Revolutionary Road

Earl Wheeler Character Analysis

A hardworking man who is good with his hands, Earl Wheeler doesn’t understand or approve of his son Frank. He manages to keep a job as a regional manager for Knox Business Machines through many rounds of layoffs during The Depression, but his hopes for further career advancement are dashed. When Frank gets a job in Knox’s New York City office, Earl is proud.

Earl Wheeler Quotes in Revolutionary Road

The Revolutionary Road quotes below are all either spoken by Earl Wheeler or refer to Earl 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 5 Quotes

By the end of the first year the joke had worn thin, and the inability of others to see the humor of it had become depressing. "Oh, you mean your father worked there," they would say when he tried to explain it, and their eyes, as often as not, would then begin to film over with the look that people reserve for earnest, obedient, unadventurous young men. Before long (and particularly after the second year, with both his parents dead) he had stopped trying to explain that part of it, and begun to dwell instead on other comic aspects of the job: the absurd discrepancy between 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 off your mind every morning at nine and leave it off all day, and nobody knows the difference."

Related Characters: Frank Wheeler , Earl Wheeler
Page Number: 81
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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Earl Wheeler Character Timeline in Revolutionary Road

The timeline below shows where the character Earl Wheeler appears in Revolutionary Road. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 3
Marriage and Selfhood Theme Icon
Manhood and Womanhood Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
...at the hand he injured punching the car roof, which reminds him of his father Earl’s hands, and then of the fact that his dream the night before had been about... (full context)
Manhood and Womanhood Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Class, Taste, and Status Theme Icon
...the strength of his father’s hands and the sense that he could master any tool. Earl Wheeler had disapproved of Frank’s clumsiness, and later their relationship had soured. Frank had looked... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 5
Manhood and Womanhood Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Class, Taste, and Status Theme Icon
...was first brought to see the Knox Building in New York City by his father Earl in 1935 when he was ten. A man at the Home Office named Oat Fields... (full context)
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Class, Taste, and Status Theme Icon
...their trip that the promotion was not happening. This disappointment had been the beginning of Earl’s decline. He had been demoted to a regular salesman and his health weakened, his wife... (full context)
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Class, Taste, and Status Theme Icon
Earl would not have understood how it happened that Frank came to work at Knox Business... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 6
Marriage and Selfhood Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Class, Taste, and Status Theme Icon
...then explains that his father worked as a salesman for Knox. Pollock says he remembers Earl Wheeler, but thinks that man must have been too old to be Frank’s father. Later,... (full context)
Manhood and Womanhood Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Class, Taste, and Status Theme Icon
...had mentioned his father’s name, and said the people at Knox had spoken highly of Earl. (full context)
Marriage and Selfhood Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Class, Taste, and Status Theme Icon
...for him, and that to continue working at Knox would be a fine tribute to Earl. Frank feels he could never tell April that this sentimental speech of Pollock’s almost made... (full context)