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Hopeless Emptiness in “Revolutionary Roads” by Richard Yates Essay

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Updated: Oct 25th, 2021

Introduction

The rediscovery and transformation of the novel taken under consideration which goes by the name of Revolutionary Road and has been written by Richard Yates are outstanding in great component to its long-lasting affecting and ethical character for untimely 21st-century distribution. In the novel, we see April and Frank Wheeler as a youthful, presumably flourishing couple who lives a contented life with their two offspring in a well-to-do Connecticut neighborhood in the middle of the 1950s. On the other hand, the self-confident peripheral masquerades a slithering aggravation at their powerlessness to feel rewarded in their associations or occupations. April is a housewife who as yet grieves for the downfall of the career that she had always wished for.

The disturbances that take place in April’s life as well as her failures play a major role in her depression. The depression leads her to make decisions that could have had alternatives. With all of the emptiness that is present in her life, she lets depression take over her body and soul. She makes a decision with her husband to move to France believing that it would give both of them the opportunity to achieve their goals. But even this decision turns out wrong and causes differences between the couple, because of which their connection depreciates into a never-ending sequence of internal strife, covetousness, and accusations, their journey, and their imaginings of self-fulfillment are destroyed completely.

Analysis

Yates’s penetrating, heartrending, and time and again very humorous writing style puts together an account that is right away a mesmerizing epoch piece and a clairvoyant expectation of the approach we have towards life these days.

The main female character of the book is April Wheeler, who is an extremely depressed person. April puts up with disappointment and terror, with pregnancy and aspiration, and what is most is that she wants to escape. Late in the novel, April calls out that she does not know who she really is or what her personality really is like. This shows just what a depressed character April is because of her lost dreams. April is thumped around by her husband who hits her if she even dares to speak without her turn. Not only are her career dreams shattered but she also lives with a man who does not seem to like her anymore.

April has been presented as an archetypal fifties housewife whose only responsibility left now is to take care of her two children. She being an unsuccessful would-be actress commences the novel in a neighborhood pretentious group play which turns out to be a disaster. This is where she starts feeling unhappy about her life. The play begins with the first drama of their neighborhood dramatic production, where she performs extremely badly. As the author says, “She was working alone, and visibly weakening with every line. Before the end of the first act, the audience could tell as well as the Players that she’d lost her grip, and soon they were all embarrassed for her. She had begun to alternate between false theatrical gestures and white-knuckled immobility; she was carrying her shoulders high and square, and despite her heavy make-up you could see the warmth of humiliation rising in her face and neck” (Yates, p.9).

After this embarrassing act, the couple discusses tactics to break away from suburbia to go get settled in Paris which would give them the chance to try for their careers; where April would get hired and Frank will discover what he in actual fact wishes to do in his life. Unluckily April gets expectant once more and this chucks away their plans completely. It is the wish of the father that is frank to have the baby, while on the other hand, April wishes to go for an abortion. When she says that she does not want to go ahead with having the baby, Frank rejects and recommends that she take up psychotherapy. The discrepancy forces the Wheelers away from each other and they dispute appallingly. Eventually, it is decided by April to do things her way and she tries to abort the fetus which eventually causes her own death. This is a decision that was taken by herself in her loneliness where she feels being alienated from the world. She starts taking everything in a negative manner and never considers anything else. In the words of the author, describing the intensity of April’s loneliness and the rationale that she had behind taking this decision about her life as well as of the child’s, “She was calm and quiet now with knowing what she had always known, what neither her parents nor Aunt Claire nor Frank nor anyone else had ever had to teach her: that if you wanted to do something absolutely honest, something true, it always turned out to be a thing that had to be done alone” (Yates, p. 311).

The life that is led by April is one that is hollow, silent and she feels helpless. April is a character who was at some point in time been an independent person, has developed into being ensnared in her uptown life and that too with children she never even wanted to have. What is more, is that she has friends who she does not remember that she had ever liked in the first place. All of these factors are rather important, which make her life more miserable. The absence of love is yet another factor that has destroyed April. The feelings of emptiness that are felt by her take such control over her feelings that all of her decisions are affected by it.

Conclusion

In the light of the above discussion, we can hereby culminate that Revolutionary Road is a well-known novel written by Richard Yates which presents to us the emptiness that is felt by April Wheeler which leads her into making decisions on her own without looking at the other aspect of things.

Works Cited

Yates, Richard. Revolutionary Roads. United States of America. Vintage. ISBN-10: 0375708448.

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IvyPanda. "Hopeless Emptiness in "Revolutionary Roads" by Richard Yates." October 25, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/hopeless-emptiness-in-revolutionary-roads-by-richard-yates/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Hopeless Emptiness in "Revolutionary Roads" by Richard Yates." October 25, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/hopeless-emptiness-in-revolutionary-roads-by-richard-yates/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Hopeless Emptiness in "Revolutionary Roads" by Richard Yates'. 25 October.

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