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Buzz Book Club: Revolutionary Road, Section Two

Welcome back, fellow Buzz Book Club readers! Last week we examined the first section of our March selection, Revolutionary Road, and now we're moving onto the second section.

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.

This second section was slim, but definitely intense. 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: Read from Part One, Chapter 7 to the end of Part Two, Chapter 6.

To discuss the second section of Revolutionary Road,


  1. In this section we get more information about Frank, his identity and how he perceives himself. As he rides home one day, he thinks about the way "a man" should ride a train. What is Frank's ideal of a man?
  2. Along similar lines, Frank initially viewed his job as a temporary thing when April was first pregnant, and he still considers it something he is above doing but needs to do in order to provide for his wife and children. Is Frank right to believe he was unfairly sucked into a monotonous and unfulfilling work life, or should he bear some more responsibility for his decisions?
  3. The description of Frank's office and the monotony of his job struck me as similar to that of Office Space, or an unfunny version of The Office. Do you find it depressing that the same boredom and blandness of office life continues to plague us, almost 50 years later? Or do you think things have changed?
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freegracefrom freegracefrom 9 years
1. The part where he reflects on how a "real man" would ride a train made me see his insecurity more clearly. A real man stands tall and has confidence and wouldn't just waste away, miserable and ashamed. 3. I had the same recurring thought with Don Draper and "Mad Men" while reading this part. Particularly the silly little way the men joked around with each other and the way he went after a girl in the office. I identified with that feeling of monotony and endless "busy work". I don't think it's depressing exactly... it's just the way things have been, the way things are and will continue to be. Fact of life.
Linda-McP Linda-McP 9 years
1. Frank constructs an image of a "macho man," one who is in charge and in control of everyone and everything. He is self-absorbed, putting his own needs above those of others, especially those of Alice and Maureen. This self absorption is best seen when, as he is making love to Maureen, he "found an overwhelming sense of this is what I needed; this is what I needed." He seems to need constant validation; even as a young boy, he finds ways to check his own reflection in the window on his way to the office with his dad and as an adult, he is aware of his every move as he alights from the train walking with the athletic stride that makes him a "man." 2. He seems to be fighting hard to not be like his father when he seeks work that "can't possibly touch me." He wants to be aloof and unattached, to stand outside of "interesting" work. Perhaps he sees that his dad's devotion to the company was not met with gratitude, praise and appropriate reward and he wants to be certain that he doesn't get trapped in an unrewarding position that could make him feel emasculated and stripped of dignity. And so he remains outside of his work in order to retain an identity that he constructs for himself. He seems to be an actor on his own stage, constantly trying to figure out who he really is and whether or not he likes that person when he finds him. 3. Yates captures the workplace environment of the sixties well. And, while things have indeed changed in the past 50 years, some of the office politics and workplace rituals are still in place. Co-workers assign roles to themselves--or accept (not without complaint sometimes) roles that are assigned to them by others and act accordingly. Group dynamics are always in play in any office setting, but that's not always a bad thing. I can't help but think of Don Draper and "Mad Men" as I'm reading. Buzz, thanks for selecting such a great book! It's wonderfully crafted to be enjoyed on so many different levels. Looking forward to reading more for next week.
coolgurl24 coolgurl24 9 years
I read this book all the way through last week because it was so good, so please forgive me if my memory's off. :) 1.) Frank's ideal of a "man" disgusts me. A "man" should be macho and demanding; women are there for him to own and subjugate. Frank has no consideration for either his wife or Maureen, and his callousness is merely part of the brash nonchalance that he feels that men should display towards women. 2.) No, Frank can believe that he's above his job, but he should not view himself as being passively stuck in it. This also disgusted me. 3.) I think that things have changed. People tend to be more willing to return to school or find a new job if their current career depresses them.
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