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The Road To Escape: An Analysis Of Acting And Role Playing

1166 words - 5 pages

Acting is the performing of a position or the role of a character for a temporary amount of time. Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road, a tragic novel, challenges the preconceived notion that the 1950’s was a cheerful time where everyone had the perfect lifestyle in the Suburbs by introducing his readers to three distinct characters who are anything but pleased with their life. Yates proposes the idea of escape as a common thread in society of which everyone dreams, but no one can capture. Due to their desire to escape reality, April, Frank, and Helen turn to acting and role playing to change their personalities through hiding flaws, putting on a happy façade, and playing house.
Throughout his life, Frank struggles to find his place causing him to take on the role of a strong, attractive, masculine man, thereby hiding his weak side. With the help of mirrors, Frank is able to adjust his face through “tightening his jaw and turning his head a little to one side to give a…commanding look” (Yates 16). By doing this, he gives off a more masculine vibe. Often he chooses to do this when he is around April so she notices that Frank is a real man. Through physical strength, Frank is also able to prove his masculinity. During a fight between Frank and April on Route 12, Frank swings “out one trembling fist…and brought the fist down on the roof of the car” to not only prove his strength to April but to all the cars passing by (Yates 29). Frank tends to be blinded by his insecurity of unmanliness and as a result makes bad decisions. April gets pregnant twice and knows that she is not responsible enough to take care of them, nor does she want them. April turns to the idea of an abortion, but Frank finds out and immediately talks her out of it because there is no “better proof of manhood” than someone bearing his child (Yates 53). Focusing on proving himself, Frank does not realize the repercussions of April not following through with the abortion (sp12). Frank also puts himself in a situation where he could lose April, who he loves, and has an affair with Maureen. But, it made him feel “like a man” and that was enough (Yates 53). Driven to prove his masculinity to everyone around him, particularly April, Frank chooses options that could ultimately hurt him in the end.
April’s life, similar to Frank’s life, foreshadows doom due to her love of acting since adolescence, but as she continues to mature, the lines of acting and reality are blurred causing her to live a life of disappointment. Hoping to follow her dream, April chooses to join the amateur yet serious acting group, the Laurel Players. On stage, April is graceful, beautiful, lovely; however, this all melts away when she leaves the stage, and she turns into a “graceless, suffering creature” with “red eyes” and a “false smile” (Yates 13). April easily can transform herself into someone she is not. Even though she loves acting, April ultimately is disappoint by the Laurel Players. She expects a great...

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