“WHAT DO THE SIMPLE FOLK DO?” —REVOLUTIONARY ROAD. Many believe that REVOLUTIONARY ROAD, rather than THE READER, should have earned Kate Winslet the Oscar nomination (REVOLUTIONARY ROAD did win her the Golden Globe). One can see the appeal for Hollywood celebrities of making a movie out of REVOLUTIONARY ROAD, the novel by Richard Yates. REVOLUTIONARY ROAD, like MADAME BOVARY, portrays a gulf between those who are privileged and those who aren’t. This essay by Christopher Hitchens about REVOLUTIONARY ROAD tells how the novel portrays the humiliations of those who don’t have the talent or the courage to achieve fame. The husband and wife in the book aspire to rise above suburbia. They suffer. Hitchens says: “I don’t remember ever feeling so sorry for a set of fictional characters…. [Yates conveys]…the feeling of disappointment and anticlimax, heavily infused with the sort of embarrassment that amounts to humiliation. ….Yates [has]… unceasing opportunities to create scenes of excruciating misery.”

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