Frank Wheeler
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Frank Wheeler

Revolutionary Road

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About Him

Grew Up… a romantic. He became a longshoreman. He hoped to become a cashier but he had bigger dreams and still isn’t entirely sure how to make his lofty self-image a reality. But he knew, ever since living in Paris as a young man, that he’s going to really be something in this life. In his words, “I want to feel things. Really feel them.”

Living… “just like everybody else.” He’s got a nice house on Revolutionary Road in suburban Connecticut, where he lives with his beautiful wife April and their two children. His life is an endless routine of going to work during the day, then coming home and having dinner with the family at night. Even his diversions, such as seeing plays or having another birthday dinner, have become mundane.

Profession… salesman at Knox Machines, a company his father worked at for years. Frank is climbing fast up the socio-economic ladder, but it’s at the expense of really living. He feels trapped by his career. He knows he has to keep it up to support his family, and even when April offers another option – taking a chance and moving to Paris – this is ultimately the only reality he can see anymore.

Interests… uncertain. Even now, he doesn’t really know. When April asks him what he’s interested in, he says, “Honey, if I had the answer to that one, I bet I'd bore us both to death in half an hour.”

Relationship Status… married with children. His marriage is just like any other. They have dinner together, they go out together, they talk about their day—and then they break out into hysterical fights. Welcome to 1950s America.

Challenge… keeping the marriage alive. Frank and April go back and forth while fighting all the time, but they’ve come to a kind of dead end. There are two main paths to take from here. They can either struggle to make it work for years to come, or allow their marriage to degrade into the dark side of the American dream, something that once seemed attainable but becomes more lost with each passing day.

Personality… devoted, responsible. If he was in a comedy act, he’d play the “straight man.” Though he once lived in Paris and swore he’d go back “the first chance I get,” he now fades into suburbia’s endless sea of pinstripe ties and gray suit jackets. He’s getting older, less taken by flights of fancy—but he’s still passionate enough to fight for what he loves. He won’t let April slip away if he has to die fighting.

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