The Role of Women after World War Two in Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

Last Updated: 06 Nov 2022
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Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates examines American sociology of the time period after World War 11. Most probably think that women would be more independent and equal to men. It seems that the feminists succeeded in allowing women to enter the work force and live without a husband providing money. However, the main female characters in this novel, especially April, are completely dependent on their spouses, April even seems to be suffering heavily. She is so depressed by the way her life has turned out that she basically commits suicide. Elaine May argues along with Yates that the role of women did change in the 1950’s, but not for the better. When men came back after the war, many prominent figures in pop culture were mindful of the psychological dislocation they would face.

Men would be intensely depressed and disillusioned, and so it became the women’s job to facilitate the healing process of re-assimilating them into normal, everyday life May states in War and Peace: Fanning the Home Fires, “Postwar men found their manliness at risk... Photaplay exhorted women to take responsibility for building up the male ego." Women should do everything they could to make the men's adjustment easier. Women let men feel superior and in control to appease social pressures. Social leaders advised women to laugh at men’s jokes and compliment their masculinity. April Wheeler has never loved Frank. Her marriage is a lie, and her children are the only reason she cannot leave. When they first meet, April is constantly complementing Frank because he came back from the war.

After exclaiming how interesting Frank is many times, she convinces him that he really is interesting. More importantly, she gives the impression that she loves him because he is such a great catch. When Frank professes his love to her, she chooses to reciprocate his feelings because it is imperative that he stays happy and selfrconfident after dealing with the traumatic experiences on the warfront. Eventually, she has to marry him to keep the lie going. There was a steady increase in marriages after the war. Women realized that immersing men in family life was the most effective way to re- assimilate them. April aspires to become an actress, and she attended a school for drama, but she has to give it all up now that her new goal in life is to provide Frank a family.

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As April works hard to relax him, Frank has a safe, simple job behind a desk. Many men adopted this Very unexciting, unburdened lifestyle to counteract what they have witnessed in the war. April’s life becomes much harder than Frank‘s. On top of her familial duties, she must please Frank so that he stays content. April fails in this aspect, so Frank has no choice but to have an affair. Cheating men were not considered morally wrong during this time period, They deserved it if they had a boring wife.

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The Role of Women after World War Two in Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates. (2022, Nov 06). Retrieved from

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