Part IV Chapters 6-10
Toohey is the guest of honor at the enormously wealthy Mitchell Layton's dinner party. He pontificates: "only when we accept total compulsion can we experience total freedom (553). The other guests are people Toohey has put in power in various positions around the City: "it's stupid to talk about personal choice,?one mutters. "There is no such thing as a person?(556). They take turns parroting Toohey's philosophy, stating insipid inanities and denigrating Wynand. Toohey becomes ever more excited as he walks home from the party and looks at the City and tells himself, "you can make the thing crumble into a worthless heap of scrap iron?(560).
Keating has been on the skids ever since Francon retired. His work is considered old-fashioned and he doesn't have the people skills of Francon who kept the commissions rolling in. Becoming ever more depressed, he puts on weight and becomes swollen from excessive drinking: "he had accepted the process of going down, long ago?(561). He asks his mother to move back, and she suggests he marry. To find peace, he goes to a shack in the woods where he paints in the manner of his youth. He realizes his only way to survive is to gain the commission for a large government housing project called Cortlandt Homes. After asking Toohey to consider him for the job, Toohey says that he can only suggest but not make the final decision. If Keating can design livable low-rent buildings, the job will be his. Keating gives it all he has but is forced yet again to call on Roark for help.
Keating finally takes off his mask and talks frankly and honestly to Roark. "I'm a parasite. I've been a parasite all my life?(575). He tells him about the Cortlandt project and how gaining the commission would save his life. He tells Roark he wants him to design the project but put the name Keating on it. Roark tells him he will design the project as long as Keating agrees that absolutely no changes will be made. Keating will handle all the agencies and for this he will get all the glory and money, while Roark will get the satisfaction of seeing his work completed: "you must love the doing,?he tells Keating, "not the secondary consequences?(579). To Roark's great surprise, Keating understands and says that Roark will get the better part of the deal. Keating shows Roark his paintings, and Roark tells him honestly that it is too late. For the first time ever, Roark feels pity and wonders that society honors "this monstrous emotion as a virtue?(583).
Wynand's friendship with Roark continues to grow and Dominique realizes that it is "the three of them?that belong together (586). When Toohey views the Cortlandt project drawings, he howls with laughter, heartily congratulates Keating, calls him a genius, and assures him the commission will be his. Roark enjoys designing Cortlandt Homes, creating them out of cost-effective materials making them not only functional, but beautiful. Wynand has become Roark's greatest fan and orders the Banner to promote him as a brilliant architect. However, as Heller informs Roark, Wynand's negative reputation might work against him when it comes to support from the intelligentsia. Wynand takes Roark to view his old Hell's Kitchen neighborhood from which he emerged. For years he has been building all the surrounding property and since having met Roark, he is finally ready to have him build the Wynand Building which is to be the highest building in the City: "yours-from me?(593).
One rainy evening Keating meets his old flame Katie whom he left at the altar, so to speak. He abjectly apologizes to her and assures her he really did want to marry her. But the old Katie is dead, replaced at the hands of her uncle by a do-gooder selflessly intent of curing all the ills of the world. Over tea, she tells him that she suffered when he married Dominique but she was young then and got over it by dedicating her life to others. He realizes sadly: "one can't put on an act like that-unless it's an act for oneself, and then there is no limit, no way out, no reality?(600). Why couldn't he ever do what he really wanted, he asks her, and she dismisses him impatiently and leaves.
In a short time, Roark and Wynand become such close friends that to Dominique they seem joined at the hip. One morning they find themselves alone before sunrise and just look at each other without speaking. Dominique realizes that they, the three of them, belong together. While in the preceding chapters Rand posits Roark as the savior of Wynand, here she demonstrates that he can also help Keating redeem himself. His ability to see that Roark isn't merely rescuing him but doing the Cortlandt Homes job for the sake of the work itself, without money and glory, speaks well for him. His meeting with Katie also prompts him into greater self-awareness and he fully recognizes that he is responsible for destroying the Katie that once was. Earlier on with Dominique, Keating showed the ability to think clearly, and here is given a second chance. It remains to be seen if he will succeed. Roark has never pitied anyone, including Wynand, however, and his pity for Keating foreshadows a negative outcome.
Wynand becomes increasingly aware of the detrimental influences against him, including the editor he has employed for years. He turns a spiritual corner by working hard to make the Banner a better, more dignified newspaper and finds to his delight that Dominique now allows it in their home. In a manner of speaking, both Keating and Wynand are fighting for their souls, with Wynand at this point in the lead.