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Dominique Frankon

Dominique Frankon

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Published by Sameer

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Published by: Sameer on Jan 18, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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06/15/2009

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Character Analyses
 
Dominique Francon
Dominique is Roark’s lover and later his wife. An ardent idealist, she observes Greeksculpture, Roark’s buildings, the music of Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff, and she understandsthe human potential. Dominique recognizes man’s capacity for achievement, and this is theonly thing she loves. Because she reveres man at his highest and best, she necessarily loathesmost members of the human race, who fall below man’s potential. When she sees themanipulative Peter Keatings, the power-hungry Ellsworth Tooheys, and the masses who preferKeating’s work to Roark’s, it fills her with despair. Dominique believes that the majority of men have no interest in living up to man’s highest nature, and that this unthinking herd wieldsthe power in society. Dominique is consequently a philosophical pessimist, holding that thegood have no chance in this world, that only the corrupt (Keating) and the evil (Toohey) willultimately succeed. She is a major example in Ayn Rand’s writing of what the author termsthe
malevolent universe premise
, the belief that the world is closed to the aspirations of goodmen, that only evil holds power.Because of Dominique’s reverence for man’s noblest and best, she must love Roark; butbecause of her pessimism, she must hold the despairing belief that he has no chance tosucceed in a world utterly hostile to him. She joins forces with Toohey, in an attempt to wreckRoark’s career, as an act of mercy killing. Roark must die at
her 
hand—that of the one wholoves him—rather than by the hand of a society that envies his greatness. “Let us say we aremoles and we object to mountain peaks,” she admonishes the court and gallery at theStoddard trial, stating that the temple must be torn down in order to save it from the world,not the world from it.Because of Dominique’s fear that the world will destroy the noble men and works that shetreasures, she refuses to pursue any values. Because the only worthwhile goals could never bereached, Dominique refuses to pursue any goals. She withdraws from active involvement inthe world, pursuing neither career nor love, until the events of the story, over a period of years, convince her that Roark’s benevolent universe premise is true. Only when she sees thegood succeeding on its own terms, and the evil powerless to stop it, does she realize that shehas been mistaken regarding the world. Then she is free to help Roark and take her place byhis side.It is important to understand that, despite the error of her pessimistic philosophy, Dominiqueis independent in the use of her mind. The obvious examples of her first-handed functioningare her evaluations regarding architecture. Dominique understands that, despite some positivequalities, her father’s career is essentially phony and not worthy of admiration—and she is notreticent about stating her beliefs openly. She displays the same ruthless honesty regardingher father’s protégé and eventual partner, Peter Keating. Her independent judgment is equallyapparent in regard to positive architectural appraisal—for despite society’s rejection of HenryCameron and, later, Howard Roark, she understands that these outcasts are the greatestbuilders in the world. Perhaps the most telling piece of evidence supporting Dominique’s first-handedness is her assessment of Ellsworth Toohey. Though society regards Toohey as aparagon of moral saintliness, Dominique recognizes him for what he is—a viciously evil power-seeker.The less obvious example of Dominique’s independence is how she changes her mindregarding her pessimistic worldview. She observes the lives of Howard Roark, Gail Wynand,Peter Keating, and Ellsworth Toohey. She sees that despite every obstacle that society placesin Roark’s path, it cannot stop him. She witnesses the life of Gail Wynand, observing that, inthe end, Wynand’s pandering brings him destruction, not joyous success. She sees thatKeating’s career does not merely collapse, but does so because of his lying manipulativeness,

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