In the hopeful 1950s, Frank and April Wheeler appear to be a model couple: bright, beautiful, talented, with two young children and a starter home in the suburbs. Perhaps they married too young and started a family too early. Maybe Frank's job is dull. And April never saw herself as a... read more
I woke up with the heaviest tug at my heart in the morning today. I couldn't figure out why. As I walk mindlessly to the shower, thumping my body with the rain of hot water as if to shake off the bleak stance I seem to be frozen in, my diminishing reflection on the screen looked pale and... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
I woke up with the heaviest tug at my heart in the morning today. I couldn't figure out why. As I walk mindlessly to the shower, thumping my body with the rain of hot water as if to shake off the bleak stance I seem to be frozen in, my diminishing reflection on the screen looked pale and ghostly.
In the kitchen later, as I was boiling the water for coffee, the sight of my smiling and merry housemates lifted up my heart. But still, I felt like I was looking at them from a distance. Suddenly the world seemed like a spinning wheel, rotating on and on as if on a leash of some invisible forces. Please, I whispered to myself, please make it stop.
It was when I walked into my room later, a cup of coffee in my hands, I saw the silent trigger of my misery. Two figures silently holding each other, their faces - their foreheads and noses barely touching, their eyes locked down. The picture stood still, and I finally remembered what it was making me mourn in the silence of early morning.
Frank and April Wheeler are the suburban couple I was acquainted with in January. Their story; their desire to break free, and their need to believe they stand above others in their quest for a self-fulfillment had drawn me in. But much to my grim surprise, watching the story was like witnessing the impending sentence of my own life.
Why, I thought, when you started to fight against life, the ordinariness of it, the superficiality of it - you can never win?
A few weeks earlier, a friend suggested I read the book. I wasn't sure I wanted to repeat the discomfort I had experienced from watching the movie. But in steel determination I peeled open the book, and I didn't put it down again until last night.
It proved to be an absorbing read, Richard Yates is as cruel as he is honest. Put simply, there is nothing extraordinary about the life of Wheelers, Campbells and Givings, but in their ordinariness lies an exemplary discovery about how raw feelings; happiness, anger, frustrations, loneliness, hatred, regret, love - even when no one likes to talk about them, are real.
Laying bare the wounds
The community Frank and April had lived in is a community I never succeeded being a part of. The crisp white houses lined by trimmed grasses, the smiles, the forever surprised look and the endless questions of what, where and how. They tire me out, they overwork my mind, they suffocate me.
I don't blame April for wanting to get away, for I know how having to appease a life you never put your heart on can take so much out of yourself. But I feel for Frank for his need of April's love and approval. Both of them, it seemed to me, in their effort to stay above others, forget they should be able to be simply themselves with each other. But they didn't, even to their own selves Frank and April had to put a front neither of them approve of.
What is it with men, when they cannot seem to get past their pride and look into themselves for their own vile weaknesses? What is it with women, with their need to appear strong when they are crumbling inside? What is it with people and pretension and false honesty?
Sometimes I wonder, is it ever worth it, this fight for self and identity; this rebellion against pre-chosen and shrink-wrapped personalities put forth to us by the society? Sometimes I wonder, why do we need so much to be alike others simply to be loved by them? Sometimes I wonder, truly what wrong is with being different?
Revolutionary Road did not answer the lots of my questions, neither did it paint an optimistic prospect to my own life. I've seen so many love crumbles before me sometimes I feel like tragedies hover above my head like a halo. But in good times when April had liked Frank and he loved her, I want to believe love can transcend emptiness and put hopes to even the barest of all land. I want to believe, even at such cruel and honest words, Richard Yates wanted us to get past them and start looking beyond mere pretense and tell our story like it is.
“It’s a disease. Nobody thinks or feels or care any more; nobody gets excited or believe in anything except their own comfortable little God damn mediocrity.”
“...You found you were saying yes when you meant no, and “We’ve got to be together in this thing” when you meant the very opposite; ... then you were face to face, in total darkness, with the knowledge that you didn’t know who you were. And how could anyone else be blamed for that?”
““No one forgets the truth; they just get better at lying.””
““if you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail… it takes back bone to lead the life you want””
““Being alone has nothing to do with how many people are around.””
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