The Road Far From Heaven: Richard Yates’s Book Revolutionary Road

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From the founding and settling of the United States, the deeply rooted American ideology of individualism has compeled the nation to strive for self-reliance and nondependence. This ideology is captured in Walt Whitman’s words “A man is not a whole and complete man unless he owns a house and the ground it stands on” (Jackson 50). However, the early 20th century’s threat of dependency and socialism, resulted in the conformity of a nation after WWII, reaching an ultimate height during the Eisenhower Era in the 1950’s. The creation of the National Housing Act and later the G.I. Bill induced the belief of achieving the American dream by increasing the demand for affordable mass-produced housing and extravagant lifestyles. More importantly, the politically influenced televised propaganda and legislation produced not only a culture of femininity, masculinity, but also homogeneity. This led to the manufacturing of an artificially paranoid, decadent, and deluded society. Richard Yates’s book “Revolutionary Road” (1961) and Todd Haynes’s movie Far From Heaven (2002) mirror these socially constructed elements. In this essay, we will examine how the works portray the governmental influenced feminization of women, empowerment of masculinity, popularization of the organization man, and the exclusion of undesirable individuals in suburbia
Firstly, in Yates’s book “Revolutionary Road”, the college graduates Frank and April Wheeler take advantage of the economic situation of the 1950’s to live the American dream, but in doing so, they compromise their dreams of individuality. Frank, a veteran of WWII, is one of many servicemen eligible for beneficial home loans and education benefits through the G.I. Bill. The federal government created the G.I....

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Clark, Geoffrey and Dewitt, Henry “An Interview With Richard Yates.” Plougshares. Issue 3, 1972. Web. 21 April 2014. https://www.pshares.org/read/article- detail.cfm?intArticleID=9523
Executive Orders. National Archives. Web. 20 April 2014. http://www.archives.gov/federal- register/codification/executive-order/10450.html
Far From Heaven. Dir. Todd Haynes. Focus Features, 2002. DVD.
Friedan, Betty. The Feminine Mystique. New York: W.W. Norton, 1963. Print.
Jackson, Kenneth T. Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985. Print.
Yate, Richard. Revolutionary Road. 1961. Reprint. London: Vintage, 2007. Print.
Veteran Benefits Administration. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Last updated December 26, 2013. Web. 19 April 2014. http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/history.asp

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