Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Why I read The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand periodically?

Why is it that we want to read some books again and again?More specifically , why I  feel drawn to read The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand again , and yet again?Ayn Rand wrote this masterpiece in 1943 , and it still has the power to hold me in 2013,  70 years  after ,since she wrote it.It has the same freshness, vigour and capacity to uplift ,as it had when I read it for the first time in 1980.The only difference in the last 30 years is that I appreciate it more clearly and admire it more.Where does its captivating power lie ?It has had and will continue to have that staying power which only the classics have.
                                   Ayn Rand wrote this work in 1943 when she was 38 years  .She wrote Introduction to the Twenty-fifth Anniversary Edition in 1968 when she was 63 years  .In this , she asks:"Are there any substantial changes I would want to make  in The Fountainhead?".And answers:"No-and therefore I have left its text unchanged."In the same introduction she says that one of the cardinal reasons of The Fountainhead's lasting appeal is that it is a confirmation of the spirit of youth, proclaiming man's glory, showing how much is possible.
                                        The Fountainhead  has successfully created an ideal man in Howard Roark.He has a code of ethics and a reverence for himself and his values.He does not give up before the usual process of corruption, the way most people get corrupted in this world.He retains his values, his mind , his self-esteem, and does not abandon his values despite great hardships.He does not lose his fire.He holds on and moves on , knowing that the fire is not to be betrayed, learning to give it purpose , shape and reality He does not know what and where his future is,he marches on to realize man's glory and life's potential.He truly demonstrates the power of a  man.This sounds egoistic  but that is precisely the crux:The theme of The Fountainhead is that man's ego is the fountainhead of human progress.
                      I especially like the last para of the Introduction:"It does not matter that only a few in each generation will grasp and achieve the full reality of man's proper stature-and that the rest will betray it.It is those few that move the world and give life its meaning-and it is those few that I have always sought to address.The rest are no concern of mine :it is not me  or The Fountainhead  that they will betray :it is their own souls."
                     This power to inspire, motivate and ignite  for having and following complete loyalty to a code of ethics and having  an unflinching faith in the power of an individual, described in an interesting , romantic backdrop , makes us  read  The Fountainhead , again and again .