If you're new to the Book Club, this is how it goes: every week I'll suggest chapters to complete by the next post (which, in this case, will go up every Friday in March). In these weekly Book Club posts, I'll posit a few questions to prompt discussion in the comments section.
Of course, you are always welcome to read beyond the weekly chapters, but please don't spoil anything in the comments! After the jump you'll find some questions that struck me as I read this section.
The next assignment: Finish the book! Next week I'll post our final Revolutionary Road discussion post and announce the title of our next book club selection.
To discuss the second section of Revolutionary Road (in which we read to the end of Part Two, Chapter 6),
- April and Frank go to such lengths to manipulate each other's perception of their gender roles. April wants to get to Paris, but feels the need to convince Frank that it's all for him and that, as the good wife, she's willing to go to work to support the family. Do we believe this? Or is she just supporting Frank's idea of what a man and a woman should be like when she truly wishes to work?
- What does Paris represent for Frank and April? What did the East Coast represent for Shep? Are those two things related, and what do all the escapism fantasies in the book really mean?
- Does Frank want to "find himself" or does he really just want to be appreciated? Would accepting the promotion be resigning himself to a life he doesn't really want, and if so, why would he consider it? Does he really want to "excel at crap like that" (p. 126) despite protestations otherwise? What does that say about the nature of work and his relationship with it?
- What's up with Mrs Givings? She's another one of the Wheeler foils we meet in this section, and as such, what part of their lives is she reflecting? Her breakdown scene really struck me because it was so sudden — does she represent the suburban lie that everything is really just fine?
- Then there's her husband. If anyone's pretending suburban life is just fine, it's him turning his hearing aid off. Is this perhaps the key to surviving this world? Is he maybe the happiest, and most well-adjusted character because he is able to tune it all out?
- Finally, it's interesting that the Givings' son John is so creepy and mentally disturbed; clearly he is supposed to represent something. Is his ugliness and crudeness like a cautionary tale? It's all autumn leaves and glossy appliances on the outside, but maybe John represents the ugly truth about what's going on deep down inside the American suburban soul.