Revolutionary road critical essay

Revolutionary Road is his best known work.

Revolutionary road critical essay

Download this essay In his novel Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates explores just what it means to attempt to lead a revolutionary life in s American suburbia. He describes the cultural landscape of conformity and the struggle for sameness that pervade this era: His description conjures for the modern reader the familiar image of the perfect smiling suburban family standing behind their white picket fence, the father heading off to work in the city in his gray flannel suit, the mother waving in her apron and pearls while ushering the children off to school.

Scholars have, however, developed a range of theoretical work relevant to certain prominent themes in Revolutionary Road.

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates | Books | The Guardian

While this general idea of containment applies to most Americans living in suburbia in the s, women in particular faced an even more oppressive culture, as explicated by Betty Friedan in her discussion of the Feminine Mystique.

The double pressure that results from the combination of these two cultural phenomena created a repressive social and mental environment for the suburban American housewife, a theme Yates explores in his novel. All her counterintuitive actions are attempts to assert what little independence and control she can in the face of the containment she experiences both as a member of American suburbia and as a s housewife.

She is continually Revolutionary road critical essay in her attempts at independence and grows increasingly more frustrated; these frustrations build up to her eventual suicide. The crushing of her revolutionary spirit reflects the plight faced by millions of women of this era who struggled with balancing their true personalities with societal expectations.

By tracing her attempts to reconcile her various roles throughout the novel, we can illuminate the elusive minds of not only April but the silenced class of women she represents, one fighting to defy social and gender rules.

We can also understand her suicide as a desperate grasp at freedom in the context of a hypocritical American society obsessed with containing its members under the guise of freedom. Although containment affected most Americans of the era, Betty Friedan first discusses the sense of containment pertaining specifically to women of this era.

In particular, she addresses the plight of the suburban housewife suffocated by social expectations and trapped by her white picket fence. The dual constrictions of social and gender containment pressed upon postwar American women and presented themselves as an opponent to the freedom of these women in society.

This containment can only be circumvented by undertaking diverse roles in hopes of finding one that both rejects social convention and reflects the inner personality of the individual American woman. She has found a calling beyond the drudgery of cooking and cleaning and caring for children, and her suburban community has noticed her for it.

But Yates illustrates the inevitability of containment as April unwillingly slips back into her suburban reality.

Sabrina Patrizio

This suffocating containment propels April toward her next attempt to break out of her role as well as her surroundings, as she suggests that the Wheeler family relocate to Paris so she can work and Frank can find himself Yates — Such social upheaval appears ridiculous and frightening to Frank, who tries to identify so strongly with the middle-class man.

Because she subconsciously perceives them as one of the forces trapping her, April exhibits mainly feelings of resentment, impatience, and frustration towards her children. When her daughter Jennifer misunderstands her instructions regarding the disposal of certain toys before going to Europe, April snaps: I just finished explaining all that.

Revolutionary road critical essay

This last foiling of their European plan comes in the realization that April is once again accidentally pregnant. Once again, April responds to encroaching threats upon her potential independence with a radical proposition, resurfacing her abortion plan.

And by doing so, Frank maintains control over his wife and her actions, thereby further containing her. April embraces this idea, as both relief and rebellion, when she tells Shep: But even this liberal dose of independence and rebellion cannot satisfy April, because, as the reader learns, her dissatisfaction with life runs far deeper than previously imagined.

In these few lines, April reveals the truest problem in her life—the question of her ill-defined identity. The reader remains left with the pressing question: Even her voice is contained until the very last moments of her life, as Yates writes from every point of view but hers until the one of the last chapters of the novel She is alone in the house, as Frank has just left and the children are with the Campbells.

Revolutionary road critical essay

She has been so utterly defeated by her containment that all she can do is cry. In the midst of her tears, April is able to reflect on her past and acknowledge her mistakes. How could anyone hate him? However, April fails to realize that it is, in fact, the society in which she lives that contains her, both as a suburbanite and, more importantly, as a woman.

These social conventions so stifle her independence that she sees only one way out of a life of miserable containment: Yates implies in his novel the fundamental dilemma underlying that last statement. America has, from its very conception as an independent nation, touted ideals of freedom for all.

At the time in which Revolutionary Road was written, women had retained the right to vote for several decades. It was even socially acceptable for women to wear pants instead of skirts. But this was, and still is, a far cry from freedom. From her peers to her children to her husband and other men, the postwar housewife received constant reminders of what she should be, stifling any expression of what she was.

This suffocating impact of feminine containment so strangles April Wheeler that she sees one drastic remaining escape route:Oct 05,  · Yates is an American novelist and short story writer. Revolutionary Road is his best known work. (See also Contemporary Authors, Vols. , . And april persuasive essay women athlete a revolutionary war the revolution essay homework essay; off road critical essay, reflective thinking, best titles.

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The Concept of American Dream in the Revolutionary Road Over the years, many heroes and heroines especially from the West fought so hard in order to give people unlimited opportunities, freedom, material prosperity and individual happiness. In his novel Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates explores just what it means to attempt to lead a revolutionary life in s American suburbia.

He describes the cultural landscape of conformity and the struggle for sameness that pervade this era: “a kind of blind, desperate clinging to safety.

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