When he met with Roark about the Wynand Building, Gail Wynand repeatedly spoke of his death as if it were imminent, and his life as if it were essentially over at that point. For example:

I told you once that this building was to be a monument to my life. There is nothing to commemorate now. The Wynand Building will have nothing - except which you give it.

He also stated:

I have not mentioned the financial part of the undertaking. It is an open secret that the so-called Wynand empire is dead. It is sound and doing as well as ever throughout the country, with the exception of New York City. It will last my lifetime. But it will end with me. I intend to liquidate a great part of it... I presume you will want to make the structure efficiently economical in maintenance costs. But you do not have to consider the return of the original investment. There's no one to whom it must return.

Is he implying that he's going to unwind his empire and then commit suicide?

2 Answers 2


He didn't care about returning an investment to anyone because he was going to unwind the entire empire:

It will last my lifetime. But it will end with me. I intend to liquidate a great part of it.

The phrase "It will last my lifetime" and his stated intention to liquidate his empire suggests that he was not, in fact, expecting to die shortly after their conversation. Unwinding his empire would likely take time, for one thing. Also, it would make little sense to talk about the empire being sound enough to last his lifetime if he was talking about a timespan of days or weeks.


He doesn't have children so there will be no one to leave it to once he's dead. I don't think he'd waste his time building it if he was just gonna kill himself right after because what then would be the point?

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    Hi and welcome to Literature Stack Exchange. Is this statement based on observation of general human behaviour or on reading the book? Since you don't cite the book, how can readers of your answer determine that it is plausible?
    – Tsundoku
    Commented Feb 2, 2021 at 10:25

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