Comparative Analysis on Belonging of Romulus My Father and Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates.Pdf

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The 1961 novel Revolutionary Road by author Richard Yates links strongly with the autobiographical recount Romulus, My Father, by Raimond Gaita, and in so doing provides a greater understanding of the concept of Belonging. It charts the disintegration of the marriage of Frank and April Wheeler as they struggle against the oppressive conformity of suburban 1950s America. The texts together explore the processes undergone by the individual in their integration to society and it’s inherent cultural groups. Revolutionary Road posits as it’s central idea that life is - entirely and inescapably, not only on the surface but right down to the core of human nature - an act. Every action of the characters in the novel, every single piece of behavior, thought, and reasoning are based on a structure of systematic etiquette. The central protagonist, Frank Wheeler phrases this concept perfectly in the way he describes the speech of his wife as having a “quality of play-acting, of slightly false intensity, a way of seeming to speak less to him and more to some romantic abstraction”. Though set in the cultural dead-end of the United States in the 1950s, a time when the American dream, entirely achieved, was beginning to ring hollow; it could easily be from any context that could be regarded as a ‘society’ - the text implying a sense of general universality of it’s central posit. The book shows that in any attempt for acceptance, true self expression will be limited - often severely so. Contrastingly, Romulus, My Father appears to espouse an entirely opposite premise: that an honestly of character equates to moral goodness, even in the face of great adversity, and will bring a sense of fulfilled connection in life. As Gaita puts is “Character... was the central moral concept for my father and Hora.” Romulus retains his own identity, despite the barriers it creates in a society that seeks to assimilate; and it is this very attribute that allows him to belong to his family and those...
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