books

A Dusty Road

I’ve started reading Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates this week, and although I thought that it would have no relevance to my life, I’ve found that a couple of passages have been particularly meaningful, even though I know nothing about what it means to be married and to be trapped in a marriage. I feel like I particularly understand where Frank is coming from, living a life that is so much less than the one he’d imagined for himself.

A couple of noteworthy passages:

Before long (and particularly after the second year, with both of his parents dead) he had stopped trying to explain that part of it, and begun to dwell on the other comic aspects of the job: the absurd discrepancy of his own ideals and those of Knox Business Machines; the gulf between the amount of energy he was supposed to give the company and the amount he actually gave. “I mean the great advantage of a place like Knox is that you can sort of turn your mind off every morning at nine and leave it off all day, and nobody knows the difference.”

More recently still, and particularly since moving to the country, he had taken to avoiding the whole topic whenever possible by replying, to the question of what he did for a living, that he didn’t do anything, really; that he had the dullest job you could possibly imagine.

And:

Over the years he had discovered slight sensory distinctions between it and all the others of the building; it was no more or less pleasant, but different for being “his” floor. It was his bright, dry, daily ordeal, his personal measure of tedium. It had taught him new ways of spacing out the hours of the day — almost time to go down for coffee; almost time to go out for lunch; almost time to go home — and he had come to rely on the desolate wastes of time that lay between these pleasures as an invalid comes to rely on the certainty of recurring pain. It was a part of him.

I’m curious about the fate of Frank and April Wheeler.

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