Over time, many heroes and heroines especially from the West fought so hard in order to give people unlimited opportunities, freedom, material prosperity and individual happiness.The concept”American dream” as a national ideal is related to independence and freedom as one person meet his dream through fulfilling his innate passion and desires.This concept gives American citizens the expectations that their government should create a society which will reward drive and innovation or a society that will generate growth.
But at exactly the same time, one should be accountable to grow as a man and woman without the barriers of the civilizations because this had been slowly erected by the leaders before.
In past decades, American Dream is perceive as a promise that every human being has the freedom to create his own life according to his will or decisions. This guarantee made the Americans independent, hopeful and dreamers wanting to make the most of a freedom of self expression that not every culture has.
But this structure that is based has a profound influence on individual experiences. Contrary to the frequent impression of upward social mobility due to the”American Dream,” this freedom may result in an inner battle between socially and personally held values of the individuals. Additionally it is inevitable to anticipate that social mobility will increase the likelihood of the experience of frustration and depression due to the resultant feelings of ambivalence.
Because of the promises of American Dream, it’s inevitable that citizens will create expectations that are psychological that if it fails they will have a feeling of hopelessness and depression. These feelings of hopelessness and depression due to expectations and unfulfilled passion are exemplified in the movie Revolutionary Road’s main characters. The film is an indictment of life that focuses on aspirations and the unfulfilled hopes of Frank and April Wheeler, chief protagonists and wed couple, affected them emotionally and psychologically.
The expectations of April Wheeler illustrate remains of Dream that not achieving it is going to cause inner death. Although the couple experienced safety does that guarantee a life? Both believe they are not free even though they are living comfortably. They need a satisfying life free from paralysis whose kind of lifestyle looks routinary. Fulfillment with independence and freedom of hopes, dreams and passion is what American Dream is for April Wheeler.
But chances that are practical and security paralyses and hinders her husband to leave America, and thus the conflict begins. April needs to escape routines, practicalities and her easy role confined in motherhood and domesticity. Determine to escape suburbanites and the mediocrity that surround them, the couple decides to move in Europe to develop and practice their artistic sensibilities, free from the consumerist demands of America.
However, their relationship is thrown into jeopardy unnecessary and misunderstanding anxieties, due to their frequent squabbling from their American Dream. The film is set in the 1950’s at the normal suburbs where every family and employee appears to have the very same routines everyday. Frank and April Wheeler, the characters, are reluctant to be like anybody else in their community who appears content and who are reluctant to explore outside their comfort zone of safety.
So they believe they are middle class family living in the suburbs since they attach in their passion and believes in the experience of life. They have promised never to be dragged into the world of the people . But despite their wits, talents and good looks, the couple suddenly find themselves gradually becoming the people they swore never to be; a plain, unhappy housewife who longs for fulfillment; a man with a dull job and an existence as dreary as the rest of the neighborhood.
April, a failed aspiring theatrical performer starts the book in a group. This experience of April in the initial part of the novel is embarrassing and is a disaster that sows the seeds of her discontent. She realizes her life is, a life that is far from what she sees her life will be with Frank Wheeler. Frank, a naturally dreamer, lost his direction and works at Knox Business Machines as a normal office worker, while April becomes a typical housewife looking after her two children.
The book portrays April as a housewife frustrated after being trapped in the suburban life, and emotionally conflicted. This fact is a discouragement for both so she devises a strategy to reverse their fortunes and current and for April fate. April discusses plans to escape and leave everything behind in their suburban life to live in Paris where she will fulfill her artistic abilities in functionality and Frank will find out what he really needs to do with his life. Paris for her provides them opportunities to fulfill what they really wanted in life; happiness, adventure and complete freedom.
At first though hesitant, Frank agreed as he wants to achieve the promises of venturing the unpredictability of life in Paris.
When Frank gets promoted their much awaited death is being stalled, and they find their marriage . Frank understands that his promotion is simply a lifetime opportunity and he does not want to take it as a risk in a life (Paris) that’s no guarantee yet. The perpetual squabbling of the couple is due to April’s strong urge to break out in the prison of bourgeois family life.
Apparently Wheelers overlook the intellectual and culture quiver of their youth. So when not responding , they drink a lot and frequently hang out with their friends and neighbors, the Campbells. But April strongly believes that as a bright, beautiful and talented bunch, their future has strong likelihood of greatness if they will take the risk. April’s melancholy and obvious desperation to escape her life that was present eventually made them betray their really true self and each other. April has been corrupted by her desire to leave herself to her monotonous life in Connecticut.
As mentioned, April and Frank are not the typical suburban types, but people who believe themselves better than the people in their neighborhood; they mock people as they feel like their living their life half sleep. One of the frequent outside activities is to visit with another couple, spending few hours whining about how unproductive everyone else is. Frank hates his white collar job and April just stays home with the children but since they believe that they have abilities and resources, they know they can change their lives for the better.
However, what do individuals do when they are intelligent and high willed enough to not be happy with the conformity and blandness of the surroundings, but lack the drive to escape mediocrity, because they are, basically, much more a part of the surroundings than they imagine? Frank, after hesitating whether visiting Paris is a sensible and sensible thing to do especially after he was being promoted made him like everybody else who is afraid to give up financial security and assurance. Perhaps Frank and April are not extraordinary and different as they would wish to think.
But their personality reflects American Dream–a life far from mediocrity and a life where one creates his own individuality and sense of individuality. Moreover, their characters reminds the viewers to come face to face to their own mediocrity, challenges them to be truthful with themselves and tries sincerely to know whether their aspirations fit their potentials and capabilities. One’s aspirations and hopes are unrealistic. The promises of American Dream inspire the character to trust so much from the long run and so that when those hopes are being unfulfilled, the character experiences great depression.
“The problem with the society is not necessarily that it is hypocritical or conformist or poor, but that it produces people with such a dreadful gap between aspiration and capability — it gives them the wisdom and leisure to want a fuller life while robbing them of their backbone to receive it” (Yates xxi).
But one can approach April’s character in this novel as she seems to know herself. She is taking concrete steps in order to do her desires. She is a woman who wants to explore and find herself through her given abilities and skills.
She is confident that given a chance, she is able to prove herself in the world of artwork. April certainly knows that this is the only way to locate her self again and to finally feel that her presence has a purpose after all–not only confined to being a mother and being a wife. While Frank though he realizes his vague ambition to be someone besides an office worker did not seek any self. Instead after being identified and flattered in his mundane job, their plans to go Paris became unnecessary for him. When April conceives their third child, their strategy to leave America crumbles.
When April discovers that she’s pregnant, she’s demotivated while Frank feels delighted, not only for having the baby itself in the long run but this is his scapegoat to deny Paris. April’s desperation becomes destructive which is evident when the latter has bled to death after attempting to induce a miscarriage. Frank on the other hand lacks will and boldness .
His dream for financial security and the affirmation he acquired from his company because of his sudden promotion made him set aside his wife’s dream to escape the dull and boring lifestyle in the usa. Fundamentally American Dream in this novel specifically in April’s character means fulfilling one’s passion and needs through abilities and talents. However, for Frank American Dream is somehow based on practicalities, that is financial security and opportunities”all I need is to get enough cash coming in to keep us solvent for another year or so, until I can figure things out; meanwhile, I wish to keep my own identity”.
But apparently he sometimes arouses himself to try something new as he is a man who obviously loves adventure and in trying something not routinary, he might find his true self and his true identity. Frank’s acquisition of a higher position that guarantee his family’s financial security and his acquisition of affirmation from his firm hindered April to satisfy her American dream for freedom of artistic self expression. At the conclusion, it can be said that it is.
But when April expires in her attempt to resist the forces keeping her in her suburban housewife lifestyle, Frank because of pain becomes consumed by the work he had once despised, and”expires” an inward death. At the end their own American Dream is failing both of them.