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Here are the passages from the Fountainhead.

Gail Wynand was twenty when he fell in love. He had known everything there was to know about sex since the age of thirteen He had had many girls. He never spoke of love, created no romantic illusion and treated the whole matter as a simple animal transaction; but at this he was an expert and women could tell it, just by looking at him. The girl with whom he fell in love had an exquisite beauty, a beauty to be worshiped, not desired. She was fragile and silent. Her face told of the lovely mysteries within her, left unexpressed.

She became Gail Wynand's mistress. He allowed himself the weakness of being happy. He would have married her at once had she mentioned it. But they said little to each other. He felt that everything was understood between them.

One evening he spoke. Sitting at her feet, his face raised to her, he allowed his soul to be heard. "My darling, anything you wish, anything I am, anything I can ever be . .. That's what i want to offer you not the things I'll get for you, but the thing in me that will make me able to get them. That thing a man can't renounce it but I want to renounce it so that it will be yours so that it will be in your service only for you: The girl smiled and asked: "Do you think I'm prettier than Maggie Kelly?"

He got up. He said nothing and walked out of the house. he never saw that girl again. Gail Wynand, who prided himself never needing a lesson twice, did not fall in love again in the years that followed.

asked Jun 13 '15 at 22:58

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Humbug
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The scene excerpted in the question (from Part Three, Chapter 1) is one of many that Ayn Rand uses to concretize Gail Wynand's fundamental outlook on life and how it evolved in him. At first glance, Wynand represents a type of man who learns at a young age to be a fighter, to dominate others who likewise seek domination and power, or end up dominated by them ("do unto others before they do unto you"). Such a man logically but wrongly regards it as weakness to reveal one's true soul to others; such a man believes he must hold his deepest self strictly inside and never show anything but strength and determination outwardly. He believes he must be strong -- be a survivor and master of those seeking to enslave him, not some whimpy slave of those others.

But Wynand is also characterized as someone of unusual prowess and ability, who wasn't "born to be a second-hander," as Howard Roark tells him in Part Four, Chapter 11. The philosophical essence of that scene in Part Four is excerpted by Ayn Rand in her book, For the New Intellectual, under the title, "The Nature of the Second-Hander." The scene is between Roak and Wynand, with Roark finally understanding the nature of second-handers, and with Wynand very interested in that issue, as well. Wynand almost identifies himself as a type of second-hander -- though of a very different kind than Peter Keating or Ellsworth Toohey or any of the others. The scene concludes:

[Roark says to Wynand] "you weren't born to be a second-hander." ... [Roark] thought: I haven't mentioned to him the worst second-hander of all -- the man who goes after power.

In the scene in Part Three, Ayn Rand plants some important hints of Wynand's basic outlook on self and soul:

  • "He never spoke of love, created no romantic illusion...." He sees romantic love as an illusion (and the girl confirmed it in her remark about being "prettier than Maggy.") Wynand was utterly stunned to see that her mindset was so different from his. (Incidentally, the excerpt in the question isn't fully accurate; in the book, it's Maggy, not Maggie, and the excerpt also omits some key punctuation that makes the tone and meaning more clear.)

  • "He allowed himself the weakness of being happy." Why is it a weakness? That isn't Roark's perspective, but a "be strong" or "macho" type of man would see it as vulnerability to domination by others.

  • "One evening he spoke. Sitting at her feet, his face raised to her, he allowed his soul to be heard." He was making an exception to his normal policy of being strong and resolute. (He thought she would understand and prove worthy of it.)

  • "That's what I want to offer you -- not the things I'll get for you -- but the thing in me [his mind and his values, his deepest self] that will make me able to get them. That thing -- a man can't renounce it -- but I want to renounce it -- so that it will be yours -- so that it will be in your service only for you." He wants to share his deepest soul with her -- even though he regards that as weakness and renunciation of self in most situations -- because he finds her worthy of worship. He saw her as "a beauty to be worshiped, not desired ... fragile and silent ... [having] lovely mysteries within her, left unexpressed" -- until she spoke and let him see more clearly into her state of mind, her concrete-bound, petty concerns, in stark contrast to the nobility of soul that he had sought to reveal to her about himself.

The scene between Wynand and Roark in Part Four, Chapter 11, reveals far more of the essence of Wynand, in contrast to (but reinforcing) what Roark had been learning about second-handers in general.

In the Cliffs Notes book on The Fountainhead, Andrew Bernstein describes Wynand as follows (p. 20):

Powerful publisher of vulgar tabloids. Wynand combines a mixture of independent and dependent methods of functioning. In his personal life he lives by his own judgment, but he panders shamelessly to the masses in his career. He is Roark's closest friend, yet the way he has sold his own principles to gain power is in sharp contrast to Roark's integrity. Wynand's life shows that it is impossible to attain happiness by embodying mutually exclusive premises.

answered Jun 14 '15 at 03:50

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Ideas for Life ♦
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Asked: Jun 13 '15 at 22:58

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Last updated: Jun 14 '15 at 03:50