story shares.

MC Concern is absolutely DOING.  He doesn't care that his works of art -- which some consider sacred -- are defaced.  He only cares that he's DOING something -- building more -- doing what he loves.

This gives us an OS Throughline of Situation.  What's the situation here?  A world being eaten alive by selflessness?  A world that's a soulless carnival house of broken mirrors, defined by everyone elses' views, leaving nothing solid, nothing REAL.  I'm comfortable with that, although I can probably articulate this better.  And I could use more major examples.  64 story forms.

16 storyforms left! 

What about the IC?  We haven't even talked about her (Dominique).  Can she help us pare this down a little more?

I believe Harold's unique ability is Skill. 

For MC Issue, I'm torn between Wisdom and Experience.  Harold HAS the wisdom -- he understands how things fit together in a way few others do, especially when it comes to architecture.  That said -- he is having trouble getting the EXPERIENCE of building -- he has trouble getting people to hire him.  His issue isn't really his wisdom.

2 storyforms remaining!  So close!

I think I need to read more about Symptom, Problem, Solution, and Response as it relates to MC and IC in order to finish out this task.

I went with OS Problem: Hunch (vs. Theory).  I just have this feeling that the problem in the overall story is that people have a feeling -- a hunch -- that something is very wrong in the world.  But they have no idea what it is. In the story world, they're right. But they can't put together a Theory that will support that.  Only Toohey knows this theory and uses it to do evil, subtle things (the slavering beast, was it?).  So let's go with this and see how everything else lines up.

Down to one storyform!  Yeah!

It'll be interesting to see if I can decipher how the Throughline Signposts play out and see if this matches up well with the story.  I'd be interested in hearing from anyone else who's taken on the task of analyzing this one.

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