Abjection and Loss of Identity in Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road

Mahsa Sadat Razavi, Jalal Farzaneh Dehkordi

Abstract


In this harrowing critique of 1950’s America, Richard Yates depicts a young family who while trying to fight their way out of the inundating mediocrity of life by fleeing to Europe, fail in their effort and fall apart. The 30-year-old husband, Frank Wheeler, unable to shake off the ghost of his father, tries to hide his insecurities behind a façade of individuality and intellectuality, while his wife, April, a failed actress, is deeply unhappy in her role as the suburban housewife. Both Wheelers are without a clear sense of self, and instead seek to define themselves by differentiating themselves from those around them. By using the notion of Abjection proposed by Julia Kristeva as a means of self-definition, this article aims to show that this novel depicts how the consumerism and the material obsession of the fifties has made this family abjectify the concept of family and parenthood, and how this idea especially manifests itself in April, as she chooses to turn into the ultimate abject, a corpse, rather than deny herself the last shred of difference from the suburban life by having a third child.


Keywords


Abjection; Family; Identity; Suburbia

Full Text:

PDF

References


Castronov, D., & Goldleaf, S. (1996). Richard Yates. New York, NY: Twayne Publishers.

Charlton-Jones, K. (2010). Richard Yates’ fictional treatment of women. Literature Compass, 7(7), 456.

Corber, R. J. (2000). Homosexuality in Cold War America: Resistance and the crisis of masculinity. Durham, NC: Duke Press.

Ford, R. (2000a, April). American beauty (circa 1955). New York Times Book Review, 9, 16-18.

Ford, R. (2000b). Introduction. In R. Yates, Revolutionary Road (pp.xv-xxvi). n.p.: Vintage Contemporaries.

Friedman, B. (1963). The feminine mystique. New York, NY: Dell.

Hoffer, E. (1963). The true believer. New York, NY: Time.

Jameson, F. (2001). Postmodernism and consumer society. In V. Leitch (Ed.), The Norton anthology of theory and criticism (pp.1960-1974). New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company.

Kristeva, J. (1982). Powers of horror: An essay in abjection (L. Roudiez, Trans.). New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Lawrence, P. R. (1958). The changing of organizational behavior patterns: A case study of decentralization. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School.

May, E. T. (1951). Homeward bound: American middle classes. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Moreno, M. P. Consuming the frontier illusion: The construction of suburban masculinity in Richard Yates’s Revolutionary Road. Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies, 3, 84-95.

Nadel, A. (1995). Containment culture: American narratives, postmodernism, and the atomic age. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

O’Nan, S. (1999, October/November). The lost world of Richard Yates. Boston Review.

Ravvin, N. (2009, January 29). Hollywood’s love affair with Revolutionary Road. Canadian Jewish News, p.29.

Siegel, L. (2001, July). The second coming of Richard Yates: Neo-naturalism and the inescapable past. Harpers Magazine, 82-87.

Skolnick, A. (1991). Embattled paradise: The American family in an age of uncertainty. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Solotaroff, T. (1986, July). The wages of maturity. [Review of the book Revolutionary Road, by R. Yates]. Commentary, 89-92.

Whyte, W. H. (1956). The organization man. Garden City, NY: Doubleday Anchor Books.

Yates, R. (1972). An interview with Richard Yates/Interviewer: G. Clark and D. Henry. [Transcript.]. Ploughshares, 1(3), 65-78.

Yates, R. (2008). Revolutionary Road. New York, NY: Vintage Books.

Zimmerman, S. (2005). Psychoanalysis and the corpse. Shakespeare Studies, 33, 101-108.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/11844

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Copyright (c) 2020 Mahsa Sadat Razavi

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Share us to:   


Reminder

How to do online submission to another Journal?

If you have already registered in Journal A, then how can you submit another article to Journal B? It takes two steps to make it happen:

1. Register yourself in Journal B as an Author

Find the journal you want to submit to in CATEGORIES, click on “VIEW JOURNAL”, “Online Submissions”, “GO TO LOGIN” and “Edit My Profile”. Check “Author” on the “Edit Profile” page, then “Save”.

2. Submission

Go to “User Home”, and click on “Author” under the name of Journal B. You may start a New Submission by clicking on “CLICK HERE”.


We only use three mailboxes as follows to deal with issues about paper acceptance, payment and submission of electronic versions of our journals to databases: caooc@hotmail.com; sll@cscanada.net; sll@cscanada.org

 Articles published in Studies in Literature and Language are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC-BY).

 STUDIES IN LITERATURE AND LANGUAGE Editorial Office

Address: 1020 Bouvier Street, Suite 400, Quebec City, Quebec, G2K 0K9, Canada. 
Telephone: 1-514-558 6138 
Website: Http://www.cscanada.net; Http://www.cscanada.org 
E-mailoffice@cscanada.net; office@cscanada.org; caooc@hotmail.com

Copyright © 2010 Canadian Academy of Oriental and Occidental Culture