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Revolutionary Road And Escape Essay

677 words - 3 pages

In Richard Yates’ fictional novel Revolutionary Road, April Wheeler, Frank Wheeler, and John Givings all seek escape from their current captive situations in suburbia; however, while April and Frank employ concrete methods of escape, the mentally unstable John Givings has no solid plan of escape. Foremost, April Wheeler is a young woman seeking freedom and independence, which also means getting away from her suburban life. She first attempts her escape when she joins the Laurel Players in a production of The Petrified Forest. Full of hope, April dreams of something different and exciting. Her dreams are crushed when the play crashes and burns. Her face that she puts on for the stage, bright, glowing, and covered with makeup, represents her dreams for something bigger. Once she fails, she retreats back to suburbia, removing her makeup and revealing a “graceless, suffering creature” with a “constricted” appearance and a “false” smile ...view middle of the document...

Like April, her husband Frank Wheeler wants to escape the monotony of suburbia and keep a sense of his own identity. He view himself as “superior to” other people around him, according to author Anthony Giardina. Working in a mind-numbingly dull job and living in an average home, he fights against the contamination suburban life causes. In order to maintain his sense of self, he takes a job at a boring place, The Knox Building, to not let what he does define who he is. His plan backfires on him; Frank becomes an automaton, deriving no feeling or passion throughout the day and performing tasks as a robot would. He realizes this and questions why he continues to live life this way. Symbolizing his life, the stone path he is constructing at his house is difficult, and he comes across many obstacles. Frank only is working on it to appear manly, when in reality, he has done nothing. His wife no longer thinks that he is manly, so he has an affair with Maureen Gruber, a girl who works at his office, to regain his sense of control over life and of women. When April wants to give him a chance “to find himself” by moving to Paris, he agrees after having to be persuaded (Yates 114). In actuality, this opportunity frightens Frank. For his entire life, he has attempted to convey his superiority and intelligence, but his identity has remained static. Full of worry, Frank does not want his wife to see that he is too lazy to find himself. Finally, John Givings, a college graduate and a teacher, has been mentally disturbed for a long time. He lives normally, until one day he breaks away from suburban monotony just as April and Frank hope to do. Despite his desire for escape, he has no concrete plan. Quitting his job and going to his parents’ home, he holds them captive for three days. He keeps asking them for things, but he does not know what he actually has come for. As a result of his indecision and confusion, he is taken to the state insane asylum. Ultimately, the author intends to convey that April, Frank, and John all want to escape from their suburban lives and find their identities, but without taking concrete actions to achieve their goals, their attempts at escape will never succeed.

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