Revolutionary Road


Richard Yates

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Stone Path Symbol Icon

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

The Revolutionary Road quotes below all refer to the symbol of Stone Path. 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 3 Quotes

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:
Quotes explanation long mobile
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Stone Path Symbol Timeline in Revolutionary Road

The timeline below shows where the symbol Stone Path appears in Revolutionary Road. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 3
Conformity, Mental Illness, and Psychology Theme Icon
Class, Taste, and Status Theme Icon
...seems to want to ask Frank something, but then reconsiders. She compliments him on the stone path he is installing in their lawn and departs in her station wagon. (full context)
Marriage and Selfhood Theme Icon
Manhood and Womanhood Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Class, Taste, and Status Theme Icon
After lunch, Frank begins to work on the stone path . It is hard, tedious work, moving stones from the forest behind the house and... (full context)
Manhood and Womanhood Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Now, still digging a hole for the stone path , Frank thinks that having the baby he didn’t want was the beginning of it... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 9
Marriage and Selfhood Theme Icon
Conformity, Mental Illness, and Psychology Theme Icon
Class, Taste, and Status Theme Icon
...and they let the house depreciate. Frank ruined the lawn by trying to build a stone path . Helen had also found a box of sedum plantings, which she collected for them,... (full context)