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The Social and Historical Context of Judith Guest‘s Ordinary People Essay

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Part 1) Context:

Describe the social and historical context of the story (see chapter 1 of "Learning in Adulthood"). If you are working with a historical movie you will want to address both the social and historical context of the story and the social and historical context of the time in which the film was made. For example, if you are working with a movie made in the 1980s about the Civil War you will need to talk about the social and cultural influences of the time of the Civil War and any influences that you see from the 1980s.

Ordinary People was Judith Guest‘s first novel published in 1976 and Robert Redford directed the movie version of it in1980.the novel takes place during the late 1970s and focuses on Calvin Jarrett’s family.
Calvin and his son have two sons their oldest Buck is extremely popular at school and their youngest Conrad who looks upon his brother. The family seems financially privileged but becomes dysfunctional when buck dies in a boating accident. Buck and Conrad were boating when Buck died and Conrad cannot stop blaming himself. He is so emotionally distraught that he attempts to kill himself. After being in the hospital for a month he is physically cured but he is still emotionally distraught and cannot stop blaming himself.
The late 1970 saw an increase in psychotherapy for adults, teenagers and adolescents. The controversial idea of psychoanalysis was preiminent during the 1970sordinary people helped psychoanalysis become more accepted. Two other issues that were closely related were suicide and depression. According to the CDC from 1970 and 1980 there were almost close to 50000 youths who committed suicide in the age group of 15 to 24 years. Young adults 20 to 24 had twice the number and rate of su...


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...ression and guilt self-blaming, suicidal attempt, including the effects of his mother’s emotional unavailability, his resentment that his mother loved his father and brother more.

Conrad asked his therapist “So what should I do now?” The therapists responded with information and advice “Recognize her limitations” etc. These were educational comments about the mother’s probable narcissistic character disorder which were intended so Conrad might begin to understand his own conflicts about her love Conrad’s focus was initially external when he then questioned ” you mean why she can’t love me”. The therapist responded to an internal psychological explanation aided by educational comments about the mother’s personality limitations.

Refrences
Merriam, S.B., Caffarella, R.S. &Baumgartner (2007) Learning in Adulthood: A comprehensive guide, san Francisco, CA:Jossey-Bass



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