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Revolutionary Road

Everyone seems to know about it. When the waiter at the inn learns Dasein's name, he warms up immediately. Dasein is elated to learn that Jenny is still in love with him. A curious scene follows. The bartender argues with Win Burdeaux, the waiter, about "giving Jaspers" to an outsider. This is the first clue that the Santaroga mystery has something to do with the unusual food products of the Jaspers Cheese Cooperative.

The story follows Dasein as he uncovers the Jaspers mystery and at the same time is pulled deeper and deeper into the strange web of Santaroga. For one cannot examine Santaroga from the outside. Two previous investigators have been killed in inexplicable but unquestionable accidents, and Dasein himself escapes death on several occasions. Such accidents are the ultimate expression of the Santaroga barrier. The only way to understand the town is to become a part of it. The Santarogans know he is there to investigate them, but they are giving him a chance to join them.

The tension between Dasein as objectively trained outside investigator and Dasein as would-be Santarogan convert provides a philosophical story line to complement the solution of the Jaspers mystery. Dasein eventually learns that Jaspers is a drug produced in food by radiation in the underground storage caverns at the Coop. In large doses, it has a psychedelic effect similar to LSD. But more importantly, as a pervasive presence in the Santarogan diet, it induces a permanent alteration of awareness. Jenny tells Dasein "We call it a 'Consciousness Fuel. Jenny's uncle, Dr. Piaget, explains further to Dasein that the drug "releases the animal that has never been tamed… up to now.

Jaspers takes away the filters on human consciousness that have been developed through millennia of evolution and demands that they be replaced by conscious patterns. Dasein asks, "What happens in the unformed psyche?


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The opening out of the collective unconscious also brings to the surface the hidden connections between individuals. At one point in the story, Dasein falls into a lake, knocking himself senseless on the side of a boat. At first no one notices he is gone. After he is rescued by Jenny, Dasein realizes with wonder that the others hadn't noticed because he "didn't cry out for help in [his] thoughts! On the basis of such Jaspers-induced experiences, the Santarogans have built a culture profoundly different from the one outside the valley. Many obvious facets of this culture are negatively derived, as the Santarogans have attempted to avoid the pitfalls of the outside.

Piaget tells Dasein,. In particular, the Santarogans have rejected the outside's adversary economics, in which psychology is used to sell people products they don't need and advertising forces an unwelcome conformity. Dasein suddenly sees himself as a spy for "the eager young executives and the hard-eyed older men.

For this reason, Dasein has observed no television in Santarogan homes, "no cathode living rooms, no walls washed to skimmed-milk gray by the omnipresent tube. Dasein asks Win Burdeaux why this room was hidden from him. That's why we rotate the watchers. But we cannot ignore it. TV is the key to the outside and its gods. However, an even more fundamental reason why the Santarogans shun television is that it offers a world of illusion. Burdeaux says:. The Santarogans value the human, they value the things you can touch as well as those intangibles you can only feel. This is no surprise, considering the heightened sensitivity Jaspers gives.

Like all of Herbert's other heroes, the Santarogans want to live , not merely to exist. The Santarogans are not intrinsically hostile to the outside. They are merely protecting themselves. Dasein realizes:. Torn between a vision of the possibilities Jaspers opens up—the clarity and sureness of perception, the sense of belonging and caring, the unique mental intensification—and the nagging fear of being swallowed up in an amorphous "we" that will rob him of his freedom, Dasein retreats in his camper to the woods outside of town.

Jaspers had given Dasein, too, heightened awareness. Now he begins to distinguish, for the first time, between awareness and a kind of self-consciousness. The knife-edge of that decision is an awakeness that partakes of the same qualities of insight, unconscious reach, and relativity as does the Santarogan awareness, but somehow goes beyond it. In Santaroga, he would not be alone—the edge of decision would somehow be blunted. As Dasein keeps himself in forced isolation from Jaspers and the newfound sense of belonging to Santaroga that he now craves, he is menaced by countless "accidents" from the overtly friendly Santarogans.

From his unique perspective at the edge of the Santarogan group identity, Dasein can see what the townspeople cannot, that Santaroga enforces conformity on its members just as the outside does. The outside has the forced identicalness of fashion's taboo; Santaroga has an inner homogeneity. And as the "accidents" reveal, this group identity has as much investment in self-preservation as the outside. Unlike the Optiman utopia, Santaroga needs no overt forms of coercion to maintain social order. The addiction to Jaspers and to the states of awareness it opens is sufficient.

Rules of conduct are instilled in the Santarogan from birth, and the people provide their own unconscious enforcement,. Dasein attempts to convince Piaget of the subconscious violence he has seen, but despite a harrowing series of deadly "coincidences," Piaget is unwilling to believe. He does go so far as to say, "Thus it is said: 'Every system and every interpretation becomes false in the light of a more complete system. Dasein is ready to flee Santaroga but then gets badly burned while rescuing a Santarogan from an accident meant for him.

While he is in the hospital, the addictive lure of Jaspers finally proves too much for him. He has isolated the active ingredient from an entire pound wheel of Jaspers cheese. Then, forgetting the purpose of his research, Dasein is moved by an irresistible, unconscious impulse and swallows the extract. The overdose drives him into a state of transcendence or coma similar to the one Paul enters after ingesting the raw Water of Life. And just as that moment sealed Paul forever to his vision, so too Dasein's overdose seals him forever to Santaroga.

When Dr. Selador, Dasein's boss, comes to Santaroga to find out why Dasein has slipped away from his investigation, Dasein causes the accident that kills him. The shock almost wakes old doubts, but testimony from the other Santarogans at the inquest convinces Dasein that he could not have done what he thought. His gradual conversion into a Santarogan is a beautiful example of the psychodynamics of social agreement, as well as an illustration of the way a world view shared by the group forms a "grid" for the interpretation of events.

At the start of the novel, Dasein was as much conditioned by the outside viewpoint as he later is by the Santarogan. Despite the best intentions, it was impossible for him to be objective. Herbert points out that Santaroga is a utopia based on ancient Chinese ideals—"a sophisticated appreciation of the world" and "the guiding of the senses into heightened awareness. After an interaction with one Santarogan, Dasein says, "That smile! It embodied Santaroga—self-satisfied, superior, secretive. When Dasein is finally converted to Santaroga, the judgments he makes about the same "facts" are very different:.


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This is an ironic repetition of an observation that Dasein had earlier cited as the Santarogan weakness. Such clear indications of bias on both sides serve to blur a picture already rendered ambiguous by the mixture of peace and danger, of consciousness and unconsciousness, which Dasein has met in Santaroga.

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Herbert further muddies the water by setting up a number of ingenious parallels between Santaroga and the outside. Santaroga is the perfect counter-cultural utopia, an escape from the pressures of twentieth-century society into a valley ruled by peace, honesty, and love. It is a communal society tied together by a psychedelic sacrament. Yet at the same time, Santaroga is also a conservative's dream, a retreat into the good old days.

Its name is suspiciously similar to that of Santa Rosa, the sleepy northern California town that may also have been the source for Moreno, the small-town setting of The Heaven Makers. And just as the people of Moreno declared Joe Murphey insane to preserve the myth of their own stability, the Santarogans deny their own insanity by criticizing the outside. The hidden identification of Santaroga with the middle America it so violently rejects is one of those logically impossible but emotionally sound loops of which Herbert is very fond.

Santa Rosa, in the person of American everyman Gilbert Dasein, stands facing itself in the mirror of Santaroga. Even the ethnocentricity of Dasein's early reactions to Santaroga is turned around, because deep down, the utopian dreams of ancient China and contemporary middle America are strikingly similar. As a reader, it is difficult not to side with one culture and to see the other as the enemy, to see Santaroga as utopia or dystopia. But Herbert is not playing teacher. He is not setting a test to see which of his readers will understand the dark side of the Santarogan dream.

Santaroga is both utopia and dystopia. Like any social model it has both good and evil to offer. In his essay, Herbert continues:. There is no real social perfection, only a series of compromises. Dasein senses this at the end, and it gives him a moment of peace. Svengaard did much the same thing in The Eyes of Heisenberg , when he preferred the uncertainty principle to the thought of an intervening God.

Dasein's deepest insights come when he is caught in the middle. His outside perspective allows him to see things about Santaroga that its inhabitants deny, but at the same time, the Santarogans see many things about America that Dasein has been blind to. He tells Selador truly, "I've had my eyes opened here.

But both sides err by claiming that their viewpoint is absolute and thereby closing out the other. Dasein's failure is the failure of his individualism, not just of Santarogan society. The criticisms of both America and Santaroga are valid, but it is a mistake to assume that any society can provide the answer to the problems that face the individual. Utopian dreams partake of the same surrender of responsibility that afflicts the followers of a charismatic leader. Dasein is alone. When he refuses to accept this fact and sees himself as doomed to choose either Santaroga or the outside, he is trapped into seeking a social salvation that does not exist.

Herbert explores these themes on many levels. As one frequently discovers in his work, puns or allusions provide a key to subterranean levels of analysis. It is no accident that Santarogan children are trained by Dr. Piaget , for instance. Piaget is a famous twentieth-century developmental psychologist. Far more significant, however, are the names Dasein, Sorge, and Jaspers. Jaspers is Karl Jaspers, the German existential psychiatrist and philosopher whose work, incidentally, Herbert had studied with Ralph Slattery in Santa Rosa.

Dasein is a term used by Jaspers and Heidegger to denote the human being. To Jaspers, it represents the temporal dimension of transcendent being. In Heidegger's terms, dasein translates as "being there. Obviously, Dasein is in love with Jenny Sorge. Herbert uses the term dasein principally in the Heideggerian sense. Where Jaspers sees dasein as a kind of limiting case on a transcendent existenz , Heidegger sees only the "being there. But dasein does not consist solely of potentialities; it always "engages and spends itself in the world of its care.

Dasein is authentic, according to Heidegger, only when he is true to his own potentiality, and finds his being in himself. He is inauthentic when he becomes excessively involved with his world and is swallowed up in the one like many" of the group. This struggle for authenticity is what Dasein faces in the woods outside town.

These are only the most pervasive of many Heideggerian allusions in the novel. Herbert has a way of making abstract philosophical concepts very real. He uses Heidegger loosely, as a trigger for thought. He knows that philosophy is not a matter of reason alone but of human experience. As a result, he touches depths of feeling behind metaphysical issues rarely achieved in fiction. The "thrownness" of dasein to which Heidegger refers, the crisis of "being here" in the world, is not an abstract thing to Herbert; it is confronted whenever novelty brings man face to face with uncertainty.

An individual must struggle to reconstitute his life and his worldview every time his preconceptions are shattered by experience. This is a basic human situation. In his essay, "Listening to the Left Hand," Herbert says:. When Dasein comes to Santaroga, his old ideas no longer quite fit; he must "make up his mind" literally about the unknown situation. In addition, he experiences tension between his love for Jenny sorge and his need to be true to himself dasein. The pessimistic ending of this conflict reflects Heidegger's awareness of the perennial danger of inauthenticity.

Herbert's experiential rendering of dasein as the process of accommodation to the unknown strikes chords in the reader that Heidegger's logical analyses of dasein 's situation never could. The reader, too, is dasein , he is human. His involvement in the novel makes the same demands for a reassessment of his world as does Gilbert Dasein's involvement in Santaroga.

As the Santarogans are trying to educate Dasein to their ways, Herbert is trying "to instill a new performance pattern in the reader. Herbert is also relying on the same assumption that he made while writing Destination: Void , that talking about hyperconsciousness has the effect of evoking it in some people.

More profoundly, however, the new performance pattern Herbert is trying to evoke has to do with the reader's power of judgment. Things are not what they seem in Santaroga, and the reader is forced to solve the mystery for himself. But there is more than a "whodunit" to be solved here, for Herbert's investigator reaches a false conclusion.

The reader is being pressured without any overt indication to put the pieces Santaroga has shattered back together in his own way. Herbert's use of Jaspers is even more demanding on the reader than his use of Heidegger, even more pregnant with the possibility of transformation, because the borrowings go deeper than they seem. Santaroga has found the insights of Jaspers's philosophy in a magic growth from the underground caverns of the Cheese Co-op. The drug takes Dasein from his everyday, limited consciousness to a transcendence with echoes of the philosopher's encompassing existenz.

Like the philosopher Jaspers, the drug also teaches the Santarogans about the pervasive irrational elements in man and shows them that true human being can best be found in the network of awakened human communication. Many other aspects of Jaspers's thought appear in the novel, though not as Santarogan characteristics. For example, Dasein is concerned with the limits of his role as a scientific observer.

This was also a theme in Under Pressure , where Ramsey, like Dasein, found that objectivity was not truly possible in human situations. The limits of scientific objectivity is also one of Jaspers's ideas, Furthermore, Jaspers argues that in the face of human irrationality and the uncertainty of events, man is forced to depend on his own intuitive decisions. Even though he cannot know every outcome, or even whether he has made the right choices, man must take the chance of committing himself anyway. Dasein's lonely choices in the camper outside town are an eloquent description of man's attainment of being through decision.

Jaspers's influence on Herbert's work goes far beyond The Santaroga Barrier. For instance, the emphasis on the need for guilt in the creation of the artificial intelligence in Destination: Void may be an echo of that philosopher. Choice in the face of uncertainty leads to guilt, according to Jaspers, a guilt that men flee by imagining absolute standards and then doing their best to live up to them. Herbert's contempt for absolutes and their pernicious role in human psychology should be obvious by now.

Jaspers's primary formulation—that human life is bounded by inescapable limits such as death, uncertainty, struggle, and guilt—is also central to Herbert's thought. Jaspers focuses on man s attempt to escape from these limits in a way uncannily similar to Herbert:. Herbert has expanded on Jaspers, but the similarity of structure between the thought of the two men is indubitable. The latter passage foreshadows Herbert's premise that consciousness is not a "solution" that makes the problems of human life go away.

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In fact, it may intensify their subjective reality, as it does with Dasein, until he seeks refuge in a womb of unawareness. But as Paul learned, consciousness does allow man to ride the waves of crisis or uncertainty with more aplomb. And as works such as The Eyes of Heisenberg and Children of Dune argue, to hide from uncertainty in the unconsciousness of an absolute belief, a perfect society, or a divine messiah may work for a time, but the eventual result is a devastating collapse in which uncertainty rushes back in, often to the accompaniment of social chaos.

Considering the profound influence that Jaspers has had on Herbert, there is a touch of paradox in his treatment of Jaspers in The Santaroga Barrier. Santaroga is an appealing utopia to many of Herbert's readers because the concepts inspired by Jaspers the drug spring from the same source as Herbert's own. The Santarogans speak wisdom that readers have come to expect from Herbert himself. They are certainly far wiser than the people outside.

Under the influence of Jaspers, Dasein reaches levels of illumination and insight that are truly remarkable. But he cannot maintain the tension of uncertainty forever. He desperately hungers for a resolution.

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He cannot stand alone, and so eventually he is swallowed up by a kind of unconsciousness at least as pervasive as the unconsciousness outside Santaroga. Herbert is satirizing the modern longing for a pharmaceutical philosophy. The drug Jaspers is subject to the same criticisms that Burdeaux made of television. It is passive. The strength demanded by Jaspers's philosophy is not required in Santaroga.

This weakness contributes to the society's fall into a miasmic utopia instead of continuing the unending search for wisdom, which Jaspers the philosopher calls for. Piaget tells Dasein he is glad of the challenge the outsider provides, but this is really only lip service.


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He is afraid that too deep an inquiry will reveal some fatal flaw or demand too much. The insights provided by the drug are profound and valuable, but the alteration of awareness it gives is not identical to the heightening of responsible self-awareness to which Herbert gives the name of consciousness. This distinction applies to Jaspers the philosopher as well.

The danger of philosophical wisdom is that one can be seduced by it. One can come to believe that "if only everyone knew what I know, the world would be okay. Skinner's attitude in Walden Two , and he seems to have a similar opinion of Jaspers. Whether or not Herbert's assessment of Jaspers is correct, the point is well taken. Jaspers's philosophy is undeniably appealing—but so were those of the priests of Amel and the Bene Gesserit.

Good ideas are not enough. Herbert uses philosophy as a practical tool for living and judges its results against life, so there are no right answers and no complete doctrine. There are only answers and their consequences. What happens to people who follow any given set of beliefs? The subtleties of one doctrine as opposed to another are resolved not by logic but by looking at their effects. On one level, this means that all value judgments are relative. But at the same time, a local frame of reference is defined by survival value.

Herbert's work implies a kind of evolutionary ethic. The tension between even the best of all possible philosophies and the diversity that is the key to survival is a central thrust of The Santaroga Barrier. Like Paul, Jaspers is dangerous because he seems to promise truth, not just a point of view. Herbert has a profound distrust of those very ideas that are most appealing to him. He is always on guard lest they satiate his uncertainty and leave him with a docile illusion of superiority.

He endeavors to state his ideas in a way that provokes rather than satisfies questioning. Herbert abides religiously by this concept. There is no wisdom that excepts one from the possibility of inauthenticity, of being untrue to himself. Even to realize the uncertainty at the heart of things is a perception that must constantly be renewed. The realization can too easily degenerate, as it does in Santaroga, into its own kind of complacency. This is why, ultimately, Herbert offers no clear answers in The Santaroga Barrier. Even to make a positive statement for diversity can be repressive.

So he states different sides of each question with equal force. He is interested in exploring possibilities, in looking at the assumptions behind social choices and the con- sequences if they are carried out. Remember his comment, "I'm a muckraker. There are meant to be some loose ends.

Frank Herbert

The Santaroga Barrier is meant to be unsettling. Herbert says:. In Hellstrom's Hive , Herbert summons many of the same ambiguities that he did in The Santaroga Barrier , though in an even more extreme fashion. Santaroga was equivocal—utopia or dystopia depending on your point of view. The world of Hellstrom's Hive is simply turned upside down. The novel centers around the efforts of a government espionage agency to investigate a weapons project headed by one Dr.

As it develops, the project is a front for a massive underground hive of humans who have decided to emulate insect social models as a means of ensuring species survival. Hellstrom and a few other leaders still retain the individual consciousness needed to communicate with the outside world; most of the hive consists of interchangeable workers and breeders. The investigation comes at a crucial time in the life of the hive. After developing in secret for many years, it is ready to swarm. As long as there is only one hive, it is vulnerable to the outside.

Once there are many, the new breed of humans, like the insects, will be here to stay. The investigation must be stopped! All the hive needs is a little more time to multiply past the crucial point, and to develop Hellstrom's weapon as a "stinger. As the novel opens, government agents are watching Hellstrom's installation. One by one they are picked up by the hive and killed. Finally, the head operator of the Agency takes over.

He is a James Bond-like figure who we are sure will counter the threat. One cannot like him as a character; still, he does represent "our side. One by one, the efforts of the outside are halted by their own inadequacies, by bureaucracy, egotism, and fear for individual survival. The reader is like a blind man coming home to find all his furniture rearranged. He knows that the insects must be the villains, but every cue tells him that they are the heroes. The representatives of the outside are so clearly not hero material.

Assumptions war with the emotional responses programmed by the story. The result is very frightening. A reader unfamiliar with Herbert's themes is likely to regard it simply as a depressing vision and will fail to understand its deeper purpose. Hellstrom's Hive is Herbert's most extreme vision, but the principles it illustrates are to be found throughout his work. He says, "It is by confusing the images that we learn to live with them. Heroes and villains are never quite what they seem; expectations are raised and never quite fulfilled.

Herbert's constant demand is that the reader learn to think for himself, so his novels can never be taken at face value. Hellstrom's Hive is a powerful, effective novel, but it is completely unpalatable unless the reader sees beyond what has been so obviously presented to what has not been said. In Dune and Destination: Void , Herbert sought to awaken his readers in a positive way, by evoking hyperconscious images. The reader must not only resolve uncertainty, but must use his own awakened sensibilities to recast the paradoxes and inversions with which he is presented.

Skip to main content. Contents Frank Herbert. Out of print. Chapter 6: An Ecology of Consciousness The tensions between security and adaptability, between social order and social experiment, are encapsulated in the idea of utopia. As long as there's no significant change in their environment, they'll continue living… indefinitely. Let significant change creep into their lives and they're like us—subject to the whims of nature.

For them, you see, there can be no nature—no nature they don't control. A statement Herbert made about social planning, in the light of genetics, might equally well be applied to his artistic quest: The holders of power in this world have not awakened to the realization that there is no single model of a society, a species, or an individual. There are a variety of models to meet a variety of needs. They meet different expectations and have different goals. The aim of that force which impels us to live may be to produce as many different models as possible.

Potter pushes him to face this alternate possibility: "You don't really mean you're afraid this is the action of a deity? You said we always have to he ready to face the fact that the reality we see will he shockingly different from anything our theories led us to suspect. Did I really say that? Something beyond our instruments. It's never heard of Heisenberg. It isn't uncertain at all. It moves. It adjusts things.

The ghost of Heisenberg is confounded! The man was mocking him. He spoke stiffly, "Heisenberg did point out that we have our limits. He taught us that. There's always something we can't interpret or understand… or measure. He set us up for this present dilemma eh? Our civilization sees indeterminately through the eyes of Heisenberg. If he taught us truly, how can we tell whether the unknown's an accident or the deliberate intent of God? What's the use of even asking? And Potter thinks he would be able to re-create this lost trait, now that he has seen it happen: We've upset the biological stability of the inheritance pattern with our false isomers and our enzyme adjustments and our meson beams.

We've undermined the chemical stability of the molecules in the germ plasm… It wasn't always that way. And whatever set up that original stability is still in there fighting. It is suggested at first that the novel takes place in the not-too-distant future: Some of the old dreams—space travel, the questing philosophies, farming of the seas—had been shelved temporarily, put aside for more important things. The day would come, though, once they solved the unknowns behind submolecular engineering.

But now—now, I feel alive, vital, alert, fascinated. And when this reality finally invades the Optiman citadel, violence and death entering in where they have not been seen for thousands upon thousands of years, Calapine finally remembers her past: Necessity had forced her into a new kind of living awareness, a new rhythm. It had happened down there in a burst of memories that trailed through forty-thousand years. None of it escaped her—not a moment of kindness nor of brutality. Harvey Durant observes: The genetic environment had been shaped into a new pattern and he could see it.

This was an indefinite pattern, full of indeterminacy. Heisenberg would've liked this pattern. The movers themselves had been moved—and changed—by moving. The poem describes the humanity found in moments that will be lost forever: You archaeologist of a time When I'm dustier than Carthage— Listen! When you lift gently at fused green glass And expose this breakfastnook, To which translation will you attribute Your ideas about conditions here—Our mores, habits, artifacts? About this toaster, now, From which she takes two more—Listen!

A collector of ancient gossip Will need sensitive ears To hear the scratch of a knife Buttering toast. His memories of this planet would not let him alone. This passage echoes the following lines from the poem, as well as other stanzas containing archaeological references: You've forgotten, but your genes have not. Compelling blacksnake ripples Whip across generations,… We Martians breathe out skipped rocks— Where they touch, eons condense. The Chem are kindred of the Denebians of "Looking for Something," as Thurlow is of Paul Marcus, the hypnotist who wakes up from Denebian conditioning, In The Santaroga Barrier , a novel written shortly after Dune was published, Herbert picks up the same themes as in The Heaven Makers , but from a reversed angle, showing how someone nominally free and self-aware becomes conditioned to the unconscious rules of a society and loses his perspective.

With the Jaspers, we take off the binding element. Couple that with the brutality of childhood? We would have violence, chaos. We would have no society. We must superimpose a limiting order on the innate patterns of our nervous systems. We must have common interests. Jaspers gives man a chance at a fresh start, at freedom from all of his prior conditioning.

It was more knowledge of mood in those around him. It was a lake in which they all swam. When one disturbed the water, the others knew it. To those relying on this sense of inner connectedness, Dasein was almost invisible. Piaget tells Dasein, We know the civilization-culture-society outside is dying.

They do die, you know. When this is about to happen, pieces break off from the parent body. Pieces cut themselves free, Dasein. Our scalpel—that was Jaspers. Think, man! It's a Virgilian autumn… the dusk of a civilization. Burdeaux says: You see, it's all TV out there—life, everything. Outsiders are spectators. LitCharts Teacher Editions. Teach your students to analyze literature like LitCharts does. Detailed explanations, analysis, and citation info for every important quote on LitCharts. The original text plus a side-by-side modern translation of every Shakespeare play.

LitCharts From the creators of SparkNotes, something better. Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates. Download this LitChart! Themes All Themes. Symbols All Symbols. Theme Wheel. Themes and Colors Key. LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Revolutionary Road , which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Bart Pollock takes Frank out to lunch in the restaurant in the lobby of a hotel.

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Frank plans to tell April that it is the same hotel where he went with his father and Oat Fields. As he listens to Pollock praise his work, Frank anxiously thinks about how he will mock the experience to April. They drink martini after martini. Pollock explains that getting an old-fashioned company to adapt to selling computers is as difficult as getting two tired, old people to raise a newborn.

Frank asks Pollock if he remembers a man named Otis Fields, then explains that his father worked as a salesman for Knox. On the basis of the pamphlet that Frank wrote, Pollock believes that Frank has a real talent for selling the new technology of computers. Frank enjoys the special treatment Pollock is showing him, but he knows that April will look down on it. He also feels the presence of his father during the conversation. Frank thinks back on his old grievances against his parents: he thinks that they failed to invest energy in him because they were old and tired by the time of his birth.

As he gets wined and dined and praised by a bigshot executive, Frank begins to feel for the first time that he is finally doing something that would have made his father proud. Active Themes. Marriage and Selfhood. He says that he bets that Frank told his father that giving his name had gotten him the job.

Bandy is picturing a very different dynamic between Frank and Earl than the one that existed. He imagines that Frank wanted to feel a proud self-sufficiency about getting the job at Knox, whereas Frank saw the job a joke. He also thinks that Frank had intentionally told his father that his name had helped him to get the job, when Frank had actually meant to act spitefully towards his father in doing this. But in an emotional outburst, Frank had in fact felt proud of securing work at Knox and led his father to believe mentioning his name had been a part of that achievement.

Manhood and Womanhood. Related Quotes with Explanations. Pollock tells Frank that he wants to start a new division in the company focused on selling computers. He tells Frank that he pictures Frank travelling the country and explaining the computer to people at business seminars. Frank interrupts to tell Pollock that he plans on leaving the company in the fall, telling him that perhaps he should have mentioned this sooner. In his head, he hears April criticizing him for apologizing to Pollock, and he defends himself against this imagined accusation.

Pollock says that if Frank changes his mind, this opportunity will be waiting for him, and that to continue working at Knox would be a fine tribute to Earl. For as long as Frank has known April, he has always taken this stance on corporate, conformist American culture, assuming the role of an independent thinker trapped in a boring world.

But now that he is being offered a new, interesting career direction, he has to force himself to pretend not to be interested. It begins to seem possible that, deep down, Frank wanted the job at Knox because he wanted to be like his father and have a career that would make Earl proud. For the next few nights, Frank has no opportunity to tell April about his meeting with Pollock , because she seems exhausted, tense, and withdrawn. Eventually, on the third or fourth night after his meeting, he asks her what is wrong.

Full of unhappiness, April tells Frank that she is pregnant. Frank hugs her, hiding the fact that he is smiling in joy because this means they will not be able to go to Paris.