Plot Summary of Revolutionary Road Part II Chapters 1-4
With a deep, almost silly love restored between the two under April’s plan to move to Paris and start fresh, comes one of the important quotes from Revolutionary Road, “There now began a time of such joyous derangement, of such exultant carelessness that Frank Wheeler could never afterwards remember how long it lasted” (89). As we will discover later in the plot and summary of Revolutionary Road, Frank probably spent agonizing years trying to remember just what might have been lost during this time.
Frank detaches himself from Maureen, keeping things professional, and lets his work slide even more than usual. The only thing he does do it take care of a client in Toledo who needs ad materials, which Frank hastily whips out by speaking into his Dictaphone and sending what it says. He waits to get home and be with April—the two are like teenagers and their two children, who are afraid and confused, get rejected as the lovers spend time together. They are often put in front of the television or sent to the Campbell house. The children revert to baby behaviors to get their parents attention but at night at least are glad there is no fighting to keep them awake. As time wears on and the parents are wrapped in their fantasy, Frank begins to think a little more critically about the move. Anytime he brings it up with April she seems distracted and bothered that he’s questioning anything so he just remains quiet about negative feelings all the time.
Chapter Two takes us for the first time into the home of Shep and Milly Campbell. They are getting ready to come over to the Wheelers home that evening but Milly is reserved about the idea, feeling like they are becoming snobbish. Through memories we get a detailed character analysis of Shep Campbell. He was a rich young man who rebelled because he was ashamed of his wealth and way he was raised to be a pretty boy. He went off to war, met Milly, treated her badly at one point, but the two get along now. He is not attracted to her and notices often her sour scent. The woman he really dreams about is April Wheeler. Shep’s dreams of April and Milly’s treasured friendship with the Wheelers are toppled when the Wheelers, acting decidedly snobbish indeed to the Campbells (who they now suddenly see as bland and middle class) tell them they’re leaving. Shep is crushed and the Wheelers are feeling satisfied with themselves.
Chapter Three puts the reader in the mind of another character, Helen Givings. We have learned through “gossip” of other characters that she has a psychotic only child in an institution. She had him put there after he shattered a glass table during one of his rages. In this chapter she flits about, “gossiping” to herself about everyone else and admiring her home she works on so meticulously. Her husband Howard shuts off his hearing aid to avoid listening to her prattling. She has come up with an idea to introduce her son in the psych ward, John, to the Wheelers in order to get him socializing and spends her afternoon planning this event. At one point, she suddenly loses her grip and sees that her legs no longer look sleek and young and thinks that her only child is put away and begins to cry. Just as quickly, she recovers and goes about her business while her husband ignores her.
The next chapter puts us back with Frank, who has told his office partner, Ordway, that they will be leaving for Europe. He is then called into his manager’s office, not sure what to expect, but finds that a man named Bart Pollock who is an important person in his field, is there to see him about the great work he did on the project he half-assed with the Dictaphone. The man is interested in offering Frank an opportunity with more money and perhaps more creativity. Frank is reeling. When he tells April she is nonchalant, asking him if he told him that he’d be leaving. Frank did not and this issue lingers for a good section of the plot of Revolutionary Road after this point.