Themes of Ordinary People by Judith Guest


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There are many themes that occur and can be interpreted differently throughout the novel. The three main themes that stand out most are healing, communication, and relationships.
Ordinary People starts off already in a broken world. Buck has died, and Conrad has already attempted suicide, therefore, healing is a main focus throughout the book. Beth and Calvin’s marriage is also very rocky and they together are trying to see if things will work out by healing and saving their relationship. Judith Guest shows the journey through Conrad’s life and his progress to becoming completely healed. Beth and Calvin’s relationship is also monitored and in the end just goes downhill by Beth leaving.
Lack of communication and poor communication is a big problem in the novel. Beth thinks she and Conrad have poor communication. This is clear when Beth gets mad at Conrad be cause wasn’t the first to know that he quit swim team. Calvin and Beth have communication issues too. They always have different views on things. Beth wanted to go on vacation and Calvin thought it was best to stay home until Conrad is settled again. Calvin wants to talk about everyone’s problems when Beth feels it’s best to move on, and forget about the past and only think about the future. Their lack of communication to agree on things turns their marriage from good to bad and Beth ends up leaving Calvin and Conrad.
Relationships are a major issue in the book. Beth and Calvin’s, and Calvin and Conrad’s are the two main relationships that have problems. First off, Beth and Calvin have a very poor relationship from lack of communication. They both have different views and the just really never click anymore. Calvin tries to go to Dr. Berger for advice and in the end their marriage crumbles and Beth leaves the family. Calvin and Conrad don’t have a very strong relation ship in the beginning because Calvin wants to sit around waiting for Conrad to heal and feels he‘s never good enough for Conrad, and Conrad just wants to go back to his regular life he had before and he also never really appreciated his dad.

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It grows a lot stronger between them after Beth leaves them. They both finally appreciate each other and merge together with great understanding of one another.
The themes of healing, communication, and relationships are depicted very well in Ordinary People. Judith Guest does a very good job at showing the reader what she meant. The themes become very clear after the book is read and understood.






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