Revolutionary Road Quotes

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Revolutionary Road Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
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Revolutionary Road Quotes (showing 1-30 of 93)
“if you wanted to do something absolutely honest, something true, it always turned out to be a thing that had to be done alone.”
Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
“It's a disease. Nobody thinks or feels or cares any more; nobody gets excited or believes in anything except their own comfortable little God damn mediocrity.”
Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
“No one forgets the truth; they just get better at lying.”
Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
“Being alone has nothing to do with how many people are around.”
Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
“if you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail… it takes back bone to lead the life you want”
Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
“I still had this idea that there was a whole world of marvelous golden people somewhere, as far ahead of me as the seniors at Rye when I was in the sixth grade; people who knew everything instinctively, who made their lives work out the way they wanted without even trying, who never had to make the best of a bad job because it never occured to them to do anything less then perfectly the first time. Sort of heroic super-people, all of them beautiful and witty and calm and kind, and I always imagined that when I did find them I'd suddenly know that I Belonged among them, that I was one of them, that I'd been meant to be one of them all along, and everything in teh meantime had been a mistake; and they'd know it too. I'd be like the ugly duckling among the swans.”
Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
“Now you’ve said it. The hopeless emptiness. Hell, plenty of people are on to the emptiness part; out where I used to work, on the Coast, that’s all we ever talked about. We’d sit around talking about emptiness all night. Nobody ever said ‘hopeless,’ though; that’s where we’d chicken out. Because maybe it does take a certain amount of guts to see the emptiness, but it takes a whole hell of a lot more to see the hopelessness. And I guess when you do see the hopelessness, that’s when there’s nothing to do but take off. If you can”
Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
“Are artists and writers the only people entitled to lives of their own?”
Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
“You're painfully alive in a drugged and dying culture.”
Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
“You want to play house, you got to have a job. You want to play very nice house, very sweet house, then you got to have a job you don't like. Great. This is the way ninety-eight-point-nine per cent of the people work things out, so believe me, buddy, you've got nothing to apologize for.”
Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
“The hell with "love" anyway, and with every other phony, time-wasting, half-assed emotion in the world.”
Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
“Do you know what the definition of insane is? Yes. It’s the inability to relate to another human being. It’s the inability to love.”
Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
“People did change, and a change could be a bloom as well as a withering...”
Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
“He couldn't even tell whether he was angry or contrite, whether it was forgiveness he wanted or the power to forgive.”
Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
“i mean talk about decadence," he declared, "how decadent can a society get? Look at it this way. This country's probably the psychiatric, psychoanalytical capital of the world. Old Freud himself could never've dreamed up a more devoted bunch of disciples than the population of the United States - isn't that right? Our whole damn culture is geared to it; it's the new religion; it's everybody's intellectual and spiritual sugar-tit. And for all that, look what happens when a man really does blow his top. Call the Troopers, get him out of sight quick, hustle him off and lock him up before he wakes the neighbors. Christ's sake, when it comes to any kind of showdown we're still in the Middle Ages. It's as if everybody'd made this tacit agreement to live in a state of total self-deception. The hell with reality! Let's have a whole bunch of cute little winding roads and cute little houses painted white and pink and baby blue; let's all be good consumers and have a lot of Togetherness and bring our children up in a bath of sentimentality -- and if old reality ever does pop out and say Boo we'll all get busy and pretend it never happened.”
Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
“The whole point of crying was to quit before you cornied it up. The whole point of grief itself was to cut it out while it was still honest, while it still meant something. Because the thing was so easily corrupted, let yourself go and you started embellishing your own sobs.”
Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
tags: cry, grief
“Intelligent, thinking people could take things like this in their stride, just as they took the larger absurdities of deadly dull jobs in the city and deadly dull homes in the suburbs. Economic circumstances might force you to live in this environment, but the important thing was to keep from being contaminated. The important thing, always, was to remember who you were.”
Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
“She just happened to feel like it. Wasn’t that after all, the only reason there was? Had she ever had a less selfish, more complicated reason for doing anything in her life?”
Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
“He had won but he didn't feel like a winner.”
Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
“So it hadn’t been wrong or dishonest of her to say no this morning, when he asked if she hated him, any more than it had been wrong or dishonest to serve him the elaborate breakfast and to show the elaborate interest in his work, and to kiss him goodbye. The kiss, for that matter, had been exactly right—a perfectly fair, friendly kiss, a kiss for a boy you’d just met at a party, a boy who’d danced with you and made you laugh and walked you home afterwards, talking about himself all the way.

The only real mistake, the only wrong and dishonest thing, was ever to have seen him as anything more than that. Oh, for a month or two, just for fun, it might be all right to play a game like that with a boy; but all these years! And all because, in a sentimentally lonely time long ago, she had found it easy and agreeable to believe whatever this one particular boy felt like saying, and to repay him for that pleasure by telling easy, agreeable lies of her own, until each was saying what the other most wanted to hear—until he was saying “I love you” and she was saying “Really, I mean it; you’re the most interesting person I’ve ever met.” 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; you found you were saying yes when you meant no, and “We’ve got to be together on this thing” when you meant the very opposite; 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. (p.416-7)”
Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
“I want to retain my own identity. Therefore the thing I’m most anxious to avoid is any kind of work that can be considered ‘interesting’ in its own right. I want something that can’t possibly touch me. I want some big, swollen corporation that’s been bumbling along making money in its sleep for a hundred years, where they have to hire eight guys for every one job because none of them can be expected to care about whatever boring thing it is that they are supposed to be doing. I want to go into that kind of place and say, Look. You can have my body and my nice college-boy smile for so many hours a day, in exchange for so many dollars, and beyond that we’ll leave each other strictly alone.”
Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
“The Revolutionary Hill Estates had not been designed to accommodate a tragedy. Even at night, as if on purpose, the development held no looming shadows and no gaunt silhouettes. It was invincibly cheerful, a toyland of white and pastel houses whose bright, uncurtained windows winked blandly through a dappling of green and yellow leaves … A man running down these streets in desperate grief was indecently out of place.”
Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
“Our ability to measure and apportion time affords an almost endless source of comfort.”
Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
“She was calm and quiet now with knowing what she had always known, what neither her parents nor Aunt Claire nor Frank nor anyone else had ever had to teach her: that if you wanted something to do something absolutely honest, something true, it always turned out to be a thing that had to be done alone.”
Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
“Your cowardly self-delusions about “love” when you know as well as I do that there’s never been anything between us but contempt and distrust and a terrible sickly dependence on each other’s weakness- that’s why. That’s why I couldn’t stop laughing about the Inability to Love, and that’s why I can’t stand to let you touch me, and that’s why I’ll never again believe in anything you think, let alone anything you say”
Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
“Wasn’t it true, then, that everything in his life from that point on had been a succession of things he hadn’t really wanted to do? Taking a hopelessly dull job to prove he could be as responsible as any other family man, moving to an overpriced, genteel apartment to prove his mature belief in the fundamentals of orderliness and good health, having another child to prove that the first one hadn’t been a mistake, buying a house in the country because that was the next logical step and he had to prove himself capable of taking it. Proving, proving; and for no other reason than that he was married to a woman who had somehow managed to put him forever on the defensive, who loved him when he was nice, who lived according to what she happened to feel like doing and who might at any time—this was the hell of it—who might at any time of day or night just happen to feel like leaving him.

It was as ludicrous and as simple as that.”
Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
“In avoiding specific goals he had avoided specific limitations. For the time being the world, life itself, could be his chosen field.”
Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
“How small and neat and comically serious the other men looked, with their grey-flecked crew cuts and their button-down collars and their brisk little hurrying feet! There were endless desperate swarms of them, hurrying through the station and the streets, and an hour from now they would all be still. The waiting mid-town office buildings would swallow them up and contain them, so that to stand in one tower looking out across the canyon to another would be to inspect a great silent insectarium displaying hundreds of tiny pink men in white shirts, forever shifting papers and frowning into telephones, acting out their passionate little dumb show under the supreme indifference of the rolling spring clouds.”
Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
“You still felt that life was passing you by?
Sort of. I still had this idea that there was a whole world of marvelous golden people somewhere, as far ahead of me as the seniors at Rye when I was in sixth grade; people who knew everything instinctively, who made their lives work out the way they wanted without even trying, who never had to make the best of a bad job because it never occurred to them to do anything less than perfectly the first time. Sort of heroic super-people, all of them beautiful and witty and calm and kind, and I always imagined that when I did find them I'd suddenly know that I belonged among them, that I was one of them, that I'd been meant to be one of them all along, and everything in the meantime had been a mistake; and they'd know it too. I'd be like the ugly duckling among the swans.”
Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
“What a subtle, treacherous thing it was to let yourself go that way! Because once you've 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 int he 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.”
Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road

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