The character of April Wheeler in Revolutionary Road from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes

Revolutionary Road

April Wheeler Character Analysis

Independent-minded and passionate, but chronically unhappy, April Wheeler is miserable with her life as a suburban homemaker. Brought up in an affluent setting by aunts, because her hard-partying parents did not want her, April wants to feel that she fits in among people who live a glamorous life like the one she imagined her parents led. When she first meets Frank, April believes that he is an intellectual who can introduce her to that world. She gives up her hopes of becoming an actress to marry him. She does not want to have children until she is in her late-twenties, but is convinced by Frank not to abort an accidental pregnancy, going on to have two children. April can come across as withdrawn and snobbish, but she is also widely admired for her good taste, beauty, and elegance. Desperate to make a change to her life, April comes up with a plan for her and Frank to move their family to Europe.

April Wheeler Quotes in Revolutionary Road

The Revolutionary Road quotes below are all either spoken by April Wheeler or refer to April Wheeler. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Marriage and Selfhood Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of Revolutionary Road published in 2000.
Part 1, Chapter 2 Quotes

"It strikes me," he said at last, "that there's a considerable amount of bullshit going on here. I mean you seem to be doing a pretty good imitation of Madame Bovary here, and there's one or two points I'd like to clear up. Number one, it's not my fault the play was lousy. Number two, it's sure as hell not my fault you didn’t turn out to be an actress, and the sooner you get over that little piece of soap opera the better off we're all going to be. Number three, I don’t happen to fit the role of dumb, insensitive suburban husband; you've been trying to hang that one on me ever since we moved out here, and I'm damned if I'll wear it. Number four—”
She was out of the car and running away in the headlights, quick and graceful, a little too wide in the hips. For a second, as he clambered out and started after her, he thought she meant to kill herself—she was capable of damn near anything at times like this—but she stopped in the dark roadside weeds thirty yards ahead, beside a luminous sign that read NO PASSING. He came up behind her and stood uncertainly, breathing hard, keeping his distance. She wasn’t crying; she was only standing there, with her back to him.
"What the hell," he said. "What the hell's this all about? Come on back to the car."
"No. I will in a minute. Just let me stand here a minute.”

Related Characters: Frank Wheeler (speaker)
Page Number: 26
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Then the fight went out of control. It quivered their arms and legs and wrenched their faces into shapes of hatred, it urged them harder and deeper into each other's weakest points, showing them cunning ways around each other's strongholds and quick chances to switch tactics, feint, and strike again. In the space of a gasp for breath it sent their memories racing back over the years for old weapons to rip the scabs off old wounds; it went on and on.
"Oh, you've never fooled me, Frank, never once. All your precious moral maxims and your 'love' and your mealy-mouthed little—do you think I've forgotten the time you hit me in the face because I said I wouldn’t forgive you? Oh, I've always known I had to be your conscience and your guts—and your punching bag. Just because you've got me safely in a trap you think you—"
"You in a trap! You in a trap! Jesus, don’t make me laugh!"
"Yes, me." She made a claw of her hand and clutched at her collarbone. "Me. Me. Me. Oh, you poor, self-deluded—Look at you! Look at you, and tell me how by any stretch"—she tossed her head, and the grin of her teeth glistened white in the moonlight—"by any stretch of the imagination you can call yourself a man!"

Related Characters: Frank Wheeler (speaker), April Wheeler (speaker)
Page Number: 28-29
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Part 1, Chapter 3 Quotes

She'd decided in favor of that, all right. And why not? Wasn't it the first love of any kind she'd ever known? Even on the level of practical advantage it must have held an undeniable appeal: it freed her from the gritty round of disappointment she would otherwise have faced as an only mildly talented, mildly enthusiastic graduate of dramatic school; it let her languish attractively through a part-time office job ("just until my husband finds the kind of work he really wants to do") while saving her best energies for animated discussions of books and pictures and the shortcomings of other people's personalities, for trying new ways of fixing her hair and new kinds of inexpensive clothes ("Do you really like the sandals, or are they too Villager?") and for hours of unhurried dalliance deep in their double bed. But even in those days she'd held herself poised for immediate flight; she had always been ready to take off the minute she happened to feel like it ("Don't talk to me that way, Frank, or I'm leaving. I mean it") or the minute anything went wrong.

Related Characters: Frank Wheeler , April Wheeler
Page Number: 50
Explanation and Analysis:
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And the fight went on all night. It caused them to hiss and grapple and knock over a chair, it spilled outside and downstairs and into the street ("Get away from me! Get away from me!")…All that saved him, all that enabled him now to crouch and lift a new stone from its socket and follow its rumbling fall with the steady and dignified tread of self-respect, was that the next day he had won. The next day, weeping in his arms, she had allowed herself to be dissuaded.
"Oh, I know, I know," she had whispered against his shirt, "I know you're right. I'm sorry. I love you. We'll name it Frank and we'll send it to college and everything. I promise, promise."
And it seemed to him now that no single moment of his life had ever contained a better proof of manhood than that, if any proof were needed: holding that tamed, submissive girl and saying, "Oh, my lovely; oh, my lovely," while she promised she would bear his child. Lurching and swaying under the weight of the stone in the sun, dropping it at last and wiping his sore hands, he picked up the shovel and went to work again, while the children's voices fluted and chirped around him, as insidiously torturing as the gnats.

Related Characters: Frank Wheeler (speaker), April Wheeler (speaker), Jennifer Wheeler, Michael Wheeler
Related Symbols: Stone Path
Page Number: 52-53
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 1, Chapter 4 Quotes

He found it hard to keep his voice from thickening into a sentimental husk as he began to read aloud, with their two heads pressed close to his ribs on either side and their thin legs lying straight out on the sofa cushions, warm against his own. They knew what forgiveness was; they were willing to take him for better or worse; they loved him. Why couldn’t April realize how simple and necessary it was to love? Why did she have to complicate everything?
The only trouble was that the funnies seemed to go on forever…
"Daddy, we skipped a funny."
"No we didn't, sweetie. That's just an advertisement. You don’t want to read that."
"Yes I do."
"I do too."
"But it isn't a funny. It's just made to look like one. It's an advertisement for some kind of toothpaste."
"Read us it anyway."

Related Characters: Frank Wheeler (speaker), Jennifer Wheeler (speaker), Michael Wheeler (speaker), April Wheeler
Page Number: 58
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 1, Chapter 6 Quotes

Beginning with a quick, audacious dismantling of the Knox Business Machines Corporation, which made her laugh, he moved out confidently onto broader fields of damnation until he had laid the punctured myth of Free Enterprise at her feet; then, just at the point where any further talk of economics might have threatened to bore her, he swept her away into cloudy realms of philosophy and brought her lightly back to earth with a wise-crack.
And how did she feel about the death of Dylan Thomas? And didn’t she agree that this generation was the least vital and most terrified in modern times? He was at the top of his form. He was making use of material that had caused Milly Campbell to say "Oh that's so true, Frank!" and of older, richer stuff that had once helped to make him the most interesting person April Johnson had ever met. He even touched on his having been a longshoreman. Through it all, though, ran a bright and skillfully woven thread that was just for Maureen: a portrait of himself as decent but disillusioned young family man, sadly and bravely at war with his environment.

Page Number: 100-101
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Part 1, Chapter 7 Quotes

"In order to agree with that," she said, "I'd have to have a very strange and very low opinion of reality. Because you see I happen to think this is unrealistic. I think it's unrealistic for a man with a fine mind to go on working like a dog year after year at a job he can’t stand, coming home to a house he can’t stand in a place he can’t stand either, to a wife who's equally unable to stand the same things, living among a bunch of frightened little—my God, Frank, I don’t have to tell you what's wrong with this environment—I’m practically quoting you. Just last night when the Campbells were here, remember what you said about the whole idea of suburbia being to keep reality at bay? You said everybody wanted to bring up their children in a bath of sentimentality. You said—”
"I know what I said. I didn’t think you were listening, though. You looked sort of bored."
"I was bored. That's part of what I'm trying to say. I don't think I've ever been more bored and depressed and fed up in my life than I was last night. All that business about Helen Givings's son on top of everything else, and the way we all grabbed at it like dogs after meat; I remember looking at you and thinking 'God, if only he'd stop talking.' Because everything you said was based on this great premise of ours that we're somehow very special and superior to the whole thing, and I wanted to say 'But we're not! Look at us! We're just like the people you're talking about! We are the people you're talking about!' I sort of had—I don’t know, contempt for you, because you couldn't see the terrific fallacy of the thing.”

Page Number: 115-116
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Part 2, Chapter 2 Quotes

And she had managed to give every room of it the spare, stripped-down, intellectual look that April Wheeler called "interesting." Well, almost every room. Feeling fond and tolerant as he rolled his shoe rag into a waxy cylinder, Shep Campbell had to admit that this particular room, this bedroom, was not a very sophisticated place. Its narrow walls, papered in a big floral design of pink and lavender, held careful bracket shelves that in turn held rows of little winking frail things made of glass; its windows served less as windows than as settings for puffed effusions of dimity curtains, and the matching dimity skirts of its bed and dressing table fell in overabundant pleats and billows to the carpet. It was a room that might have been dreamed by a little girl alone with her dolls and obsessed with the notion of making things nice for them among broken orange crates and scraps of cloth in a secret shady corner of the back yard…and whose quick, frightened eyes, as she worked, would look very much like the eyes that now searched this mirror for signs of encroaching middle age.

Page Number: 151
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Part 2, Chapter 4 Quotes

The trouble, he guessed, was that all the way home this evening he had imagined her saying: "And it probably is the best sales promotion piece they've ever seen—what's so funny about that?"
And himself saying: "No, but you're missing the point—a thing like this just proves what a bunch of idiots they are."
And her: "I don’t think it proves anything of the sort. Why do you always undervalue yourself? I think it proves you're the kind of person who can excel at anything when you want to, or when you have to." And him: "Well, I don’t know; maybe. It's just that I don't want to excel at crap like that."
And her: "Of course you don't, and that's why we're leaving. But in the meantime, is there anything so terrible about accepting their recognition? Maybe you don't want it or need it, but that doesn’t make it contemptible, does it? I mean I think you ought to feel good about it, Frank. Really."
But she hadn't said anything even faintly like that; she hadn’t even looked as if thoughts like that could enter her head. She was sitting here cutting and chewing in perfect composure, with her mind already far away on other things.

Related Characters: Frank Wheeler , April Wheeler, Bart Pollock
Page Number: 186
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 2, Chapter 5 Quotes

"You hear wrong. Taught it for a while, that's all. Anyway, it's all gone now. You know what electrical shock treatments are? Because you see, the past couple months I've had thirty-five—or no, wait—thirty-seven…The idea is to jolt all the emotional problems out of your mind, you see, but in my case they had a different effect. Jolted out all the God damned mathematics. Whole subject's a total blank."
"How awful," April said.
"'How awful.’” John Givings mimicked her in a mincing, effeminate voice and then turned on her with a challenging smirk. "Why?" he demanded. "Because mathematics is so 'interesting'?"
"No," she said. "Because the shocks must be awful and because it's awful for anybody to forget something they want to remember. As a matter of fact I think mathematics must be very dull."
He stared at her for a long time, and nodded with approval. "I like your girl, Wheeler," he announced at last. "I get the feeling she's female. You know what the difference between female and feminine is? Huh? Well, here's a hint: a feminine woman never laughs out loud and always shaves her armpits. Old Helen in there is feminine as hell. I've only met about half a dozen females in my life, and I think you got one of them here. Course, come to think of it, that figures. I get the feeling you're male. There aren’t too many males around, either."

Related Characters: Frank Wheeler (speaker), April Wheeler (speaker), John Givings (speaker), Helen Givings
Page Number: 200-201
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 2, Chapter 6 Quotes

He leaned back, smiling and cannily narrowing his eyes. "Wait a minute. Let me see how good a judge of character I am. I bet I know what happened. This is just a guess, now." He winked. "An educated guess. I bet you went ahead and let your dad think his name had helped you get the job, just to please him. Am I right?"
And the disturbing fact of the matter was that he was. On an autumn day of that year…Frank had taken his wife to visit his parents; and all the way out to Harrisburg he'd planned to be elaborately, sophisticatedly offhand in the announcing of his double piece of news, the baby and the job. "Oh, and by the way, I've got a steadier kind of job now, too," he had planned to say, "kind of a stupid job, nothing I'm interested in, but the money's nice." And then he would let the old man have it. But when the moment came…with his father doing his best to be benign, his mother doing her best to be tearfully pleased about the baby and April doing her best to be sweetly and shyly proud—when all the lying tenderness of that moment came it had robbed him of his nerve, and he'd blurted it out—a job in the Home Office!—like a little boy come home with a good report card.

Related Characters: Bart Pollock (speaker), Frank Wheeler , April Wheeler, Earl Wheeler
Page Number: 212-213
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 3, Chapter 1 Quotes

When he lit a cigarette in the dark he was careful to arrange his features in a virile frown before striking and cupping the flame (he knew, from having practiced this at the mirror of a blacked-out bathroom years ago, that it made a swift, intensely dramatic portrait), and he paid scrupulous attention to endless details: keeping his voice low and resonant, keeping his hair brushed and his bitten fingernails out of sight; being always the first one athletically up and out of bed in the morning, so that she might never see his face lying swollen and helpless in sleep.
Sometimes after a particularly conscious display of this kind, as when he found he had made all his molars ache by holding them clamped too long for an effect of grim-jawed determination by candlelight, he would feel a certain distaste with himself for having to resort to such methods and, very obscurely, with her as well, for being so easily swayed by them. What kind of kid stuff was this? But these attacks of conscience were quickly allayed: all was fair in love and war; and besides, wasn’t she all too capable of playing the same game? Hadn’t she pulled out everything in her own bag of tricks last month, to seduce him into the Europe plan?

Related Characters: Frank Wheeler , April Wheeler
Page Number: 231-232
Explanation and Analysis:
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"I think we can assume, though," he said, "just on the basis of common sense, that if most little girls do have this thing about wanting to be boys, they probably get over it in time by observing and admiring and wanting to emulate their mothers—I mean you know, attract a man, establish a home, have children and so on. And in your case, you see, that whole side of life, that whole dimension of experience was denied you from the start…"
She got up and walked away to stand near the bookcase, with her back to him, and he was reminded of the way he had first seen her, long ago…a tall, proud, exceptionally first-rate girl.
"How do you suppose we'd go about finding one?" she asked. "A psychiatrist, I mean. Aren’t a lot of them supposed to be quacks? Well, but still, I guess that isn’t really much of a problem, is it."
He held his breath.
"Okay," she said. Her eyes were bright with tears as she turned around. "I guess you're right. I guess there isn't much more to say, then, is there?”

Related Characters: Frank Wheeler , April Wheeler
Page Number: 244
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 3, Chapter 4 Quotes

And that, of course, was the other really important difference: it didn't upset him. It annoyed him slightly, but it didn’t upset him. Why should it? It was her problem. What boundless reaches of good health, what a wealth of peace there was in this new-found ability to sort out and identify the facts of their separate personalities—this is my problem, that's your problem. The pressures of the past few months had brought them each through a kind of crisis; he could see that now. This was their time of convalescence, during which a certain remoteness from each other's concerns was certainly natural enough, and probably a good sign. He knew, sympathetically, that in her case the adjustment must be especially hard…Next week, or as soon as possible, he would take whatever steps were necessary in lining up a reputable analyst; and he could already foresee his preliminary discussions with the man, whom he pictured as owlish and slow-spoken, possibly Viennese ("I think your own evaluation of the difficulty is essentially correct, Mr. Wheeler. We can't as yet predict how extensive a course of therapy will be indicated, but I can assure you of this: with your continued cooperation and understanding, there is every reason to hope for rapid . . .").

Related Characters: Frank Wheeler , April Wheeler
Page Number: 279
Explanation and Analysis:
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And almost, if not quite, before he knew what his voice was up to, he was telling her about Maureen Grube. He did it with automatic artfulness, identifying her only as "a girl in New York, a girl I hardly even know," rather than as a typist at the office, careful to stress that there had been no emotional involvement on his part while managing to imply that her need for him had been deep and ungovernable. His voice, soft and strong with an occasional husky falter or hesitation that only enhanced its rhythm, combined the power of confession with the narrative grace of romantic storytelling.
"And I think the main thing was simply a case of feeling that my—well, that my masculinity'd been threatened somehow by all that abortion business; wanting to prove something; I don’t know. Anyway, I broke it off last week; the whole stupid business. It's over now; really over. If I weren't sure of that I guess I could never've brought myself to tell you about it."
For half a minute, the only sound in the room was the music on the radio.
"Why did you?" she asked. He shook his head, still looking out the window. "Baby, I don't know. I've tried to explain it to you; I'm still trying to explain it to myself. That's what I meant about it's being a neurotic, irrational kind of thing. I—"
"No," she said. "I don't mean why did you have the girl; I mean why did you tell me about it? What's the point? Is it supposed to make me jealous, or something? Is it supposed to make me fall in love with you, or back into bed with you, or what? I mean what am I supposed to say?"
He looked at her, feeling his face blush and twitch into an embarrassed simper that he tried, unsuccessfully, to make over into the psychiatric smile. "Why don’t you say what you feel?"
She seemed to think this over for a few seconds, and then she shrugged. "I have. I don’t feel anything."

Related Characters: Frank Wheeler (speaker), April Wheeler (speaker), Maureen Grube
Page Number: 292-293
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 3, Chapter 5 Quotes

"Big man you got here, April," he said, winking at her as he fitted the workman's cap on his head. "Big family man, solid citizen. I feel sorry for you. Still, maybe you deserve each other. Matter of fact, the way you look right now, I'm beginning to feel sorry for him, too. I mean come to think of it, you must give him a pretty bad time, if making babies is the only way he can prove he's got a pair of balls."
"All right, John," Howard was murmuring. "Let's get on out to the car now."
"April," Mrs. Givings whispered. "I can't tell you how sorry I—"
"Right," John said, moving away with his father. "Sorry, sorry, sorry. Okay Ma? Have I said 'Sorry' enough times? I am sorry, too. Damn; I bet I'm just about the sorriest bastard I know. Course, get right down to it, I don't have a whole hell of a lot to be glad about, do I?"
And at least, Mrs. Givings thought, if nothing else could be salvaged from this horrible day, at least he was allowing Howard to lead him away quietly. All she had to do now was to follow them, to find some way of getting across this floor and out of this house, and then it would all be over.
But John wasn’t finished yet. "Hey, I'm glad of one thing, though," he said, stopping near the door and turning back, beginning to laugh again, and Mrs. Givings thought she would die as he extended a long yellow-stained index finger and pointed it at the slight mound of April's pregnancy. "You know what I'm glad of? I'm glad I'm not gonna be that kid."

Related Characters: Helen Givings (speaker), John Givings (speaker), Howard Givings (speaker), Frank Wheeler , April Wheeler
Page Number: 302-303
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 3, Chapter 6 Quotes

There followed a night of vivid and horrible dreams, while he sprawled sweating on the bed in his clothes. Sometimes, either waking or dreaming that he was awake, he thought he heard April moving around the house; then once, toward morning, he could have sworn he opened his eyes and found her sitting close beside him on the edge of the bed. Was it a dream, or not?
"Oh, baby," he whispered through cracked and swollen lips. "Oh, my baby, don’t go away." He reached for her hand and held it. "Oh, please stay."
"Sh-sh-sh. It's all right," she said, and squeezed his fingers. "It's all right, Frank. Go to sleep." The sound of her voice and the cool feel of her hand conveyed such a miracle of peace that he didn't care if it was a dream; it was enough to let him sink back into a sleep that was mercifully dreamless.

Related Characters: Frank Wheeler (speaker), April Wheeler (speaker)
Page Number: 310-311
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 3, Chapter 7 Quotes

What a subtle, treacherous thing it was to let yourself go that way! Because once you'd started it was terribly difficult to stop; soon you were saying "I'm sorry, of course you're right," and "Whatever you think is best," and "You're the most wonderful and valuable thing in the world," and the next thing you knew all honesty, all truth, was as far away and glimmering, as hopelessly unattainable as the world of the golden people. Then you discovered you were working at life the way the Laurel Players worked at The Petrified Forest, or the way Steve Kovick worked at his drums—earnest and sloppy and full of pretension and all wrong…then you were breathing gasoline as if it were flowers and abandoning yourself to a delirium of love under the weight of a clumsy, grunting, red-faced man you didn't even like—Shep Campbell!—and then you were face to face, in total darkness, with the knowledge that you didn’t know who you were.

Page Number: 320-321
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He drew out a long brown bottle with the picture of a horse and the words "White Horse" on its label. Something very small was attached to its neck by a ribbon, but he concealed it from view until he opened his penknife and cut it free. Then, holding it by the ribbon, he laid it delicately in her hand—a tiny, perfect white horse.
"There you are, my darling," he said. "And you can keep it forever."
The fire was out. She prodded the blackened lumps of paper with a stick to make sure they had burned; there was nothing but ashes. The children's voices faintly followed her as she carried the wastebasket back across the lawn; only by going inside and closing the door was she able to shut them out. She turned off the radio too, and the house became extraordinarily quiet.

Related Characters: April Wheeler
Page Number: 326
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 3, Chapter 8 Quotes

A man running down these streets in desperate grief was indecently out of place. Except for the whisk of his shoes on the asphalt and the rush of his own breath, it was so quiet that he could hear the sounds of television in the dozing rooms behind the leaves—a blurred comedian's shout followed by dim, spastic waves of laughter and applause, and then the striking-up of a band. Even when he veered from the pavement, cut across someone's back yard and plunged into the down-sloping woods, intent on a madman's shortcut to Revolutionary Road, even then there was no escape: the house lights beamed and stumbled happily along with him among the twigs that whipped his face, and once when he lost his footing and fell scrabbling down a rocky ravine, he came up with a child's enameled tin beach bucket in his hand.
As he clambered out onto asphalt again at the base of the Hill he allowed his dizzy, jogging mind to indulge in a cruel delusion: it had all been a nightmare; he would round this next bend and see the lights blazing in his own house; he would run inside and find her at the ironing board, or curled up on the sofa with a magazine ("What's the matter, Frank? Your pants are all muddy! Of course I'm all right. . .").
But then he saw the house—really saw it—long and milk-white in the moonlight, with black windows, the only darkened house on the road.

Related Characters: Frank Wheeler , April Wheeler
Page Number: 340
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 3, Chapter 9 Quotes

And the funny part, he suddenly realized, the funny part was that he meant it. Looking at her now in the lamplight, this small, rumpled, foolish woman, he knew he had told the truth. Because God damn it, she was alive, wasn’t she? If he walked over to her chair right now and touched the back of her neck, she would close her eyes and smile, wouldn’t she? Damn right, she would…Then she would go to bed, and in the morning she'd get up and come humping downstairs again in her torn dressing gown with its smell of sleep and orange juice and cough syrup and stale deodorants, and go on living.

Page Number: 350
Explanation and Analysis:
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April Wheeler Character Timeline in Revolutionary Road

The timeline below shows where the character April Wheeler appears in Revolutionary Road. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 1
Marriage and Selfhood Theme Icon
Class, Taste, and Status Theme Icon
...are off to a bad start. Especially its female lead, an elegant twenty-nine-year-old blonde named April Wheeler, performs splendidly. Her husband Franklin Wheeler watches anxiously from the back row. The leading... (full context)
Conformity, Mental Illness, and Psychology Theme Icon
Class, Taste, and Status Theme Icon
As April realizes that the play is falling apart, her performance also falters. Another distractingly bad performance... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 2
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After the play, Frank makes his way towards April’s dressing room, wondering what he should say to his wife. He is also twenty-nine, neatly... (full context)
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Conformity, Mental Illness, and Psychology Theme Icon
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...their failure. Milly Campbell calls to Frank that she and Shep will see him and April later for a drink, and Frank agrees. He goes into April’s dressing room and bends... (full context)
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Frank and April leave the backstage and walk silently through the high school towards the parking lot. Frank... (full context)
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April and Frank get into their car, and April sits far from him. Frank begins to... (full context)
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Conformity, Mental Illness, and Psychology Theme Icon
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...they must live among boring suburbanites; they don’t also need to get hurt by them. April asks him to stop talking again. Frank pulls the car off the highway and tries... (full context)
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Frank and April drive down Revolutionary Road, the same road they traveled two years earlier with Helen Givings,... (full context)
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...home, Frank returns to the house and enters the bedroom. He sits on his and April’s bed and tells her he is sorry. He reflects that she cannot run away now,... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 3
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The next morning is Saturday, and Frank wakes up hungover to the sound of April mowing the lawn, something he promised to do the previous weekend. He had stayed up... (full context)
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Conformity, Mental Illness, and Psychology Theme Icon
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...to say about his troubled relationship with his parents, he always felt affection for them. April’s upbringing seems to him much more dysfunctional. Her parents were a flapper and playboy, who... (full context)
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Frank plans to take over mowing the lawn from April after drinking some coffee, but at that moment Helen Givings drops by, bringing him a... (full context)
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...Michael, the Wheeler children, run up to their father to see what Helen brought him. April approaches and he asks her what he should do with the plant. He doesn’t remember... (full context)
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...be careful to stay out of the way of his shovel. Jennifer asks him why April slept on the couch. Frank responds that she did it because she felt like it,... (full context)
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Frank remembers how April reacted to her unintended pregnancy. She had wanted to wait seven years before having a... (full context)
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...first wasn’t a mistake, moved to the suburbs. He did all this because he thinks April might feel like leaving him at any moment. Jennifer and Michael watch as he struggles... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 4
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The next day, Frank sits reading a magazine. April went alone to her second performance the night before, and they are still not speaking.... (full context)
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...relaxed postures, ready to have a good time. They talk briefly about the play, and April mocks how the other cast members kept repeating “it was a lot of fun anyway.”... (full context)
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April says that she has felt that Helen wanted to say something to them, but couldn’t... (full context)
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...he turned twenty-nine. The Campbells pretend to be amused, and the worst part is that April looks at him with a look of pitying boredom. Frank continues to stew over her... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 5
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...work at Knox Business Machines. Frank had told a classmate he needed a job because April was “knocked up.” He expressly asked for a boring job, saying he wanted to preserve... (full context)
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The Monday after April’s performance, Frank enters the Knox building and makes his way up the elevator to the... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 6
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...lunch, Frank and Maureen walk through the streets. Frank worries he will see one of April’s old friends, but before he knows it, Maureen has invited him up for a drink... (full context)
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As Frank pulls his car up to this house that evening, April comes outside dressed in a cocktail dress. She grabs hold of his arm and apologizes,... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 7
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On Frank’s birthday, after the children are asleep, Frank sits with April in the living room. She continues to apologize to him. She says that she has... (full context)
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April pours herself and Frank some brandy and he listens to the beautiful sound of her... (full context)
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Frank says that her plan is not very realistic, but April counters that living in a place where they are miserable is what is truly unrealistic.... (full context)
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Frank asks to talk, and April sits back to listen, sipping her brandy in bed. Frank says she is being too... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 1
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The next few weeks are a blur of planning and excitement for Frank and April. Looking back later, Frank can only remember the next day at the office. Feeling extremely... (full context)
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...the next few blurry weeks, Frank thinks of little besides his time at home with April. They spend their time talking confidentially about their plans. April is charming and graceful, not... (full context)
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A few weeks later, the perfect fantasy begins to crack for Frank. When Frank asks April why she seems set on moving to Paris instead of elsewhere in Europe, April explains... (full context)
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The next night, April tells Frank that she has bad news. Helen Givings invited them to dinner the next... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 2
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...upon her. Shep admires how she learned to decorate their house in a way that April Wheeler praised. Now, preparing for drinks with the Wheelers, Milly asks Shep if he has... (full context)
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...Shep gets ready, he remembers an occasion, almost a year ago, when he danced with April at the bar Vito’s Log Cabin and the smell of her sweat aroused him. Walking... (full context)
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...to be in their own world. Frank looks around, snobbishly appraising the Wheeler’s living room. April hardly speaks. Finally, the Wheelers announce that they are moving to Europe. The Campbells explode... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 3
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...a panic, she finishes asking them if she can bring him to visit the Wheelers. April says they would love to meet him, and suggests that he come next Sunday. As... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 4
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...bank to collect their paychecks and Jack remembers how he once mocked this scene to April, comparing Knox employees lining up to get paid to a litter of piglets sucking on... (full context)
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...to meet him. Although Frank has never met Pollock before, he has mocked him to April. Anxious in Pollock’s presence, Frank begins to think about how he will make fun of... (full context)
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That night, Frank tells April about the meeting. He says it’s hilarious that, after all these years, he gets noticed... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 5
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...Saturday afternoon, Frank is distracted from trying to study French grammar by the voices of April and Jennifer. Jennifer tells April which things she wants to pack, including her large doll... (full context)
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...Sunday, the day of John Givings’s visit. Jennifer and Michael go to the Campbells’ house. April feels nervous, but Frank says he bets John is like all the other “uncertified insane... (full context)
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...unnatural. He walks around the house, saying it looks like a place where people live. April offers the Givingses sherry, and Helen begins to refuse, but John says that he would... (full context)
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...nice house. Annoyed, Frank says that he agrees with John, which is why he and April are leaving. John says he remembers now: his mother said they were moving to Europe,... (full context)
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Frank, April, and John go outside for a walk. April lets Frank do most of the talking,... (full context)
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Watching John, Frank, and April through the window, Helen observes to Howard that they seem to be having a nice... (full context)
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After the Givingses are gone, April praises Frank for how he handled John, adding that John seemed nice and intelligent; she... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 6
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...to lunch in the restaurant in the lobby of a hotel. Frank plans to tell April that it is the same hotel where he went with his father and Oat Fields.... (full context)
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...meant to mock the job at Knox to his father, but when he finally brought April to meet his parents and told them about the coming baby and his new job,... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
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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... (full context)
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...to wash up for dinner, practicing in his head the speech he will make to April later. He plans to tell her about the offer from Pollock and how much more... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 1
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...of the seasons, help to create a sense of order out of chaos. Frank and April place the date of conception in the first week in May, on an occasion when... (full context)
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The night that Frank finds the rubber syringe, April and Frank decide that there is plenty of time to discuss what to do together.... (full context)
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Frank also begins to try to show April what a strong, responsible, manly man he is. He holds himself very upright so he... (full context)
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After an exhausting Saturday spent with the Campbells, Frank’s attempts to convince April enter a new phase. April says that Frank is a much more moral person than... (full context)
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...to use a method he thought of as a final resort to try to convince April. He says that her motives may not be straightforward, but instead spring from emotions about... (full context)
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...arrives with Helen and Howard. Frank hopes that seeing a “full-fledged mental case” will convince April that she ought to care whether she is crazy. John asks when they are leaving... (full context)
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After the Givings family leaves, April says that John’s childhood must have been bad with parents like the Givings, but says... (full context)
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April asks how they will find a good psychiatrist, but then says it doesn’t really matter.... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 2
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The next day, Frank and April tell Michael and Jennifer that they are not moving to Paris for now. The children... (full context)
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...that they are not moving. Milly and Shep say they are glad that Frank and April are staying, but Shep feels unsettled. Since the Wheelers announced their coming move, Shep had... (full context)
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Frank tells Jack Ordway that April is pregnant and they will not be moving to Paris. Ordway says the plan had... (full context)
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...that six weeks from now the Wheelers would probably be gone. Then she had called April to cancel their upcoming visit and heard the news that the Wheelers would not be... (full context)
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...early August, and Frank wakes up one day with a sense of dread. He and April have not been talking much in the last week. She seems distant and reserved. The... (full context)
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It has been several weeks since Frank’s conversation with Bart Pollock. Frank makes excuses to April for why he hasn’t heard yet what kind of raise he will get. He says... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 3
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In the two-year period when Frank, April, Shep, and Milly were becoming close, but before they had joined the Laurel Players, the... (full context)
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One night, after failing to come up with conversational topics, Frank, April, Shep, and Milly go back to the Log Cabin. April is withdrawn and silent, but... (full context)
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Frank dances with Milly, because he knows if he dances with April, she will say she wants to go home. Milly gets too drunk and needs to... (full context)
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Shep returns to the bar. To his pleasure, April says she doesn’t mind that the car is still there and they must stay longer.... (full context)
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Suddenly, April asks Shep to jitterbug. Shep abandons himself to the dance, enraptured by the way April... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 4
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...salary. Frank had felt confident during the interaction, not thinking about what his father or April would think of his salary negotiation. Pollock gives him a $3,000 raise, which Frank thinks... (full context)
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Now, Frank feels he needs to sort out his personal life. April has taken to sleeping on the couch again, saying she hasn’t been sleeping well. In... (full context)
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Feeling better, Frank decides he will also talk to April that night about why she has been sleeping on the sofa. He plans to say... (full context)
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Frank presses April to talk, and she says she is not sleeping in bed with him because she... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 5
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...aren’t moving to Europe. Frank says their minds were made up for them, gesturing towards April’s visibly pregnant stomach. Helen exclaims her congratulations, but she notes that April doesn’t look happy.... (full context)
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...where they belong. Everyone is uncomfortable except John, who says that he feels bad for April, but also for Frank, since “making babies is the only way he can prove he’s... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 6
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After the Givingses leave, Frank takes a large drink of whiskey. He says to April that he knows what April is thinking: that John was right. April agrees. Frank says... (full context)
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...locks himself in their room and then hears the kitchen door slam. He fears that April is leaving him and follows her out of the house. She tells him to leave... (full context)
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At one point during the night, he thinks he sees April sitting by the bed. He says to her, “oh, my baby, don’t go away,” and... (full context)
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Frank is shocked to see the table set for breakfast for two. April speaks politely to him and asks him to tell her about the conference and the... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 7
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April watches Frank leave, waving and smiling goodbye to him. She goes back in the kitchen... (full context)
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April goes to the wastebasket and takes out crumpled letters she tried to write Frank the... (full context)
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April feels that it was not dishonest or wrong to treat Frank kindly this morning—the thing... (full context)
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April plunges into a memory from her childhood. She is trying to tell the neighborhood children... (full context)
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April watches for her father’s car. As he gets out of the car, she admires his... (full context)
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Back in the present, April has finished burning the letters. She goes back inside, where she can no longer hear... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 8
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...has a feeling of foreboding, but thinks she will only seem silly if she calls April. Then she gets a call from Helen Givings, who tells her she saw an ambulance... (full context)
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At work, Shep is thinking about April and their incredible night together. He had called her afterwards and told her he was... (full context)
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...and it scares Shep. When they arrive, the nurse won’t let Frank in to see April. A doctor speaks to Frank. Shep sits down and thinks that it’s impossible that April... (full context)
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...on to the children that anything has happened. During the ride, Frank tells Shep that April killed herself. He says she wanted to give herself an abortion the month before when... (full context)
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...house, Milly feels she is of no help. Shep tells her that Frank said that April killed herself attempting to abort her pregnancy. Milly tells Shep that they can take turns... (full context)
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...its darkened windows and knows that it really happened. Inside the house, Frank observes that April was very tidy about cleaning up the blood. As he scrubs the remaining blood on... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 9
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In the months following April’s death, Shep listens to Milly describe what happened many times. He feels annoyed at the... (full context)
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...sale of the house. Frank told them then that he had found a note from April that night which kept him from killing himself. Milly says Frank had lost a lot... (full context)
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Smelling the spring air, Shep is reminded of April on the stage during The Petrified Forest. He begins to cry, then stops himself and... (full context)
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Helen Givings had also gone through a period of shock and then recovery after April’s death. She feels that John was to blame for April’s death and decides that he... (full context)