Frank is building a stone path in the yard, but for very different reasons than Helen undertakes her home improvement projects (see the sedum plant). For Frank, the hard labor of digging up stones from the woods and transferring them to holes he digs in the lawn is a way to assert his skill and ability as a man. He feels that he is proving himself to be a tough man, as his father never thought he was. At the same time, he reenacts his own father’s disappointment towards him by lashing out unfairly at Michael, spanking him when Frank mistakes the root of a tree for his son’s foot and thinks the boy is getting in his way. In the end, Frank fails to complete the stone path, thereby proving that he has never become competent in this kind of “manly” work.
Stone Path Quotes in Revolutionary Road
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.