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How does one justify the rape of Dominique in FH?

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Here's a very basic question. I imagine everyone on this board has, in some way, found justification or explanation for Howard Roark's rape of Dominique.

So I'm wondering what people on this board think.

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Here's a very basic question.  I imagine everyone on this board has, in some way, found justification or explanation for Howard Roark's rape of Dominique.

So I'm wondering what people on this board think.

Quoting from Ayn Rand (in Letters of Ayn Rand):

"But the fact is that Roark did not actually rape Dominique; she had asked for it, and he knew that she wanted it. A man who would force himself on a woman against her wishes would be committing a dreadful crime. What Dominique liked about Roark was the fact that he took the responsibility for their romance and for his own actions. Most men nowadays, like Peter Keating, expect to seduce a woman, or rather they let her seduce them and thus shift the responsibility to her. That is what a truly feminine woman would despise. The lesson in the Roark-Dominique romance is one of spiritual strength and self-confidence, not of physical violence."

"It was not an actual rape, but a symbolic action which Dominique all but invited. This was the action she wanted and Howard Roark knew it."

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[...] Howard Roark's rape of Dominique.

What rape? Anyone who claims Roark raped Dominique has the onus of proof.

A careful -- that is, objective -- reading of the passage involved shows Dominique in tremendous conflict, as she was throughout most of the novel. The "rape" scene in this work of fiction was a masterful dramatization of Dominique's conflict of wanting and not wanting.

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Thanks for the responses. This was along the lines of what I had hoped to hear -- that it wasn't a rape at all. Dominique herself does not come to that conclusion, when she recounts the tale towards the end of the novell, and despite Rand's explanation, Roark did not at all seem interested in 'romance' at this stage of the novell. She specifically writes that he did it out of 'disdain', at the time, and later he was surprised that he still thought of her at all.

Anyway, I'm glad to hear the responses so far are in this vein. Did anyone believe there was truly a rape involved?

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I liked The Fountainhead so much that I read it five times. Still, it has been over ten years since then and three or four years since I saw the movie. (I think they should do a modern remake.)

As I remember it, Dominique initiated the use of physical force against Roark by hitting him in the face with a tree limb. Roark was unable to respond in kind as Dominique sped off on a horse. She was definitely trying to get his attention and solicit a response from him. What kind of response did she expect?

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As I remember it, Dominique initiated the use of physical force against Roark by hitting him in the face with a tree limb. Roark was unable to respond in kind as Dominique sped off on a horse. She was definitely trying to get his attention and solicit a response from him. What kind of response did she expect?

The question is, why would Roark need to retaliate against her, while he did not need to retaliate against all the people who wronged him in the course of the novel? Why would he play by her rules and accomodate her need to be physically overwhelmed?

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The question is, why would Roark need to retaliate against her, while he did not need to retaliate against all the people who wronged him in the course of the novel?  Why would he play by her rules and accomodate her need to be physically overwhelmed?

Roark retaliated against her because she initiated the use physical force against him thus violating the sanctity of his physical body. No one else in the story did this to Roark. He physically overwhelmed her in response to this. She could do nothing to his mind so she insulted his body. He returned the insult as a matter of self defense . This is the same moral response that the United States did to Afghanistan after 9/11. It was a matter of coincidence that she enjoyed this.

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He returned the insult as a matter of self defense.

I have to admit to being somewhat skeptical that a forced (or quasi-forced) sex act can be looked by any rational person under any circumstance at as an act of self-defense without severely perverting the meaning of the term "self-defense."

Comparing it to the U.S. post-9/11 military action in Afghanistan is especially absurd, at least to my understanding.

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Roark retaliated against her because she initiated the use physical force against him thus violating the sanctity of his physical body.

... she insulted his body. He returned the insult as a matter of self defense . This is the same moral response that the United States did to Afghanistan after 9/11. It was a matter of coincidence that she enjoyed this.

Publius, Tell me that you're pulling our collective leg here.

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Roark retaliated against her because she initiated the use physical force against him thus violating the sanctity of his physical body. No one else in the story did this to Roark. He physically overwhelmed her in response to this. She could do nothing to his mind so she insulted his body. He returned the insult as a matter of self defense . This is the same moral response that the United States did to Afghanistan after 9/11. It was a matter of coincidence that she enjoyed this.

Are you serious? Self-defense? Retaliation? Comparing Dominique's slaping Roark to the 9/11 terrorist act?

If you are serious, then...

That would've been imoral--there already existed a state which could've properly taken care of such "initiation of force". One does not take the law into one's own hand unless there is no state or the state is a dictatorship.

Ayn Rand has unequivocally denied it was "rape": Roark didn't do for "retaliation" and it wasn't a matter of "coincidence" that she liked being raped. He was physically violent BECAUSE she wanted him to be--and he knew it.

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Before I continue, let me say that my understanding of certain things Objective may be in error. I am on this forum primarily in order to interact with other Objectivists and through such interaction to increase my knowledge of Objectivism. If I can increase someone else's understanding, then so be it.

Sometimes I like to engage in a debate, usually to defend some aspect of Objectivism. This thread is not one of those times. Here is my post:

Roark retaliated against her because she initiated the use physical force against him thus violating the sanctity of his physical body. No one else in the story did this to Roark. He physically overwhelmed her in response to this. She could do nothing to his mind so she insulted his body. He returned the insult as a matter of self defense . This is the same moral response that the United States did to Afghanistan after 9/11. It was a matter of coincidence that she enjoyed this.
Here is the response to that post which I will now address:
Are you serious? Self-defense? Retaliation?  Comparing Dominique's slaping Roark to the 9/11 terrorist act?

If you are serious, then...

That would've been imoral--there already existed a state which could've properly taken care of such "initiation of force".  One does not take the law into one's own hand unless there is no state or the state is a dictatorship.

Ayn Rand has unequivocally denied it was "rape": Roark didn't do for "retaliation" and it wasn't a matter of "coincidence" that she liked being raped.  He was physically violent BECAUSE she wanted him to be--and he knew it.

Perhaps I am confused here.

In pointing out that Dominique violated the sanctity of Roark's body by initiating physical aggression against him, and then fleeing on horseback, I am of the opinion that this provided Howard Roark with a moral reason to violate the sanctity of Dominique's body. She committed a crime against him and, in complying with the law, he should have reported this to the authorities. The government could then seek retribution by proxy. I shall have more to say about this aspect of the event shortly. However, at this particular time, I would like to address the moral validation that I assign to it and attempt to justify my comparison of it to the events of 9/11.

Inasmuch as the events of 9/11 amounted to physical aggression being initiated against the United States, the United States was right to respond in kind. The United States is sovereign, despite what anyone may argue to the contrary concerning the United Nations. The United States took the necessary amount of time to effect an appropriate response and then took the necessary action. In this case the United States liberated Afghanistan.

It is further arguable, given the Islamic elevation of martyrdom to a value, that this was the response sought by the terrorists.

In the "rape" scene in The Fountainhead, I see a similar moral analogy. If someone disagrees with me here then please point out why.

As for Roark's evaluation of the situation, I visualize it as having occurred something like this:

He realized that a crime had been committed against his body and he also realized the need to defend the sanctity of his body in order discourage further aggresion against his body. Yes, he could have called the police. However, this would not work. First of all, there were no witnesses. Secondly, Miss Francon was the heir to a very wealthy business concern with much influence in the area. In this case, it was the business concern that Roark worked for. Thirdly, this was the same business concern that effectively exiled Roark to work in the rock quarry thus providing him with a motive to seek revenge.

No, there was no valid appeal to the law here for Howard Roark. He must take matters into his own hands. He could physically assault Miss Francon at some future time going tit for tat. However, in order to leave a lasting impression, overwhelming force was required...emphasis on overwhelming. He could beat her to a bloody pulp. This would certainly leave too many scars on her.

At this point, it is necessary to point out that the nature of Miss Francon's actions not only violated the sanctity of Roarks physical being but, also, insulted and violated his manhood. Roark also realized that, in the commission of this crime, she was, in effect, giving him a come on. So, taking all these factors into consideration, Roark decided to exercise his manhood and intellect in a most appropriate manner: overwhelming sexual domination.

Roark was no altruist. He did not perform sexual domination over Miss Francon to satisfy any inner need that she may have had. If there was any other motivation that I see, it is that, on top of everything else, Dominique possessed exceptional physical beauty that, I am sure, did not go unnoticed on Roark as he toiled in the rock quarry. He wanted some physical sexual gratification and this was the excellent opportunity to get it. This was a very selfish motive.

That's enough to merit a response.

Regarding the logic of appealing to the government for justice, there are a couple of other scenes in The Fountainhood that involve this. One is the court scene concerning the Temple to the Human Spirit.

Another was when Roark blew up an apartment complex he had designed. (I don't recall its name.) What is the moral justification for Roark taking matters into his own hands here?

[Moderator, Burgess Laughlin: Edited to replace offensive slang with "physical sexual gratification."]

Edited by BurgessLau

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As for Roark's evaluation of the situation, I visualize it as having occurred something like this:

He realized that a crime had been committed against his body and he also realized the need to defend the sanctity of his body in order discourage further aggresion against his body. Yes, he could have called the police. However, this would not work. First of all, there were no witnesses. Secondly, Miss Francon was the heir to a very wealthy business concern with much influence in the area. In this case, it was the business concern that Roark worked for. Thirdly, this was the same business concern that effectively exiled Roark to work in the rock quarry thus providing him with a motive to seek revenge.

I'll leave it to others to deal with other issues of this post, as I think they will. However, I'm going to address what I see as seriously flawed logic in your above statement.

First, you are assuming a great deal in your visualization of Roark's evaluation of the situation. Is this at all supported in the text of the book or by any commentary you have seen by Ayn Rand?

Aside from that, for the very reasons you claim Roark would have believed he had no legal redress, he would have had to believe that Miss Francon had the power to have him legally drawn and quartered. The complaint and testimony of a woman of such stature and situation would have had him in jail for many years at the very least. If Roark would have surmised as you imagine above, he would have been smart enough to see this. "Raping" her in retaliation would have been a rash, emotional decision wrought with too much risk for a man of Roark's intelligence.

It makes much more sense that she wanted him as a man, he understood that, and she provoked him in a manner forcing him to respond. It would explain why she didn't go to the police and report him. She was strong-willed enough not to be cowed by a forceful display of physical violence so that would not have prevented her from prosecuting him if that was what she really wanted to do.

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The complaint and testimony of a woman of such stature and situation would have had him in jail for many years at the very least
Thank you RationalCop. I was trying to develop a parallel line of reasoning and I see that it is greatly flawed. Seeing this, it now appears to me that Roark was merely responding to a come-on from a desperate woman. I invite people's comments on this.
First, you are assuming a great deal in your visualization of Roark's evaluation of the situation. Is this at all supported in the text of the book or by any commentary you have seen by Ayn Rand?
Will someone please direct me to Ayn Rand's comments on this matter?

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From The Fountainhead, 25th Anniversary Edition, pg 671

Pagination varies greatly from edition to edition. I cannot find that passage on that page in my edition, which is more than 20 years old. Could you give me the Part number, the section number, and the approximate number of pages after the section number?

I want to examine the immediate context, as well as consider the full context, before I respond.

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Before I continue, let me say that my understanding of certain things Objective may be in error. I am on this forum primarily in order to interact with other Objectivists and through such interaction to increase my knowledge of Objectivism. [...]

If there was any other motivation that I see, it is that, on top of everything else, Dominique possessed exceptional physical beauty that, I am sure, did not go unnoticed on Roark as he toiled in the rock quarry. He wanted some physical sexual gratification and this was the excellent opportunity to get it. This was a very selfish motive.[...]

[Moderator, Burgess Laughlin: Edited to replace offensive slang with "physical sexual gratification."]

I suspect, and hope, that all of us in this forum are here, in part, to learn more about Objectivism and its application to bettering our lives. Given the passage above in boldface, I would suggest you begin studying Ayn Rand's view of sexuality. The best place to start, as usual, is with The Ayn Rand Lexicon. Pages 457-459 include excerpts from her writings on the spiritual as well as physical nature of sexuality -- and for the need to integrate the two.

Any suggestion that Roark "raped" Dominique for mere physical gratification is wrong and -- intentionally or not -- offensive to Objectivism as a philosophy and to the memory of Ayn Rand, the creator of the ideal man, Howard Roark, hero of The Fountainhead.

After you have read the excerpts in ARL, and if you have questions, please ask. Perhaps there are old threads to which you could add. If not, then a new thread on the nature of sexuality would be appropriate.

P. S. -- There is no need to capitalize "objective." It is an adjective, not a proper name. It shouldn't be capitalzed within a sentence when it is used as an adjective.

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Pagination varies greatly from edition to edition. I cannot find that passage on that page in my edition, which is more than 20 years old. Could you give me the Part number, the section number, and the approximate number of pages after the section number?

I want to examine the immediate context, as well as consider the full context, before I respond.

It was Part IV (Howard Roark) Chapter 17. In my edition, it is 8 pages after the beginning of chapter 17.

Dominique is talking to Wynand after Wynand has learnt the truth about Dominique's relationship to him and Roark. Here is the full quote

...

"Well, I've given you a story that will build circulation, Gail."

He had heard...He said:

"I would like only to know this, if you'll tell me: that was the first time since our marriage?"

"Yes."

"But it was not the first time?"

"No. He was the first man who had me."

"I think I should have understood. You married Peter Keating. Right after the Stoddard trial."

"Do you wish to know everything? I want to tell you. I met him when he was working in a granite quarry. Why not? You'll put him in a chain gang or a jute mill. He was working in a quarry. He didn't ask my consent. He raped me. That's how it began. Want to use it? Want to run it in the Banner?"

...

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It has already been pointed out here what the author's intentions were while writing The Fountainhead. I find it quite disingenuous for people to claim they know better than the author herself what happened in a fictional work.

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It was Part IV (Howard Roark) Chapter 17. In my edition, it is 8 pages after the beginning of chapter 17.

Dominique is talking to Wynand after Wynand has learnt the truth about Dominique's relationship to him and Roark. Here is the full quote

Tommy, thank you for the fuller quote, showing the immediate context. It confirms what I had only vaguely remembered. Dominique here is not testifying in a court. She is paying Wynand back. She is using ironically degrading comments -- he worked in a quarry, he raped me -- to slap at Wynand, a wrongly rich and second-handedly powerful man whom she admires and despises for his path through life, all at the same time.

All of this style of talking is consistent with the ambivalent Dominique, an ambivalence that, at this point in the story, is coming to an end.

Nothing in this quote proves Roark raped Dominique. If anything, it proves the opposite.

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Nothing in this quote proves Roark raped Dominique. If anything, it proves the opposite.

I agree. Under the context, it seems that Dominique is lying/exaggerating to get a dig in at Gail. No way does she actually think that she was raped. Glad to see my memory of the book was correct.

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Part 2. Ellsworth M. Toohey.

Chapter 2.

She read it and smiled. She thought, if they knew...those people..that old life and that awed reverence before her person...I've been raped...I've been raped by some red-headed hoodlum...I, Dominique Francon...Through the firece sense of humiliation, the words gave her the same kind of pleasure she had felt in his arms.

There, that's the exact quote from my version of the book, where she thinks to herself, "I have been raped." In response to Inspector. This comes soon after Roark gets the letter from Enright asking him to build the house.

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BurgessLau:

P. S. -- There is no need to capitalize "objective." It is an adjective, not a proper name. It shouldn't be capitalzed within a sentence when it is used as an adjective.

“Since selfishness is ”concern with one’s own interests,” the Objectivist ethics uses that concept in its exact and purest sense.”—Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness, fifth printing, page x, paragraph 3.

“Students of Objectivism find it difficult to grasp the Objectivist principle that “there are no conflicts of interests among rational men.” —Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness, fifth printing, page 50, paragraph 1.

In using the word Objective, I was using it as an adjective to specifically refer to Objectivism, which Ayn Rand always capitalized. I almost used the word Objectivistic. Perhaps that’s what I should have done.

Excerpt from Forum Rule 2.2:

An egregious example is failure to capitalize proper names -- for instance, writing "objectivism" when referring to Ayn Rand's philosophy; the correct form is "Objectivism."

Forum Rule 2.2 begins thusly:

“Spell-check and review your posts before submitting them. Posts with frequent misspellings or grammatical errors will be deleted at the moderator’s discretion.”

As you are not only a published author, but also now a moderator on this forum, I expect better from you than this:

“It shouldn't be capitalzed within a sentence when it is used as an adjective.”---BurgessLau
Now:
RationalCop:

First, you are assuming a great deal in your visualization of Roark's evaluation of the situation.

As I see it, the only assumption I made was that Dominique Francon would not call the police if she thought that Roark had truly raped her and that Roark did not consider this beforehand. Yes, I did arrive at an erroneous conclusion as I failed to integrate this into my overall theme. The theme that I was trying to portray was the analogy between Roark’s responding to the initiation of the use of physical force against him and the terrorist attack on 9/11. This theme was an effort to give moral validation to Roark’s use of physical force in response to Dominique’s actions against him. I did get confused toward the end of this because I could not see what Roark would see in Dominique other than physical beauty and ended up reaching an invalid conclusion.
RationalCop:

Is this at all supported in the text of the book or by any commentary you have seen by Ayn Rand?

And:
Bowser:

I find it quite disingenuous for people to claim they know better than the author herself what happened in a fictional work.

Perhaps an artist’s explanation does help to alter one’s perception of a particular work of art by that artist. However, an artistic construction, like a building or some other structure, should stand by itself. It should not require interpretation. If I interpret it in a different manner than was intended, then that is my right. I have the right to interpret art as I perceive it. My mind is sovereign. I do not need someone to tell me what to think of a work of art be it by Ayn Rand, Pablo Picasso, or anyone else.
RationalCop:

Is this at all supported in the text of the book or by any commentary you have seen by Ayn Rand?

BurgessLau:

Any suggestion that Roark "raped" Dominique for mere physical gratification is wrong and -- intentionally or not -- offensive to Objectivism as a philosophy and to the memory of Ayn Rand, the creator of the ideal man, Howard Roark, hero of The Fountainhead.

I fail to see what, at this point in The Fountainhead, Roark saw of emotional value in Dominique. It appears to me that she has some sort of self-sacrificial aspect to her personality. This would be of no value to Roark. Will someone please explain to me exactly what it was that Roark saw in the personality of Dominique that he considered a compliment or a supplement to himself? Will someone please explain what, exactly, was going on in Dominique’s head? What, exactly, was going on in Roark’s head?
Bowser:

It has already been pointed out here (link to below quote by Danielshrugged) what the author's intentions were while writing The Fountainhead.

Danielshrugged:

Quoting from Ayn Rand (in Letters of Ayn Rand):

"But the fact is that Roark did not actually rape Dominique; she had asked for it, and he knew that she wanted it. A man who would force himself on a woman against her wishes would be committing a dreadful crime. What Dominique liked about Roark was the fact that he took the responsibility for their romance and for his own actions. Most men nowadays, like Peter Keating, expect to seduce a woman, or rather they let her seduce them and thus shift the responsibility to her. That is what a truly feminine woman would despise. The lesson in the Roark-Dominique romance is one of spiritual strength and self-confidence, not of physical violence. "

As I see it, this does not address the issue. Someone please explain this to me.

"It was not an actual rape, but a symbolic action which Dominique all but invited. This was the action she wanted and Howard Roark knew it."--Ayn Rand
What does Ayn Rand mean here when she says “all but invited?” Ayn Rand was very specific. She was cut and dried. She was black and white; no gray. What does she mean by “all but invited?” To me this means “NOT invited.” Will someone please explain this to me in depth? It appears to me that Ayn Rand just contradicted what she started off her previous paragraph with.
BurgessLau:

After you have read the excerpts in ARL, and if you have questions, please ask. Perhaps there are old threads to which you could add. If not, then a new thread on the nature of sexuality would be appropriate.

I have read everything that Ayn Rand ever published unless something came out after The Early Ayn Rand. Many of her publications I have read more than once. I was once a member of the Dallas Objectivist Society and, as a member of that organization, I helped arrange a lecture at the University of Texas at Dallas for John Ridpath. I also attended dinner with John Ridpath during his visit and ran the information table during his lecture. I spoke with Mike Berliner when he came to visit our group. During group meetings I listened to the entire taped lecture series on Objectivism by Ayn Rand twice. It was during this time that Leonard Peikoff wrote Fact and Value in response to David Kelly. I have read both The Ominous Parallels and OPAR.

It has been many years and a lot has happened. Presently, I have a tendency to act range of the moment which I do not like and find to my detriment. I do not remember every word I have ever read on Objectivism. However, I think I have a pretty good idea of Ayn Rand’s position(s) regarding sex. Obviously I have missed something.

Happy New Year.

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