Revolutionary Road

by Richard Yates

Start Free Trial

Student Question

How are the themes of "Revolutionary Road" and "The Beautiful and Damned" linked?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Both novels are concerned with the empty values and self-absorption of two young American couples. While F. Scott Fitzgerald treats early 20th-century and post- World War I, Jazz Age New York, Richard Yates’ novel is set in the materialistic, post-World War II suburbs. Both novels, in different periods and concerned with different classes, showcase the empty side of the American dream.

Anthony and Gloria, the couple in The Beautiful and the Damned, are trying to live carelessly on Anthony’s ample family-provided income and, even more, the expectation of riches to be inherited from Anthony’s grandfather. In their minds they are freed from the worries of earning a living, so they live far too lavishly, and his grandfather disinherits him. Anthony cannot escape wartime military service, which furthers his destruction. Finding that her beauty is fading, Gloria wonders how they will make a living.

Frank and April, who live on Revolutionary Road in Connecticut, have two children. They consider their suburban existence somewhat beneath them, as Frank aspires to a better position in his company. April, an artistic soul who is dreadfully unhappy as a suburban matron, persuades Frank to take a last stab at a more carefree existence and move the whole family to France. Unwilling to give up the plan when she becomes pregnant, April dies from a botched abortion.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial