“Revolutionary road” a book by Richard Yates has been hailed for its view on conformity
in the topic of identity. In the book revolutionary roads April and Frank wheeler are the main
antagonist and protagonist are imbibed into the American dream of bringing up children and
living in the suburbs. The suburbs were considered as a sweet escape from town life and were
ideal for the middle class. Suburbs brought about deception and the notion of people who had the
American dream in mind. The middle classes viewed suburbia as a middle-aged paradise for
people who had only the American dream in mind. Maintaining one’s identity and true self is
difficult when one is around a false image of affluence. As such the paper will focus on the book
in relation to identity.
The original purpose for the suburb’s creation was to be an escape from the hectic town
life. Suburbs were a nice serene place that had little noise, and the environment was chilled. Due
to this, the middle class came to love the suburbs and saw it as their sweet little paradise. The
suburban families were formed due to the suburbs. This was a stereotype since it was described
that the suburban families had the father who was supposed to be head of the family completely
placing the wife under the rule. He was supposed to provide for everything that the family
needed. The wife was required to stay at home and cook for the man and the children. The family
was required to have a nice house and everything in place. The picture displayed the perfect
example of the American dream. The misconception of the American dream created and
attracted individualism among multiple families
The suburbs were a government-initiated program that tried to help more American to
own more homes through mortgages. The project was known as the American dream and
produced an idealistic modern home. The project was designed to improve the opportunities for
the middle class to achieve the American dream. The American dream was initiated by
Eisenhower who most American listened to so began the false advertisement. The American
dream was advertised as a place that people were supposed to bring up a beautiful family where
the father was the breadwinner and the mother was the full-time homemaker. The suburbs were
seen as a place with no problems and the perfect place for a couple to settle with a family, but the
real reality was that the suburbs was a place troubled with difficulties just as the other places.
Many families that moved in this area were under the impression that everything was perfect and
it was going to be okay, and after getting there they were astonished. Many families worked very
had to achieve suburban fantasy after achieving the dream and moving in the dream place.
Unfortunately, after achieving the dream most families never came out of the illusion. Most
people who achieved the dream thought they had made it but were just living in a false
On the road towards achieving the American dream, absurd family roles were formed.
The man was expected to be the provider, and the woman was supposed to stay in the house and
look after children. This was stereotypical as women who spent too much time outside their
families were endangering the families and were acting as a hindrance to their husbands from
achieving the American dream. The fact that the roles of women were being restricted to family
roles was acting as a hindrance. Women were expected to do anything and sacrifice themselves
and be a stay at home mom. The women in the American dream did not have a chance to achieve
what they wanted. The life would revolve around the family and to make the American dream
they had to leave their careers and start working for the American dream. In the American
dream, women did not have jobs since they were full time dedicated to being housewives.
Women had no chance to achieve the goals and purpose in life(Mullan). It brought about the
perception that women would depend on the man and would have to be doing house chores. The
American dream brought some inferiority complex as they had no way of earning income. The
dream reduced women status quo and lowered their dignity. Women have to cave into their
husbands. They had to accept everything with the man and did not argue with the man. Women
did anything just to keep their man only. According to Ford, this gave men total and absolute
control over the women, and if the women tried to disagree with the man, there would be
complete and grave consequences. The American dream was seen as an invention of keeping the
woman in line and avoiding the woman from realizing her full potential. The American dream
shaped the women unjust roles. The American dream was used to bring down the woman
suppressing her to the man (Mullan). Similarly, we will look at Frank and April the wheelers and
their tragedy in their quest to search the Suburbia dream.
The yates book revealed the thirst for the foolish quest and brought about the identity of
family problems. After April got pregnant Frank convinced April not to take the abortion. Frank
established himself as the head of the family since he was able to overcome April and her
emotions Yates said that, Frank viewed manhood as the ability to convince and overcome a
woman’s emotion and his ability to subdue her Frank assured April that she promised she would
bear his child” (Yates 52). In yates book, the man was required to have complete control. The
woman was supposed to attract the man bear him a child and finally establish a home (Yates
245) Frank become ignorant, and his comments revealed that women duties were to bear
children and take care of the man.
Frank sees the American dream as a false hope by politicians to try and encourage most
Americans in the dream of buying homes mortgages. At first, the American dream was started by
encouraging most American to move to the suburbs and own homes. The American dream
started on the right track but as time went by most Americans become fixated on the pleasure the
American dream came with. Most Americans wanted to have a happy family and thought
pursuing the American dream would achieve this. Upon arrival to the suburbs, the first month
was glitter and gold. They enjoyed their family roles. The American dream faded away as the
people wanted to deviate from their roles. The woman whose main work was to take care of the
home started to look for work and advance in her career. This brought damages in families as
they had to fight over various roles. Due to their despair in suburbia, Frank and April planned to
move to Paris and live the rest of their lives there. They told their friends who were horrified at
their plan to go to Paris. Frank secretly starts cheating with the secretly. Due to the blinded
suburban dream people change and adopt new identities. The widely misconceptions dream is all
a fake. People try to define happiness in a similar way which is not valid. Everyone in society
has their way of defining happiness and cannot be identical to the other. Some describe their
satisfaction as achieving their goal.
The American dream brought about female oppression. In the 50s female gender were
much oppressed in society. They were not supposed to work. They were chained to household
chores and did not have a definitive stand in the family. The female gender was there to help the
male gender achieve their goals. The American dream revealed and brought out the oppression
as they advertised that the male society worked and the female society was too cook for the man.
The American dream propagated this notion and oppressed female gender. As seen April is
chained to house chore and has no jobs. She hates her work and wants to work. She even tries an
acting role that she fails miserably. April is the oppressed on and is desperate to break from her
According to yates, Frank said that,” most girls were born with the ability to want to be a
man and the feeling gets lost over time and start to emulate their mothers with time.” (Yates
245). Franks thinking showed the misconception of the American dream. It showed how the man
vied the American dream goals as been shallow minded. The American dream sucked women
into the notion they goal was just to take care of the man. It did not consider the needs of the
woman and what they wanted. Frank after a quarrel with April he would leave and go to work.
Frank thought to himself that to be a man he had to do something no woman would attempt to
do. His stains on his shirt and sweat are what that made him feel like a man. How Frank gave
himself immense workload is what that made him feel like a man. The dealing of masculinity
was Frank doing something women could not do.
April gathered the courage and askes frank why a man with a fine and able mind would
go work like a donkey in the work that he does not like and despairs and come home to a house
that he can’t stand. April the wife says that she too undergoes the same thing and hates being
chained to the man and he cannot do anything to the man. April remind him of how the previous
night he was chanting with the Campbell’s a saying that the Suburbia was a lie and just a fake
fantasy (Yates 115). April finally sees the lie in the lie in the false American dream and is trying
to convince Frank who even though realizes it is trying to convince himself that the fantasy
would one day come to light. Frank is having trouble trying to let go of the American dream.
April continues and says how they were misled to believe starting a family would be the end of
life. Believing in the fake American dream was the mistake that Frank and April did. The lost
their identity and were unwilling to accept the fact they lost their status. The fake American
dream led people to try and live the life that was not meant for them. Frank was angry at
everyone and was ready to bring down everyone along with them. The suburbs were painted as a
paradise with similar houses where the man had to work so hard, and the woman was chained to
the house chores. The woman purpose in life was only to take care of the children
The suburbs affected Frank and April in a whole new different way. The Wheelers who
were city people and dreamers had to decide between pursuing the suburbs dream. They were
very enlightened while in the city but upon deciding to move to the suburbs there life become
slow, and it ended up poisoning their marriage. The simple mistake of pursuing the American
dream was a wrong turn, and they were unable to get their aggressive nature. The book brought
about a lot of suffering and each family had their own demons they were battling
The novel reveals how the life of a woman was difficult. The suburbs gave women the
role of being followers and it shows how April was against this. The gender roles were defined
clearly, and women were required not to work. This brought about a fake identity of women
being weak and unable to fight for themselves. Women were seen as the weaker gender and had
to depend on the man with various roles such as the breadwinner let for the man. The man was
the head of the family, and he had to work had jobs so as he could feed the family and other
dependents. The American dream painted the picture of happiness as the man coming home to
his lovely home and finding his wife ready and has cooked food for the man. April tries to look
for work as an actor in the local theater. She is involved in a local play of a woman who escapes
a horrible lifestyle of a man and fulfills her dreams. This sparks an argument between April and
Frank. April feels like she is trapped and she does not want to be a housewife. April wants more
than a woman who cooks and washes dishes, and this brings a really heavy hectic argument from
both of them. Frank sees that in her wanting to pursue her dream would lead to the breakage of
the perfect suburban family that Frank had worked so hard to achieve.
In conclusion, the suburbia dream had corrupted so many home buyers in America. The
thirst for the American dream diluted the mind of many American as they had an immature way
of viewing the suburban life. The suburban life made the roles of both man and woman to be
changed and also led most families to change their identities(O’Nan). Gender roles were
developed as the man was the head of the family and the sole breadwinner. The woman was
constituted to only giving birth and doing house chore only. The American dream took
advantage of most American as it painted a picture of how perfect it was while it was just a
dream for the American. The absurd roles that were developed took advantage of the man and
woman. The suburbs acted as a distractor from the real world in many common Americans.
When families realized the American dream, they stopped pursuing their common dream. The
Dream made people lose hope on their main goals and opt out to achieving the fake dream.
People changed their individual goals to try and fit society dreams. This lead to a lot of damaged
suffering as each family was fighting it ow demons
Ford, Richard. "A Website for Richard Yates: Richard Ford Reviews Revolutionary Road."
13 July 2008, www.tbns.net/elevenkinds/richardford.html.
Mullan, John. "Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates." The Guardian, 22 Feb. 2018,
O’Nan, Steven. “The Lost World of Richard Yates.” Boston Review October/November 1999.
Yates, Richard. Revolutionary Road (paperback). Vintage, 2000.