The character of Milly Campbell in Revolutionary Road from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes

Revolutionary Road

Milly Campbell Character Analysis

Unlike April, Milly is happy with her life as a wife to Shep and mother to four sons. Milly is agreeable, loyal, pragmatic and conventional. Raised in poverty, she proves able to change her tastes to suit Shep’s ideas of what is highbrow. She and Shep are good friends of Frank and April, but Milly feels status anxiety around the Wheelers, especially when they start to become withdrawn in the friendship.

Milly Campbell Quotes in Revolutionary Road

The Revolutionary Road quotes below are all either spoken by Milly Campbell or refer to Milly Campbell. 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 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
Explanation and Analysis:
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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
Explanation and Analysis:
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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
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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Milly Campbell Character Timeline in Revolutionary Road

The timeline below shows where the character Milly Campbell appears in Revolutionary Road. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 1
Conformity, Mental Illness, and Psychology Theme Icon
Class, Taste, and Status Theme Icon
...had only allowed to be a part of the production because he and his wife Milly were enthusiastic participants. During the curtain call, April looks tense and unhappy. As the uncomfortable... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 2
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Conformity, Mental Illness, and Psychology Theme Icon
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Backstage the Laurel Players are trying to laugh off their failure. Milly Campbell calls to Frank that she and Shep will see him and April later for... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 4
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...Campbells, because April will have to pretend they aren’t fighting in front of Shep and Milly. (full context)
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That evening, Shep and Milly arrive, and the four friends arrange themselves with their drinks in the living room in... (full context)
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To fill the silence Milly talks about gardening, and Frank asks if she knows what “seecham” (sedum) is, saying Helen... (full context)
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...Without quite looking at Frank, she asks him if he agrees, and reluctantly he does. Milly begins to talk to April about what it would feel like to have an insane... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 1
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...then on. But after settling this with Helen, April remembered prior plans with the Campbells. Milly sounded so hurt when April tried to cancel that April agreed they would visit the... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 2
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...been celebrated for his toughness. After the war, he had studied mechanical engineering and married Milly, pursuing a middle-class life away from the soft, spoiled world of moneyed New Yorkers. (full context)
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Conformity, Mental Illness, and Psychology Theme Icon
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Shep and Milly were living in Arizona when he suddenly began to feel alienated from those around him.... (full context)
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Shep has also come to appreciate Milly, and feels grateful that he went through his “tough guy” phase because it brought him... (full context)
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...seeing them interrupted his thoughts about April Wheeler. Experimentally, he whispers, “I love you, April.” Milly surprises him at that moment by calling out that the Wheelers have arrived. (full context)
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...if deciding whether to include the Campbells in their secret. Shep conceals his distress, while Milly tells the Wheelers that they will miss them. Later, Shep tells Milly that the Wheelers’... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 2
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A few nights later, the Wheelers tell the Campbells that they are not moving. Milly and Shep say they are glad that Frank and April are staying, but Shep feels... (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 two couples had... (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 Frank thinks of... (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... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 6
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...He retreats to the house to watch her. Eventually, she comes back inside and calls Milly, asking her if she can keep the kids overnight. Then April lies down on the... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 7
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...table. She begins to cry, but steadies herself as she washes the dishes. She calls Milly and asks her to keep the kids, saying she still doesn’t feel well. April tells... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 8
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At two o’clock that afternoon, Milly is resting, thinking that six kids are too many for one person to handle, when... (full context)
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...the phone and hopes, against all logic, that it will be April. Instead it is Milly, with the news that April has been taken away in an ambulance. Shep feels suddenly... (full context)
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...around with Frank in his car and buys him a pint of whiskey. He calls Milly and tells her what happened, then tells her to calm down and not to let... (full context)
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Milly thinks she did a good job keeping calm in front of the children, but when... (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 way Milly seems to get... (full context)
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Milly tells the Braces that they didn’t know where Frank was until the next afternoon at... (full context)
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Milly tells the Braces that she and Shep had not seen Frank again until he came... (full context)
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...stage during The Petrified Forest. He begins to cry, then stops himself and goes inside. Milly turns to him and says that this terrible experience had brought her and Shep closer... (full context)