Roark in the quarry…

I have often wondered about the implications of Roark in the quarry…Conventionally, Roark is so far removed from the realm of ‘what other people think’, that he almost comes out as ‘weird’ conventionally. For instance, if we take the conventional hero of the best of the movies ever made (and there have been some real worthy movies made), it is quite plausible that he might end up choosing to be in a quarry or some other similar predicament rather than compromise on his principles, like Roark (conventional heroes are shown at times as choosing death rather than compromise their values). Yet, they would not behave mentally and more importantly, emotionally like Roark.

Roark has no sense of bravado that he is doing a great thing, that he has given up his career for his principles, he also has no sense of grievance with the world ( ne koi gila ya shikwa hai kissise, Ellesworth Toohey se bhi nahin…). He has no sense that some injustice is being done to him, nor is he angry with anyone for not seeing his genius nor does he hate anyone for choosing to be irrational.

If I can imagine a conventional hero in a similar situation, I would at least see him finding a need to talk to his fellow labourers after work and telling them that he is actually an architect, and in fact, knows more than the guy who is giving orders. Roark doesn’t feel any such need. He doesn’t even feel the need to reveal to anyone that he is an architect, not even to Dominicque. Nor does Roark feel frustrated, except for the fact that he cannot give shape to the buildings that he would like to have built. But he fights that self-pity and works to eradicate that.

And except for this fact, he doesn’t even think there is anything strange or funny in his choosing to work in the quarry…it wouldn’t matter to him if the quarry was next to his college and the dean and other instructors and students who knew him saw him there, he would probably find it strange that they are laughing or finding it funny, just as he finds it strange that Ellesworth Toohey should think that he should have a need to think about him (it would be like ending up selling bananas outside the college you graduated from, and finding it strange that others who knew you find it funny…).

He is shown as someone who would be the same, even if he had to end his life retiring as a common, anonymous labourer. He expects nothing at all from people, neither rationality or integrity or anything…(any virtue/value he sees in another person is like a bonus to him)…he is serene, peaceful and compact even in the quarry.

In comparison, a conventional hero would be very unhappy in his situation. In the least, he would have a sense of bravado and a need to impress upon his fellow-men that he is not just a labourer, that he has what it takes to be a great architect, but has taken a stand for his principles…he would then get their affection/sympathy etc. He would have a sense of injustice done to him, and on some occasions, when drunk, might even voice out his frustation in shrilled tones, abusing the Elesworth Tooheys and spitting on the Peter Keatings and despising the clients who reject his work as an architect. And once in a while, he might say forcefully, “One day, I will show them all, who I am” (mein dikha dunga mein kya hu..)

This is why, Roark may look unreal at times to many readers of the Fountainhead, as most people as have existed, have some expectation or another from people around them…This is also why I find it funny, when I read testimonies of people who say that they were already more or less like Roark before they read the Fountainhead.

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