Should you follow your deep-down dreams and beliefs even though they are hard or should you conform to society because it is easy and comfortable? This is one of the questions that Revolutionary Road delves into and explores.-
Yates portrays 1950's surburban life as suffocating, shallow and tedious. April and Frank are a couple that are desperate to escape this stereotypical existence for a more passionate and fulfilling life. They end up creating this romantic illusion of living in Paris where they can reverse roles, with April going to work so Frank can stay at home, until he decides what he most wants to do with his life instead of working in a monotomous office job. However, when insecurities creep up on them cracks start to appear in their seemingly 'perfect' plan and all ends in tradgedy.
Even after reading it I still can't decide whether I like April and Frank Wheeler as characters or not. They are both selfish people in a way and very frustrating. They both have mutual ideas to start with but when they start to differ that is when they clash and become close-minded. They both want to be these great people but when it evolves that this may never happen, one backtracks and tries to settle for the best of what they already have whilst the other will not settle for anything less than greatness.-
I feel the whole Paris plan was a ruse to avoid the real issue of them not loving each other. That they are in fact the reason they are so tired of life. The thought of starting over probably made them feel invincible and exciting until they realised the person that they where married to wasn't the idealised creation they had brainwashed themselves into believing.-
This novel is fundamently about people wishing for their own identity and living a worthwhile life whilst at the same time trying to escape the mundane. Yates has told a story with shocking truth that picks apart the surface of people's lives and can dig deep down to the bones. He can really manipulate his characters into seeming fantastic and ambitous one minute to petty and ridiculous the next. He has an almost cold approach to human nature but he seems to have this instinctual understanding of it.-
It makes you question what's important in life and invokes in you the need to follow your dreams, the problem being can you do it without being selfish?-
(I actually watched the film first before I read the book so I don't know whether that altered by view or not.)
Random Passage: Franklin H. Wheeler poured himself a glass of ice-cold orange juice, the color of the sun, and sipped it slowly at the kitchen table, afraid it would sicken him to take it all at once. He had successfully righted the course of his life but he felt himself more than ever a victim of the world's indifference. It didn't seem fair.