Roark And Toohey Character Analysis

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This brief exchange epitomizes the difference between Roark and Toohey, between selfishness and selflessness, between egoism and altruism, between individualism and collectivism. More importantly, Roark’s simple, but powerful, answer demonstrates why selfishness is a virtue and selflessness a vice; why one represents moral integrity, and the other moral turpitude. Roark’s reply reflects his moral and intellectual independence- he is not defined by what others think- and therein lies the source of his creativity, the very fountainhead of his greatness. This exchange then lies at the very essence of the novel’s theme and is evident right through the book.
Throughout the novel the characters can be divided into those who depend on validation of their self from others, and those who do not. At opposite ends of the spectrum, Roark and Toohey, could not have been more different despite both being brilliant men. However, Toohey uses his insights
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His brief yet innocent reply is testimony to his openness and simplicity. In an exchange with Heller he says he does need people to give him work, but not in a more personal way. Even with a friend like Heller, he has no need for his approval. When Heller says it was typical of Roark not to ask him what he saw him as, Roark apologies saying it wasn’t indifference but he just didn’t think of asking. Heller calls Roark a “self-centered monster” but admits that he finds Roark to be “the most life-giving person” he has ever met. That “life-giving” quality can only spring from a selfish person, an egoist. Even when acknowledging his love for Dominique, Roark says “as selfishly as the fact that I exist” . Roark has no desire to destroy another, since his salvation does not lie in that. Roark is independent and free and from that stems his strength; he can remain imperturbable even in the face of hardships as long as he remains true to his

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