Howard Roark, the protagonist of the story is an architect and a firm opposer of collectivism. It is his firm belief than only an individual's vision can be effective in producing genuine art. Mediocrity in art may get rampant if interference by committees and councils is allowed. The Fountainhead is his journey against tradition and his fight against the system.
Peter Keating, Howard's arch rival has beliefs that are the opposite of Howard.'s There are also others that stand in Howard's way. Dominique Francon, the heroine of the story is shown to emerge as a strong, independent woman as the story develops.
Through much of the book the author has expressed her strong personal views against collectivism through the protagonist. It is a journey of a single person against an entire tradition and system to break free. Will Howard survive the war or will be forced to accept the system?