Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

How does one justify the rape of Dominique in FH?

Rate this topic


Whyz
 Share

Recommended Posts

It's important to focus on the Objectivist view of the relationship between force and reason.

I quite agree. That is central to this discussion and my argument overall.

Force, of course, makes reason impossible. Reason is the faculty that determines consent.

Agreed again. Can't we clearly say, then, that if Roark "forced" Dominique to have sex, then he raped her?

Dominique appeared to desire kinky Klingon sex, and wanted someone to help her fulfill that desire. In doing so, Roark was not bypassing her consent, and so his physical violence was not a form of force.

And here's the crux of our disagreement. I'd like to question two words: "appeared" and "desire."

1) "Appeared." Let's say that Dominique wanted to have sex with Roark generally, and that her "appearance," in word and deed, followed logically from that, and that Roark read it appropriately. Does that mean that she wanted sex at the very time and place, and in the manner, which Roark did? Does that mean that she necessarily wanted "kinky Klingon sex," as you suggest? Did she appear to want this sex? And how would we (or Roark) judge such a thing?

When she attempts to fight him away physically, does she appear to want this sex? When she tries to flee, does she appear to want it? When her eyes are "shapeless in terror," does that give the appearance of desire? If I were trying to make the case that she "appeared" not to want to have this sex, don't you suppose that it would be the stronger case? And in our lives -- I urge you to look within -- if we ever were to witness someone who "appeared" to be fighting off someone, "appeared" to try to escape, "appeared" to be terrified, and then held down and made to have sex... would we judge that as anything other than rape?

2) "Desire." Since something has been made about the windows which fiction provides into peoples' souls, allowing the reader a more universal understanding than we have in the ordinary course of events, I think it appropriate to ask whether this "desire" that Dominique supposedly had for Roark's actions was manifest either before or at the time of the sex act (i.e. at those points where she would have had to consent for this to not be rape).

What do we know of her internal state? As I've pointed out previously, she was terrified. She experienced hatred. Having been fortunate enough to have experienced "sexual desire," I must report that these types of emotions are not consonant with my experience. They do seem to be appropriate, however, to someone who is in the process of being raped.

***

Now, perhaps this is not yet convincing? (Though it certainly appears convincing to me.) Perhaps, beyond observing Dominique's actions and knowing her mental state -- both of which suggest rape to me -- we could ask her afterwards whether the sex was consensual? If we did so, I suppose that she would say that it was not consensual, and that she was raped, because that is what she did think to herself and what she did say.

Edited by DonAthos
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's context and then there's context. There's more to the context, the relevant context, to the "rape" than just the actual "rape" scene itself.

The "rape" occurred not too many days after Dominique and Roark first "met" at the quarry, Dominique becoming immediately both obsessed and hostile and disdainful with and towards Roark, hoping that he's a convict and that convicts are whipped (Why the hatred of and towards Roark?), requesting his help (Why his help?) with a "broken" slab of marble (which Roark had to but strike once, to Dominique's futile many strikes, to actually break: "Now it's broken and has to be replaced.") in her own bedroom (not somewhere else in the large house), Roark assuring her that he would have it replaced, but not showing up to do the work himself, infuriating Dominique, who then, when she finds Roark walking alone, ultimately strikes him across the face with a branch (assault and battery?).

Later, after the "rape" and after they meet again:

"I want to sleep with you. Now, tonight, and at any time you may care to call me. I want your naked body, your skin, your mouth, your hands. I want you--like this--not hysterical with desire--but coldly and consciously--without dignity and without regrets--I want you--I have no self-respect to bargain with me and divide me--I want you--I want you like an animal, or a cat on a fence, or a whore."

The thoughts of a shattered rape victim?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Way to evade the argument in my post.

No, I wasn't evading, actually I didn't have time, until now. By what virtue does Roark possess the ability to exert physical force and thereby dominate Dominique? Is it by virtue of the values he holds? Is it by virtue of his intellect, or the strength of his character, or his sense of life? No. The primary reason he is able to overpower Dominique physically is because he was born a male. In other words, he is able to overpower her and take her by force because of an accident of birth, and not by virtue of anything within his control or within the province of choice.

I understand that the scene is fiction, and romantic fiction at that. I understand, from personal experience, the complex psychological underpinnings of sexual attraction and sexual pleasure among consenting adults. I understand that, in context, consent was implied, and that Roark, strictly speaking, did not rape Dominique. But all this is irrelevant to the actual state of affairs both in the scene as romantic fiction and in reality, which is that Roark, by dint of his gender and through no choice of his own, is able to physically overcome Dominique's physical resistance. This fact removes any sense of moral rectitude or heroism one wishes to foist upon his actions, by means of romantic rationalizations or purposeful intellectual and psychological evasion.

I cannot, as a rational person, respect the action of a novel's hero which can be accomplished by any common brute who stumbles along. For the same reason I cannot respect the action of a novel's hero when he blows up a building that does not belong to him. It takes a great man (or woman) to design a great building, but any damn fool can blow one up.

All that being said, I do believe that Ayn Rand is one of the greatest intellectual giants who ever lived, and her contribution to the advance of reason is incaculable (and will increase in force significantly over the next few decades), but I cannot resist giving my honest critique of certain aspects of her work. The last thing she would have wanted was unquestioning agreement to her ideas among her readership. I fully understand that I may be wrong about this particular issue, but I feel compelled to voice my opinion. The owner(s) of this site, or administrators, may delete my posts at will, of course, if they so chose, and I would have no objection, nor, indeed, any grounds to object.

Edited by WilliamB
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's context and then there's context. There's more to the context, the relevant context, to the "rape" than just the actual "rape" scene itself.

Of course. And we should be willing to consider everything that we find relevant.

The "rape" occurred not too many days after Dominique and Roark first "met" at the quarry, Dominique becoming immediately both obsessed and hostile and disdainful with and towards Roark, hoping that he's a convict and that convicts are whipped (Why the hatred of and towards Roark?), requesting his help (Why his help?) with a "broken" slab of marble (which Roark had to but strike once, to Dominique's futile many strikes, to actually break: "Now it's broken and has to be replaced.") in her own bedroom (not somewhere else in the large house), Roark assuring her that he would have it replaced, but not showing up to do the work himself, infuriating Dominique, who then, when she finds Roark walking alone, ultimately strikes him across the face with a branch (assault and battery?).

Perhaps all of this signals that Dominique was interested in Roark.

If so, that does not mean that the specific sex act which then took place was consensual, not forced, not rape. In real life, all sexual acts -- rape and otherwise -- take place within some context. Where a given rape is concerned, we might sometimes view some of that context as a woman dressing in a "provocative" manner or otherwise giving "mixed signals." Sometimes it is within the context of a date, or even a marriage. Sometimes there are sexual activities which are consensual up to a point, but then the woman (for convenience; I intend no statement about gender exclusivity) decides that she does not want to carry things further. What makes a rape a rape -- the introduction of force -- is not changed even if we can prove that a woman was attracted to her rapist, had "led him on," or that she "generally wanted him," if she did not consent to the specific sex act itself.

It is not novel to The Fountainhead, and actually is to my understanding something of a cliche, for rapists to claim that their victims actually "wanted it," and that it was therefore not actually rape. Sometimes, when we don't know the specifics of the event, we might wind up having to speculate based on circumstantial evidence. The woman comes up to the man's hotel room, late at night, dressed in a negligee? "Ahh," we say, "then perhaps she's lying about what happened behind closed doors. Those details certainly suggest that she was prepared to consent to sex."

But in The Fountainhead, we are witness to the sex act itself, and Dominique's struggles to fend Roark off. And what is more, we are privy to her internal state -- that she was terrified (a word that is much stronger than "afraid"; consider that people blow up marketplaces and bring down buildings to inspire "terror" in others).

And so, what ever Roark and Dominique's relationship up to that point, the question of whether or not Roark raped her comes down to whether or not he had sex with her by force. That we are shown Roark forcing Dominique, that we see her attempts to get away, and that we know that it makes her terrified all conspire to make me believe that yes, she is forced, and yes it is rape.

Dominique, who was in the best position to determine whether she had consented or was forced, came to the same conclusion.

Later, after the "rape" and after they meet again:

"I want to sleep with you. Now, tonight, and at any time you may care to call me. I want your naked body, your skin, your mouth, your hands. I want you--like this--not hysterical with desire--but coldly and consciously--without dignity and without regrets--I want you--I have no self-respect to bargain with me and divide me--I want you--I want you like an animal, or a cat on a fence, or a whore."

The thoughts of a shattered rape victim?

"Shattered"? Not particularly, though I don't know how highly I regard her mental state in general. While I'm not prepared to attempt a full character analysis of Dominique at present (nor do I consider it necessary to answer the question before us), if we agree with Marc K.'s claim about Dominique's "apparent split between mind and body," it is possible that she wasn't completely "whole" to begin with.

In any event, however she comes ultimately to regard Roark does not seem to me to be material. I don't know if you've ever read any erotica, but it's a common plot for a woman to be raped (or otherwise defrauded/connived into non-consensual or disagreeable sex), only to discover... that she likes it! Or that she wants more. Or that she should become her rapist's willing slave. But the initial character of rape cannot be retroactively changed because the victim later has positive feelings for her rapist. A hostage who experiences Stockholm Syndrome was no less taken hostage. A child abducted who grows to love his abductor was no less abducted. In every case, the perpetrator probably hopes to believe otherwise; that the fact of his abducted child's love changes the nature of his initial action, and shows that he acted rightly. But A remains A, and forcing someone to have sex is rape, even if they enjoy it, or later ask for seconds, or thirds, or marry their rapist.

And now, to reassess your question, let me answer this: "The thoughts of a rape victim?"

I've been raped...I've been raped by some red-headed hoodlum...I, Dominique Francon...

These are the thoughts of a rape victim.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well then, Howard Roark was a rapist and belonged in prison. Regardless of anything else about him, even were he a great artist, he was an evil human being. Correct?

And Dominique? Well right after (if not earlier in her life) she struck Roark across the face with the branch, Roark (or her father, etc.) should have called the authorities and Dominique should have been taken into protective custody, held for psychological evaluation and then perhaps committed to an asylum for the insane. She was obviously a threat to herself and others.

Two people get their just deserts. A rapist goes to prison, and if ever released lives out his life with the legal status and stigma and consequences of being a rapist. And a nut case's mental illness is identified and either treated with the latest psychotropic drugs in the hope that she can go on to live some semblance of normal life, or else she remains institutionalized for life. Or, as with Joseph Kennedy, Dominique's father could have properly requested that she be lobotomized, as was the young and rebellious and promiscuous Rosemary Kennedy, an embarrassment to her own father. If there were no cure for her mental illness, then at least she could be managed, loved and cared for.

The end.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What is the justification to have sex with someone if they resist?

The justification is if that is what they want you to do. I'm not sure of your gender so I'll speak from my perspective here: has a woman never asked you to have sex with her while she resists? Many women have that fantasy. My girlfriend wants me to do that very thing.

Now, you may object that getting permission ahead of time is not the same thing as what Howard Roark did, but I think it is and it speaks to what Ayn Rand said quoted by (hmmm, I thought it was Dante, I wonder if he edited it out) that "if it was rape, it was rape by engraved invitation" (I thought that was the quote and I thought I heard it before, can anyone confirm its authenticity?) Regardless, the book does make that point clear.

-- Edit -- Oh I see that quote was provided by DonAthos post #123

We'd have to presume that Roark is a mind reader.

Well, yes, and as it turns out he read her mind perfectly, as she admits: "One gesture of tenderness from him -- and she would have remained cold, untouched by the thing done to her body. But the act of a master taking shmeful, contemptuous possession of her was the kind of rapture she had wanted." -- pg. 218, Chapter 2 part II, 8 pages from the beginning of the chapter.

There are many more examples of her desire for him to take her as he did. Ultimately we know who she ends-up with. Would a rational woman marry her rapist?

Edited by Marc K.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know what underlies this topic. Do we want Roark to be perfect? Dominique to be virginal?

Did we expect Rand to write a silly Mills and Boone romance story?

I don't.

This was art, and tension is fundamental to art.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, I wasn't evading, actually I didn't have time, until now. By what virtue does Roark possess the ability to exert physical force and thereby dominate Dominique? Is it by virtue of the values he holds? Is it by virtue of his intellect, or the strength of his character, or his sense of life? No. The primary reason he is able to overpower Dominique physically is because he was born a male. In other words, he is able to overpower her and take her by force because of an accident of birth, and not by virtue of anything within his control or within the province of choice.

You, perhaps inadvertently, made a connection for me that I had not before noticed. You're right in that he was only able to do what he did because he was a man. It was a demonstration of her view of masculinity in its most appropriate context, that is, acting without apology and with full desire, upon a woman. You can, of course, disagree with her notions of masculinity(many do), but I think that is what she was trying to convey.

The building's destruction, I'm surprised to learn that anyone thinks was wrong. He made the realization that his "contract" had been totally violated and the justice system he lived under would not act to correct the wrongdoing, so he took away what he had given them. He took pains to insure that no innocent's rights had been violated and he was fully willing to accept any consequences that resulted. It might be argued that it wasn't sensible to risk, throwing his life away in prison, but the demonstration was that his sense of integrity was inviolable and allowing that monstrosity to continue existing would be an injustice he couldn't tolerate. If we lived in a world where just men weren't cowards, than that bastardized building would not likely have been built in the first place, but that's not the case, so it was and he had to act.

The fact that any brute can destroy a building doesn't mean that men who are not brutes ought to never destroy one. Which seems to be your same thought process with regard to the "rape" which, I would guess, stems from a mind-body dichotomy on these issues. That force and brute strength, as such, is wrong or amoral at best. Ragnar made the point that answers it best when he explained what happens when brute force meets force with a mind behind it. Force and action and masculinity all have their place, but never disconnected from the mind. I have no reason to think that Roark banging Dominique or blowing up the building was anything but, intimately connected to his mind and really his highest values.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In support of Dominique considering the act a rape:

Ok, but I think her considering and even describing it as "rape" only serve to illustrate the profound contradictions that existed in her estimation of the world. In fact I think there is just as much evidence in the quotes you provided to support my point of view, to wit:

"Through the fierce sense of humiliation, the words gave her the same kind of pleasure she had felt in his arms."

Do "humiliation" and "pleasure" go together in the mind of an unconfused person? Does a person who is raped feel "pleasure" from it?

The context of the Wynand quote is that Dominique is chiding him. Throwing it in his face that Roark knew what she wanted, while Wynand is impotent in this regard. She is essentially congratulating Roark for "raping" her.

Trebor's post is on point. Roark and Dominique were dancing with each other: she wanted him and he knew it and she knew he knew it -- would he have the balls to take her as she needed to be taken and would he turn out to be the only kind of man that she wanted to be taken by.

A couple of other quotes first from during the "rape" scene and then at the end of it:

"One gesture of tenderness from him -- and she would have remained cold, untouched by the thing done to her body. But the act of a master taking shameful, contemptuous possession of her was the kind of rapture she had wanted." -- pg. 218, Chapter 2 part II, 8 pages from the beginning of the chapter.

"She knew that she would not take a bath. She knew that she wanted to keep the feeling of his body, the traces of his body on hers, knowing also what such a desire implied. ..." pg. 219

These are not the thoughts of a rape victim. To say they are besmirches actual rape victims.

This is the description of a rape. Or, at the risk of being grotesque, at least allow me to observe that consensual sex in my (limited?) experience typically involves less terror, "hatred," and physical abuse.

The key words there are "typically" and "less". In other words, it is not unheard of, and I describe one situation to the contrary in my post to Eiuol. And again, let us remember what Dominique "hates": she hates the good for being the good in a world where the good doesn't win. She is "terrified" that Roark will be destroyed because he is good. Not only that, she considers him good for her.

What if, thereafter, Dominique was glad to have had this happen? Then she was glad to have been raped.

She is glad that a man existed in the world who knew what she wanted.

As to contradicting Rand "at my own risk," it's not Rand I fear contradicting -- it's reality.

Yes, of course. Now let us consider a person who in your estimation has never been out of contact with reality and whose descriptions always accurately describe it and whom you've never known to be wrong. Of course it is always possible that they could be wrong, but certainly you would give their opinion a very heavy weight, would you not? That is my estimation of Ayn Rand.

Edited by Marc K.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tyler, I'm not going argue at length about this. But I will clarify something you misunderstood about what I wroter earlier. When I used the word, "appeared," you interpreted the word from the perspective of a courtroom jury putting Roark on trial for rape. That's not what I was doing, and if you want to understand what the writer intended with the scene, you shouldn't either. I was talking about the scene in the context of a story which, among other things, clearly doesn't show Dominique suffering any emotional scars a rape victim would have suffered. Dominique is a complicated character who's entire purpose in the Novel was to show the inner emotional conflict of learning to worship heroes after believing they don't exist. This was one step along that journey.

You asked me, "Can't we clearly say, then, that if Roark 'forced' Dominique to have sex, then he raped her?" Of course we could, Tyler, that's the definition of rape. From a modern US courtroom's standpoint, that's what we'd conclude if we had video of the scene. From a literary standpoint, though, it's not rape, precisely because that's what Dominique desired. She wanted to be shown that people like Roark existed, and his fulfilment of her desire was part of how that was accomplished. I understand if Rand's choice in presenting this theme puts you off, but to rail against her intent his to misunderstand it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

... ... Did we expect Rand to write a silly Mills and Boone romance story?... ...
It's funny you say that, because the whole build up to the "rape" might be the place FH is most like Mills & Boone. I've heard that the Mills & Boone genre of women's fiction has a sub-genre where the guy is a rough, "worker" type who takes what he wants. I've only read one myself, and don't remember it. So, I cannot generalize, but I'm pretty sure Mills & Boone would not be an example of a contrast, more like a similarity. Googling finds an author who says:

Fifteen years ago, I read 20 Mills & Boon novels as research for a dissertation on "romantic fiction and the rape myth". It was the easiest piece of research I have ever done. In every book, there was a scene where the heroine is "broken in", both emotionally and physically, by the hero. Having fallen for this tall, brooding figure of masculinity, the heroine becomes consumed with capturing him. The hero is behaving in a way that, in real life, causes many women to develop low self-esteem, depression and self-harming behaviour - blowing hot and cold, and treating her like dirt. But all comes right in the end. After the heroine displays extraordinary vulnerability during a crisis, Mr Macho saves the day and shows her he cares

People complain about Mills & Boone; this author calls it "misogynistic hate speech". Yet, unlike FH, it is mostly read by women. Since those books sell well, and have endured for decades, it is clear that some women find value in this type of fantasy; equally clearly, people like the author I quoted do not. (Aside: It does not follow that the readers actually want this to happen, exactly like that in real life. It also does not follow that the roots of such a fantasy are psychologically healthy, though I don't see why not.)

As someone said in a previous post, in those Mills & Boone books (and in FH) the reader is allowed to enter into the mind of the participants. To some degree, what transpires next does so within this "ESP"-like context. This is true not just of the rape scene, but of other aspects of the book too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Isn't that sufficient for anyone to stop sexual pursuit in the moment? Why, yes, there is dramatization, and we know what is going on in Dominique's mind, but it is clear Roark didn't. Evaluating Roark's actions in the context seem to indicate a morally questionable act, regardless of if the action was rape. The scene is overall *strange* to me. What is the justification to have sex with someone if they resist? We'd have to presume that Roark is a mind reader. How did Roark, as an individual, come to decide that what he was doing was okay?

Actually, Roark DID know what was going on. He even warned Dominique, telling her to be careful and absolutely sure of the things she set in motion. She made it very clear, by hitting him, after Roark had sent someone else in his stead. Acting with such certainty on his judgement is also an important part of Roark's character. Most men would have bailed out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You, perhaps inadvertently, made a connection for me that I had not before noticed. You're right in that he was only able to do what he did because he was a man. It was a demonstration of her view of masculinity in its most appropriate context, that is, acting without apology and with full desire, upon a woman. You can, of course, disagree with her notions of masculinity(many do), but I think that is what she was trying to convey.

That connection, or the objection I raised, seems to have gone unnoticed in a great deal of the arguments I've seen in defense of the scene in question. I highly doubt that I'm the only one to draw attention to it, but to be honest I do not recall having seen anyone else mention it. The same objection applies to Ayn Rand's famously stating that a truly feminine woman would not aspire to be president (or something along those lines). This was a blatant concession to determinism, which she fervently rejected. It was to suggest that a woman ought not to aspire to the highest political office by virtue of the fact that she was born female. It's even more ill-fitting to know that that sentiment came from a woman who intellectually towered over virtually everyone else.

I most certainly do not agree that "acting without apology, and with full desire, upon a woman" is a proper or moral view of masculinity: in fact I think it much more aptly describes the mindset of a sexual predator than of a rational man.

This isn't to say that rough sex, or any sexual practice, if it's consensual, isn't, or couldn't be, perfectly proper for two (or more) adults. But, since I've now gone back and read the scene in question more closely (it's been several years since I first read it), I am inclined to agree with a few posters here and modify my previous view. In my prior post I said that, strictly speaking, Roark did not rape Dominique. I need to correct that. Strictly speaking, he did. It is only by virtue of the scene being a literary contrivance in support of the expression of a forceful philosophical and frankly erotic view that the action delineated can be thought of as any anything other than rape. Actually I can be charitable and say that as erotica it functions masterfully, even though that sort of thing is certainly not my cup of tea. I wouldn't force myself on a woman even if she explicitly asked me to. I would encourage her to find someone else, and judging by the state of modern internet porn, an industry which has happily met the demands of many a credit card-carrying consumer worldwide, I'd say that she would have no trouble finding a man who would be more than happy to serve it up just the way she wanted it. More power to the both of them. I am, however, all for sexual passion, and I've had my share of bleeding lips, scratches, and sore muscles. There's a lot of area between bland, warm-fuzzy cuddles and sexual assault.

The building's destruction, I'm surprised to learn that anyone thinks was wrong. He made the realization that his "contract" had been totally violated and the justice system he lived under would not act to correct the wrongdoing, so he took away what he had given them. He took pains to insure that no innocent's rights had been violated and he was fully willing to accept any consequences that resulted. It might be argued that it wasn't sensible to risk, throwing his life away in prison, but the demonstration was that his sense of integrity was inviolable and allowing that monstrosity to continue existing would be an injustice he couldn't tolerate. If we lived in a world where just men weren't cowards, than that bastardized building would not likely have been built in the first place, but that's not the case, so it was and he had to act.

The fact that any brute can destroy a building doesn't mean that men who are not brutes ought to never destroy one. Which seems to be your same thought process with regard to the "rape" which, I would guess, stems from a mind-body dichotomy on these issues. That force and brute strength, as such, is wrong or amoral at best. Ragnar made the point that answers it best when he explained what happens when brute force meets force with a mind behind it. Force and action and masculinity all have their place, but never disconnected from the mind. I have no reason to think that Roark banging Dominique or blowing up the building was anything but, intimately connected to his mind and really his highest values.

Okay, I see your points here and have nothing to add at the moment. Thanks for your responses and your time.

Edited by WilliamB
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You, perhaps inadvertently, made a connection for me that I had not before noticed. You're right in that he was only able to do what he did because he was a man. It was a demonstration of her view of masculinity in its most appropriate context, that is, acting without apology and with full desire, upon a woman. You can, of course, disagree with her notions of masculinity(many do), but I think that is what she was trying to convey.

I think this is right on the money. I believe that this is meant (in part, at least) as a dramatization of Rand's view of masculinity and femininity -- that men take and women are taken.

Perhaps it's relevant to this conversation (though maybe not?) that I've often found myself at odds with what I take to be these sorts of views, whenever I've encountered them. For instance, I do not believe that there is anything wrong with homosexuality. I do not believe that women are, by nature, unsuited for the presidency. In another thread, I recently encountered the view that wearing a "gender-neutral" cologne/perfume can "[cause] one to lose awareness of sexual identity." Perhaps there is some inconsistency rooted in my thought here?

Or, if Rand might have been mistaken with regard to some of her views on sexual identity, then perhaps this scene might manifest some of the confusion or contradiction that I would eventually expect. This might be the rubber meeting the road. After all, I don't believe that Rand would advocate the initiation of the use of force, and rape certainly falls under that category. And yet, I do believe that Roark rapes Dominique, perhaps as you've suggested here, as a demonstration of Rand's (in my opinion, mistaken) view of masculinity.

Ok, but I think her considering and even describing it as "rape" only serve to illustrate the profound contradictions that existed in her estimation of the world.

I think we need to take a step back for a moment to consider your suggestion here. I believe that you're saying, "Dominique thinks she was raped, but she's wrong."

Please consider: for Dominique to be wrong on this point, she would need to be wrong on the question of whether she consented to the sex that she and Roark had. Roark, in contrast, would have to know better than Dominique whether she gave consent. Well... what's the nature of consent, anyways? Since "consent" in this case alleviates another from the ban against "the initiation of force," and turns mind-destroying force into permissible violence (per FeatherFall's suggestion), can we really say that a person could consent to such a thing unawares?

On what grounds could I ever say to a woman, "You don't know it, because you suffer from profound contradictions, but you're consenting to sex with me right now!" And if she should try to physically fight me off and try to run and what-not, what then? Is that simply more evidence of those contradictions -- that the poor thing doesn't even understand that she actually wants to have sex with me, and has invited it? And if she describes the event thereafter as "rape" -- this is proof of her irrationality, not that I raped her?

Because I feel that this is the very case you're making re: Dominique.

Also. If the case is that Dominique was a very confused lady (which I think can certainly be made), then how can we say that the "romance" between her and Roark up to the rape, ably described by Trebor here, constitues a clear "consent" to everything that happens afterwards? I mean... if you're saying that she didn't know what she'd done, by calling what wasn't rape "rape," then why do we assume that she knew what she was doing in the first place? And if she didn't know what she was agreeing to -- if she was surprised, or even terrorized by Roark's actions (as is true) -- then exactly in what way did she consent?

Finally, if Dominique's actions up to the rape constituted some sort of an "implied consent," then what actions would she have had to perform to withdraw that consent? Would it resemble trying to fight Roark off? Trying to get away?

"Through the fierce sense of humiliation, the words gave her the same kind of pleasure she had felt in his arms."

Do "humiliation" and "pleasure" go together in the mind of an unconfused person?

No, I don't believe that they do. But you're right that this is perhaps an important insight. Perhaps the kind of (confused) person who could draw "pleasure" from humiliation is the same kind of person who could draw similar pleasure from contemplating the fact of having been raped.

Remember: the question of rape is the question of whether someone has been forced to have sex. It does not have to do with whether or not the victim experiences pleasure or pain, either physically during the act, or emotionally thereafter. (Also consider that during the description of the sex act itself, the word "pleasure" is used once -- to describe what Roark experiences -- and the word "pain" is also used once, to convey what Dominique experiences.)

To try to explain further by analogy, suppose a masochist is mugged and stabbed in the process. Perhaps the masochist (though I wonder) takes some sort of "pleasure" in his experience. If he does, it would not mean that he had not been mugged, or had not been assaulted. Even if afterwards he looks upon the incident with a fondness, that wouldn't mean that he had originally "consented to be mugged"; it would not change the money lost into a willingly granted gift.

Does a person who is raped feel "pleasure" from it?

Physically during the act? I'd think typically not, though I don't know that it's impossible. In a previous post, I suggested that it was a bit of a trope in certain kinds of erotica to present a rape in which the victim ultimately experiences pleasure.

For instance, here is a link to a short story entitled "Raping Lucy." Be warned: I skimmed though have not read it, but I've seen enough to not recommend it for generally any purpose other than making this particular point, and I'm sure it would be offensive to many or most.

I chose "Raping Lucy," because "rape" is in the title, so I guess the author intends to portray a rape. Also, this sentence in the opening paragraph caught my eye: "This is the story about how I 'tamed' Lucy, and gave her back some of the humiliation that she gave me." There's that word "humiliation." And in the end, you'll be happy to know (Spoiler Alert!) that Lucy climaxes. Perhaps the narrator of this tale, like Roark, knows what a truly feminine woman wants.

Or maybe I'm being saucy and unfair. I don't know, though I'm sure you don't care how some random porn on the Internet reads. My point is this: that however Dominique experienced her sex with Roark, either at the time or later in her memory, does not change the nature of the sex itself. If it was forced upon her -- and I believe that it was, and moreover that I've clearly demonstrated that it was -- then it was rape.

The context of the Wynand quote is that Dominique is chiding him. Throwing it in his face that Roark knew what she wanted, while Wynand is impotent in this regard. She is essentially congratulating Roark for "raping" her.

In isolation, I think this is a fine argument to make. Certainly, Dominique could be describing "rough-yet-consensual sex" as "rape" simply to goad him. But I think that the picture is different when taken together with Dominique's thinking of the act to herself as "rape," and then the description of the sex act itself, which clearly reads as a rape.

A couple of other quotes first from during the "rape" scene and then at the end of it:

"She knew that she would not take a bath. She knew that she wanted to keep the feeling of his body, the traces of his body on hers, knowing also what such a desire implied. ..." pg. 219

I think I've expressed as clearly as I can what I think about her later emotions, and whether those change the nature of the sex she's had -- i.e., they don't. That said, here she becomes aware of a post-coital feeling. That she becomes aware of it, and the implications of it, may help to show that she had not been aware of it before. In other words, perhaps it now occurs to her that there is something about "what just happened" that she enjoyed. But that doesn't mean that she was aware of enjoying it at the time, or most importantly (because it is upon this that the entire argument swings) that she agreed to it at any point.

And after all, let's remember what comes immediately before the passage you've selected:

She thought she must take a bath. The need was unbearable, as if she had felt it for a long time. Nothing mattered, if only she would take a bath. She dragged her feet slowly to the door of her bathroom.

She turned the light on in the bathroom. She saw herself in a tall mirror. She saw the purple bruises left on her body by his mouth. She heard a moan muffled in her throat, not very loud. It was not the sight, but the sudden flash of knowledge.

So initially she feels an "unbearable" (that is to say "not light") need to bathe. This is a typical (if not cliche) portrayal of a woman following a rape, wouldn't you say?

Then she has a "sudden flash of knowledge" -- that she does not wish to bathe, and what that implies. Does it imply that she "had consented before or during the sex"? No. Short of building a time machine, she will not change that actual history which has been captured on the pages of the novel. So she will continue to think of the act as "rape," which is appropriate, because that's precisely what it was. But might she take some pleasure in her "humiliation"? Perhaps, because Dominique is apparently that kind of girl.

"One gesture of tenderness from him -- and she would have remained cold, untouched by the thing done to her body. But the act of a master taking shameful, contemptuous possession of her was the kind of rapture she had wanted." -- pg. 218, Chapter 2 part II, 8 pages from the beginning of the chapter.

I understand "rape" being "shameful." But what is "shameful" in consensual sex? "Contemptuous"? What is "contempt"? Per Dictionary.com: "the feeling with which a person regards anything considered mean, vile, or worthless" and "the state of being despised; dishonor; disgrace." This all seems fully in line with understanding that "act" as being a rape, but is harder to square when viewing it as consensual sex.

Oh, and "rapture"? I'm glad it was the kind of rapture she had wanted, but rapture derives from rape. It also connotes "great pleasure," so it can serve precisely the double-purpose that I think captures what actually transpires on the page. Dominique was raped. And yes, she ultimately decides that she enjoyed it, and Roark's contempt for her, and her own humiliation. One confused cookie, that Dominique!

These are not the thoughts of a rape victim. To say they are besmirches actual rape victims.

In this case, they are the thoughts of a fictional rape victim. If they don't agree with the typical thoughts of actual rape victims, then neither do the thoughts of those victims in the erotica I've referenced, like poor/pleased Lucy. I'd fully understand if actual rape victims felt besmirched by either depiction, though I don't mean to speak for them. On the other hand, this is fiction, and I'll give a lot of leeway to individual characterization; I can accept Dominique as a rape victim who has thoughts like these -- it seems strange to me, but still possible.

The key words there are "typically" and "less". In other words, it is not unheard of, and I describe one situation to the contrary in my post to Eiuol. And again, let us remember what Dominique "hates": she hates the good for being the good in a world where the good doesn't win. She is "terrified" that Roark will be destroyed because he is good. Not only that, she considers him good for her.

I'm certain you're aware that your use of "terrified" -- Dominique's fear that Roark will be destroyed by the world -- has nothing to do with my use of the word, which is the description of her emotional state while supposedly having consensual sex.

Besides that, I'm not sure that you've hit upon the correct "key words" in what you've quoted. Actually, "typically" and "less" were an attempt at levity via understatement, to soften the "grotesque" nature of my point overall, which is something like this: consensual sex is not terrifying; it is not hate-filled; it is not abusive.

Now is that true in all cases, which is what I believe your point to be? No, I guess not. Perhaps when John Wayne Gacy had consensual sex with his wife (if he did?), he was filled with hatred...? Perhaps if Carrie White (from Stephen King's Carrie) had had consensual sex (did she?), she would have been terrified, on account of her abusive mother and her ignorance of her own proper bodily function...? And as for consensual sex being abusive...? Perhaps when David Carradine accidentally killed himself through auto-erotic asphyxiation (that's what happened, right?), he was being self-abusive?

Do you see what I mean about "grotesque"? Let's keep in context here the nature of sex and intimacy -- which I think we typically regard as being "good" (didn't Peikoff relay from Rand that "sex is good"? I thought I've heard that) -- and also our own personal experiences. Sex that is terrifying, hate-filled, and abusive is in no way healthy or normal. We would recoil from it. In fact, it sounds a lot like a rape, which makes sense in our particular case, because... that's the very thing we're talking about.

By the way, with regards to your post to Eiuol, I don't mean to implicate "rape fantasy," or all S&M play, or B&D, or etc. There's a difference between legit de Sade, wherein he wrote about rapes, murders, and assorted other atrocities, and folks who call themselves "sadists" because they lightly whip their partners' buttocks for mutual gratification. As you noted, in real life when we indulge in these sorts of things, we typically (will you call me out again on this word, I wonder?) go to even greater lengths than usual to have explicit consent for what's about to happen. In order to preserve an illusory quality that allows us to fully enjoy the fiction, we might devise a "safe word" so that we don't need further discussion on the issue of consent. We draw our lines clearly, both due to the underlying compassion and love we have for our partner (befitting the intimacy of a consensual sexual relationship) and also out of the common respect we have for not violating our partner by committing acts of force against them.

Roark and Dominique did not have "clearly drawn lines," or a "safe word," because instead of "compassion," "love," or "intimacy," they shared "contempt," "hatred," and "humiliation." He also did not respect the line of the initiation of force; he sought to violate her. They were not acting out a rape fantasy; instead, Rand was providing material for a rape fantasy (which, let's observe, is not watching others "pretend" to rape/be raped) -- that is to say, a rape.

She is glad that a man existed in the world who knew what she wanted.

At the risk of going all "Clinton" on you, there's "want" and then there's "want."

"Want" in the sense of something she generally lacked, and that ultimately wound up good for her? Yes, I'd say that Roark knew what she "wanted" in that sense.

"Want" in the sense of a desire she had of which she was conscious, and able to articulate in the form of consent? No. Roark didn't "know what she wanted" in that sense. He gave her what he wanted to give her, not what she had asked for or agreed to.

Yes, of course.

Just so we're clear, I didn't intend to be flippant to you in my response. I meant something which I consider to sometimes be a profound issue in the discussions I've had with other Objectivists, both here and elsewhere.

And also to be clear on this point, I don't mean to imply that I think lightly of Rand in any respect; quite the opposite -- I feel, as I'm sure that most here do, that she is the greatest single mind I've ever come into contact with.

It is for that reason that I feel I must pay scrupulous attention to my own processes, so that I don't simply acquiesce to her viewpoints, and preserve my own judgment as paramount. Would I want to "preserve my own judgment" on any given issue and be wrong? Never. But it is a risk I'm willing to take. A risk I must take.

Now let us consider a person who in your estimation has never been out of contact with reality and whose descriptions always accurately describe it and whom you've never known to be wrong. Of course it is always possible that they could be wrong, but certainly you would give their opinion a very heavy weight, would you not? That is my estimation of Ayn Rand.

"Give their opinion a very heavy weight"? I don't know that I can agree with that as stated, though I agree with much of the sense. (Or perhaps as I describe what I mean, it will become clear that we agree fully...)

If Ayn Rand says that "X is true," I will give deep and serious consideration to X. (Please observe, for instance, the lengths I have gone through in this single conversation we've been having. Yes, I continue to disagree with Rand, but I don't think I've treated this lightly.) However, the fact of her believing in X will not help me to assess whether I agree, in the end, that X is true. I can only agree that X is true when I've seen it for myself, or the opposite, and come to that Ayn Rand's opinion is not a factor at all. In the last analysis I give her opinion zero weight.

By the way, I'm not certain of all that "never been out of contact with reality and whose descriptions always accurately describe it" entails, but I regard "never" and "always" as being dangerous criteria. I've heard (but intend no claims, because I honestly don't know) that Rand went through a "Nietzsche phase" at one point in her life? Would that run contrary to your assessment of her...? Or, honestly, this isn't going to help us get to the root of our disagreement regarding rape, so feel free to disregard this section entirely.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tyler, I'm not going argue at length about this. But I will clarify something you misunderstood about what I wroter earlier. When I used the word, "appeared," you interpreted the word from the perspective of a courtroom jury putting Roark on trial for rape.

In "interpreting" the word "appear," I'm talking about the events of the scene as they "appear" to Roark, and "appear" to me, the reader. I think that I'm taking "appear" to mean precisely what it does mean, which is, "to have the appearance of being; seem; look; be clear or made clear by evidence." Among which evidence are Dominique's actions and mental state at the time of the sex act. The appearances do add up, and they add up to rape.

Yes, a courtroom jury would probably proceed along similar lines, because they're interested in knowing the truth of "what happened," just as I am. I know that it has been claimed that the events of fiction are not to be "objectively examined," but I disagree on that score. I don't know why an Objectivist should ever shrink from an "objective examination" of any situation, though I suppose that if objectivity is out the window, then this scene can be anything that anyone wants it to be. But if objectivity is in? Then Dominique didn't consent, and she was raped, clearly and to all appearances.

That's not what I was doing, and if you want to understand what the writer intended with the scene, you shouldn't either.

What the writer "intended"? Or what the writer actually wound up doing?

I can "intend" to write a piece which glorifies slavery. If I'm honest enough to my subject, however, and when the events of my story are "objectively examined," it may well be that I've not glorified slavery at all, but shown its horrors. What Rand "intended" does not really matter to me as regards this scene (or rather, that's interesting information in its own right, but is immaterial to the argument before us); she very well have meant to portray what she regarded to be masculinity in its full bloom, though that's speculation on my part. But what she did portray was a scene of rape.

I was talking about the scene in the context of a story which, among other things, clearly doesn't show Dominique suffering any emotional scars a rape victim would have suffered. Dominique is a complicated character who's entire purpose in the Novel was to show the inner emotional conflict of learning to worship heroes after believing they don't exist. This was one step along that journey.

That's fine. I wasn't talking about any symbolic or thematic aspect here. This can be a step along a journey; I have no problems with that. If, however, we're making the claim that some symbolic/thematic/"literary" understanding of this scene makes it therefore not rape, then we have an issue. It's putting the cart before the horse.

Look, hopefully you've read The Lord of the Flies. In it, there is a conch shell by which Ralph organizes the other children into a community... for a time. The conch comes to symbolize leadership, or civilization (or maybe that's more apt of Piggy's glasses), or something like that. The shell ultimately shatters, and it's not just a literal event but a symbolic one, too.

What is crucial to recognize, however, is that the shell's symbolic significance -- let's say as leadership -- utterly depends on first having a proper reading of the literal elements of the story. We must first recognize it as a conch shell. We must see what happens when Ralph finds it. When Piggy attempts to use it. How the other boys respond to it. And how their response changes over time. Etc. Thematic elements work the same way: they derive from the literal events of the story. Not vice-versa (though it is often the opposite of how the writer constructs his events -- from abstract to literal).

Before we can answer any questions about the significance of this sexual relationship between Roark and Dominique, and what it implies for their characters and for mind-body splits and for masculinity and femininity and for hero-worship, etc., before we can do any of that, we must first settle what actually happens. We cannot take it from anywhere, not even from the author, that "these are the themes that my work expresses" and then determine what the events of the novel "must be" to satisfy those intended themes.

On a very literal level, Roark and Dominique have sex. We can, and have, debated whether it was consensual sex. But if we decide that it's not, then it's rape. The themes flow from the actions (in reading, at least), and not the other way around.

You asked me, "Can't we clearly say, then, that if Roark 'forced' Dominique to have sex, then he raped her?" Of course we could, Tyler, that's the definition of rape.

Well, I stress this definition to demonstrate the faults in formulations like: "if Dominique enjoyed it, it's not rape"; or "if Roark and Dominique were 'in a dance', it's not rape" or "if Dominique didn't wind up with emotional scars, it's not rape," as you've suggested above. None of these things are true. If Dominique wasn't forced, it's not rape. But she was forced, as I feel I've demonstrated several times over, and it was rape.

From a modern US courtroom's standpoint, that's what we'd conclude if we had video of the scene.

Well of course. And also if we were read it as a written transcript. And also if we knew Dominique's internal state, which was terrified. And also if we knew that she thought of it afterwards as rape.

In all of those cases we would conclude it was rape, even if we simultanteously knew that Dominique had "invited" it by being flirty, and even if we knew that she decided afterwards that she'd enjoyed it.

From a literary standpoint, though, it's not rape, precisely because that's what Dominique desired. She wanted to be shown that people like Roark existed, and his fulfilment of her desire was part of how that was accomplished. I understand if Rand's choice in presenting this theme puts you off, but to rail against her intent his to misunderstand it.

"Rail"? :) Is that what you think I'm doing? "To utter bitter complaint or vehement denunciation." No. I've not been "railing" against anything, except for what I judged before to be incivility....

Rather, I've been exhausting myself mentally and physically to try explicate something that I've felt truly shouldn't be hard to grasp. A simple point of order, almost: look at this non-consensual, violent, terrifying sex -- isn't it clearly rape? I've kept my thoughts on the subject matter of rape, which I find depressing, and continue to run into the same objection ("but she wanted it") as though I have not considered it, and responded to it at length, a multitude of times and in a variety of manners. And actually, it's probably (past) time that I've desisted in my effort. After all, my case has been made to my satisfaction. You're right: a jury -- or anyone else committed to an objective assessment of the scene we've been discussing -- would agree with me that this is rape. In that, I'm satisfied.

If I see opportunity in the future to quickly add an important observation, I'll probably take it, but otherwise my thanks to everyone for the lively discussion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hate to revisit the word, "appears," but your argument that it appeared to be rape to Roark ignores the parts of the book that put the scene in context. Like I said, I'm not going to debate this at length. I will concede that there is some small amount of confusion created by Rand's phrase, "Rape by engraved invitation." If someone "invites" you to have sex with them, that's consent. If the activity is consensual, there is no force. No force means no rape. So, there is the confusion - obviously you can't have consensual rape. So, to resolve this contradiction you either take the entire book in context and conclude it was consensual, or you focus narrowly on the scene in question, evading the rest of the book, and conclude that it was rape.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hate to revisit the word, "appears," but your argument that it appeared to be rape to Roark ignores the parts of the book that put the scene in context. Like I said, I'm not going to debate this at length. I will concede that there is some small amount of confusion created by Rand's phrase, "Rape by engraved invitation." If someone "invites" you to have sex with them, that's consent. If the activity is consensual, there is no force. No force means no rape. So, there is the confusion - obviously you can't have consensual rape. So, to resolve this contradiction you either take the entire book in context and conclude it was consensual, or you focus narrowly on the scene in question, evading the rest of the book, and conclude that it was rape.

I am not ignoring anything in the book -- not "the parts of the book that put the scene in context." I've examined everything that has been brought up, and for reasons that I've taken the pains to elaborate, I have judged that they do not change the character of the sex scene. I'm not "focusing narrowly on the scene in question." I'm taking it together with Dominique and Roark's relationship leading up to it, and their relationship thereafter, and anything else you want to consider. Of course you can disagree if you choose, but I think that with everything taken together, that sex scene remains a scene of rape.

Nor am I confused by Rand's phrase "rape by engraved invitation," which is an evaluation like anyone else's, and does not form the text upon which I'm basing my judgment. Though I think that you're right that Rand's phrase is ultimately self-contradictory. In taking it back to the text to resolve that contradiction, I think you'll find nothing in the context you've referenced which "appears" to be an actual "engraved invitation," but something that does "appear" to be an actual "rape." So that seems to resolve the contradiction; instead of "rape by engraved invitation," it turned out to be the usual sort of non-contradictory rape.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wait, wait... I have more to say, dammit. But then I'm out -- I have to be out for my own sanity. Likely I'll impose a week-long ban on myself from logging in or something, so if I don't reply to something vital, my apologies.

But, I was reflecting on "what kind of context would allow me to construe the sex scene as 'not-rape'"? Follow my train of thought, if you will...

An actual, engraved invitation would do it. Suppose that Dominique handed Roark a card that said, in elegant, cursive font, "Please rape me tonight. Love, D." That would provide the required context. (It doesn't have to be engraved -- she could have said it.)

But then I realize that there are problems even there. Her suggestion of "rape" is as self-contradictory as the whole idea of "rape by engraved invitation"; we can read this as an invitation to "kinky Klingon sex," of course, but in granting permission the deed loses the very character of "rape." It becomes nothing more than the kind of "rape fantasy" that Marc K. had described.

Okay, so let's say that it's not "invitation to rape," but "invitation to rough sex." And now the question: does the invitation have to be literally engraved, or spoken? Or could it be an unspoken, though-clearly-given invitation? It could! So maybe that's the solution.

But there are problems there, too. Perhaps more than anything else, it would not be the full portrait of masculinity that I believe was intended. Roark responding directly to Dominique's invitation is not him taking her; it is, instead, as Rand suggested what a Peter Keating might do, in shifting the responsibility for seduction on to the woman. For Roark to truly be a man in this sense, he must do precisely that which he was not invited to do.

Also, I don't believe that Dominique would allow herself to be taken, in this or any other fashion. She had to be truly overcome.

Finally, had "her invitation" been to rough sex and not rape, I don't believe she would have been terrified during the act or thought of it afterwards as rape. She would have recognized it as the rough sex she'd requested.

So... let's suppose that on some deep, non-conscious level (where her femininity somehow "lives"), Dominique understood all of this. Let's say that she had some kind of vague awareness that she needed to be taken against her will, because she could never have willed for herself the things she deeply needed. Could she have asked Roark -- though somehow unaware of "asking" which would invalidate the entire premise -- to rape her in fact? So that during, Dominique could struggle against him genuinely (and not the playful struggles of a rape fantasy), and afterwards she could think of herself as having been raped in fact, and enjoy all of that delicious, delicious humiliation?

Perhaps this solves the riddle. But then I think... suppose I asked someone, whether outright or through this vague process described above, to "violate my rights through the initiation of force." So then they agree (after warning me, through a description of how certain marble is created, that I won't be able to control the results of my request), and they take out a gun and point it at my kneecap.

Suppose I'm terrified and attempt to beg off. "No, wait!" I say. "That's not what I meant!"

Well, now what? Have I rescinded my "implied consent"? Or is my response part and parcel to what I've somehow agreed to? Could my "rights violator" do anything which was outside the bounds of my initial request? Is there anything against which I could now assert my rights? Could he murder me, but then insist that it "wasn't murder," because I had wanted something which violated my rights, and thus his actions had "bypassed my consent" and given me what I'd asked for?

No. The idea of wanting someone to do what you do not want them to do is... ultimately self-contradictory, I find; it gives rise to the same sort of idea as "rape by engraved invitation," and fails due to the same defect. As a person cannot willing surrender their freedom, and thereby enslave himself, I don't believe that a person can, on any level, surrender freedom from the initiation of force. When I tell the person not to shoot me in the leg, I am asserting a right that I could not have given away. The nature of marble formation does not excuse him, if he opts to go ahead and pull the trigger.

Dominique's wordless rejection of Roark during the rape scene is as meaningful as any wordless invitation she might have offered previously, and it makes the character of the sex which follows rape. Which I think is precisely as Rand intended, because it had to be rape for Roark to fulfill his role as masculine man -- he could not be responding to her actual wishes in any sense, except for those deep down "feminine wishes" of which Dominique was not consciously aware; Dominique's struggles against him had to be genuine for her to be properly feminine. In short, I think that the apparent contradiction of "rape by engraved invitation," and our present controversy in trying to find a non-contradictory way of interpreting all these many events in The Fountainhead, finds its roots in a flawed understanding of sexual identity.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While I see some problems with your last post, Tyler, the last paragraph is definitely worth considering. I've never been completely comfortable with Rand's definition of femininity and masculinity, and I'd have to revisit the topics before reconsidering whether or not your explanation bears out. See you in a week.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now that I thought about it, that would seem to be the intention of the scene: to portray Rand's conception of masculinity. And perhaps we don't have to read it as rape. Whatever it was, I still would say that what Roark did was immoral. I do not think it is anything an admirable person would do. I do think the way the scene happened portrays masculinity as Rand wanted to, which to me actually shows additional reasons why masculinity (and femininity) are not concepts I think are important or good. It's probably worse that Roark continued after it was obvious that Dominique was strongly resisting. I think the point of the scene was to show Dominique being dominated entirely, which is a terrible thing to idealize. I'd see Roark as more admirable if he treated Dominique as an equal, not someone to be dominated in *any* context presented in the book. Post #140 has additional reasoning that I agree with. Rape or not, I don't see anything that was *moral* about Roark's actions here.

I don't care if it was rape or not. What would be more fruitful to discuss if Roark's actions were morally *good*.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dominique did in fact deliver an "engraved invitation" - to settle things by force. She delivered it the old fashioned way, by direct delivery. It was etched across Roark's face.

Roark was not responding to Dominique's wishes, serving her desires, helping her to express or discover her femininity, nor was he trying to fulfill his role as a masculine man. She aroused his desire, slashed him across his face, and he took what he wanted.

Edited by Trebor
Link to comment
Share on other sites

How many actual rape victims start a life-long love relationship with their rapists after the alleged "rape"? It is only "rape" if you drop the context of the entire novel and concentrate only on this one scene while purposely ignoring this context.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

John, are you suggesting that Dominique's the face slap was sort of like a dandy who takes off his glove and challenges another to a duel?

More like a lioness in heat taking a violent swipe at a lion that is after her, scratching him across the face, realizing he is after her, that he wants her. Instead of standing her ground, she takes off...knowing that he's still after her.

I've reread the rather brief part of the story, from when they first meet at the quarry to the "rape," and I've taken some notes:

Roark walked a couple of miles each way, from the town where he stayed to the quarry, each day he worked.

When Dominique first saw Roark, she thought that his face was the most beautiful face she would ever see, strength made visible.

Roark looked at her as an "owner," yet she could not turn away, and she kept looking at him, at his body, and she wondered what he would look like naked. She hated him. She hoped that his work hurt him.

Leaving that day, she remembered his hand on the granite. The memory, the image, frightened her.

"She thought of the many distinguished men whom she had refused. She thought of the quarry worker. She thought of being broken--not by a man she admired, but by a man she loathed. She let her head fall down on her arm; the thought left her weak with pleasure."

She stayed away from the quarry for a couple of days, then went back, standing above where he was working. He looked up. She did not turn away. He went back to his work. She wanted him to look at her again. He did not.

A few days later she returns to the quarry. Suddenly she sees him beside the path, not at a distance, staring at her. "Why do you always stare at me?" she asked sharply. He did not answer immediately, but kept staring at her. She was afraid that he wouldn't answer and it terrified her. "For the same reason you've been staring at me," he finally said. "I don't know what you're talking about," she said. "If you don't, then you'd be much more astonished and much less angry, Miss Francon," he answered.

She stayed away for days, visited neighbors who actually bored her, and relished the thought that they respected her all the while she was thinking of a quarry worker. A young poet drove her home, stopped the car and made a move on her. She was repulsed, got out of the car and walked home. She had had many men come on to her, but it had always amused her and left her feeling nothing, not repulsed. This time it repulsed her. Because of a man, a common laborer in a quarry, an insolent man who looked openly at her as a woman, not deferential to her station (her father owned the quarry).

She knew that he wanted her, admitted it to herself, and she knew that he would never have her and knew the suffering it would cause him.

She tried, with all her strength and many blows, to break the marble slab in her bedroom, went to the quarry, directly up to Roark, and asked him to come to her house to replace a piece of broken marble. He treated it as a simple request to hire him to do some job, and she thought the tension between them was lost, but then she realized, in his "natural acceptance of an unnatural offer," that it was still there, only more intimately so. She felt the shame and pleasure which he always gave her.

He came to her home, went up the stairs to her and followed her to her bedroom where she pointed out the "broken" piece of marble.

"He said nothing. He knelt, took a thin metal wedge from his bag, held its point against the scratch on the slab, took a hammer and struck one blow. The marble split in a long, deep cut.

"He glanced up at her. It was the look she dreaded, a look of laughter that could not be answered, because the laughter could not be seen, only felt.

"He said: "Now it's broken and has to be replaced."

He worked on the marble. They talked - forces and pressures. When he was done, he asked her if she would like him to install the new marble when it arrived. Yes, she did.

When the marble finally arrived, she sent him a note to let him know. He sent a note back, "You'll have it set tonight."

Roark sent someone else to set the marble.

"She had to get out of the room. She had to run, not to be seen by anyone, not to be seen by herself if she could escape it.

"She stopped somewhere in the garden and stood trembling, pressing her fists against her eyes. It was anger. It was a pure, single emotion that swept everything clean; everything but the terror under the anger; terror, because she knew that she could not go near the quarry now and that she would go."

She rode her horse to the quarry, but knew that he had already left, so she race off towards her home, stopping to tear a flexible branch from a tree, stripping off the leaves, using the branch as a whip to goad the horse to go faster.

"She felt as if the speed would hasten the evening on, force the hours ahead to pass more quickly, let her leap across time to catch the coming morning before it came. And then she saw him walking alone on the path before her."

She raced up to him and stopped abruptly.

"Why didn't you come to set the marble?," she asked.

"I didn't think it would make any difference to you who came. Or did it, Miss Francon?

"She felt the words not as sounds, but as a blow flat against her mouth. The branch she held went up and slashed across his face. She started off in the sweep of the same motion."

Later that night, on to her scent, the lion found the lioness.

[my bolds]

Edited by softwareNerd
Fixed typos
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...