Big dreams don't fit on small desks. Frank and April Wheeler (top) know they're just biding time in their middling, middle-class lives; Frank will leave that job of his and the family will move to Paris, where the cultured, not the moneyed, have the status.
John and Mary Sims (bottom) would be satisfied with the money. John is a mouse in the rat race, and he's got more plates to fill than his own. John's also a dreamer, just like Frank Wheeler; he longs to be somewhere else, but spends little energy trying to get there. With so much potential and so little success, both men are vulnerable to temptation, which at least brings a quick payoff. And what of April and Mary? What is the price of loyalty to such men?
Neither Revolutionary Road nor The Crowd give easy answers; but their lesson is a simple one. It's not enough to be better--you've got to do better, too.