Monday, April 01, 2002

The Howard-Dominique Relationship: From The Very Beginning

Here was her hero: the innovator who created those objects of beauty, of which she violently destroys, every single time encountered, for fear that they become abused by one who cannot fathom nor bear their greatness. This love, thus, she must deny. He forces her, however, to acept all that she loves him for as the undeniable way moral practicality that the world will accept, must accept (eventually). In terror of such blasphemy against her paradigm, she fights but does no real harm against him, and his progress is really still in the main. He violates her, defiles her virginity and gives her the fleeting intimate taste of his greatness, ability to survive through will; he scorns her errorneous pessimism that he will fail, and she returns, (generalized quote) "You have no right to do this! We are even of different status. You don't know how much pain I will be in if I see you die at the hands of someone else.."

So, obviously, being raped by the genius Howard Roark isn't that convincing of a situation; her views are not changed at first rape, and she becomes even more pessimistic, so much more that next they meet, she decides she must destroy him, lest someone else does for a purpose less noble!

Q: Why does Dominique resist Roark, despite the fact that she seems obviously lovesick for him?

A. T'was the thing she "had thought about, expected..." The direct showing of his invincibility against all the malevolence this world would cast upon him, the evilness she thought would kill him via her pessimistic world view.

"... an act of scorn... Not as love, but as defilement. And this made her lie still and submit. 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 wanted."

Her pessimism forbids her from allowing herself to truly love Roark; she knows that she will only be broken: he will be destroyed, as all modern heroes = martyrs in her view. Thus, "love" becomes defilment: defilement of her virginity, her pessimistic world view. Such an objective stance at proving her wrong allowed her to submit to the "thing one could not bear longer than a second."

One bit of unsureness (tenderness) from Roark, and Dominique would not submit, and her pessmism would re-surge fullswing as its usual indestructable bulwark. Roark's lovemaking is objective; he forces him upon her once he knew their passion is mutual; the last meeting in the forest, where she swiped him across the face with her riding lash due to his non-chalence, solidified this knowledge. Moreover, he forces his love upon her because he wants to prove to her his "super-sureness" about himself; his integrity penetrates Dominique's pessimism for an instant and it allows her to submit to a world where such a being may prosper.

T'is the thing that she "could not have known, because this was not part of living..." Her pessimism decreed that such rapture -- such ultimate intimacy from one whom she idolizes, but knows cannot exist, or if existing, not for long -- is impossible in reality. And perhaps it is... she spends nearly all of the rest of the book rejecting this "one second," as she teams up with Toohey to destroy him -- for the sakes of mercy for Roark.