Bachelor of Arts in English
James Tackach, Ph.D.
This thesis examines Richard Yates’ novel, Revolutionary Road (1961) through an ecocritical lens, specifically, the lens of American nature writer, Henry David Thoreau (Thoreauvianism). Throughout the novel, Yates’ characters, Frank and April Wheeler, demonstrate an ambivalent relationship with the natural world, which places them out of sync with nature. This disjointed relationship is especially apparent in their chosen landscape – suburbia. The schism Yates reveals between these two realms (true vs. constructed nature) parallels the schism between Frank and April themselves. Although at times Frank and April as well as the community members featured in Revolutionary Road find refuge in nature, they nonetheless continue to isolate themselves from their environment and from their own true natures. Likewise, although they attempt to form a meaningful bond between themselves, they are out of sync with each other, and ultimately propel themselves into overriding conflict.
Palma, Marie, "Living in a Petrified Forest: Exploring the World of Wheelers through an Ecocritical-Thoreauvian Lens“" (2011). English Theses. 59.