Ordinary People


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     “Why does the world go on when things like this happen?”, is a quote by Gerda Weissman Klein. This means that unfortunately, incidents that don’t always have a positive impact on our lives, can not hold us back from moving on, or the world form continuing its business. Ordinary People by Judith Guest is a fine example of when the world goes on when you experience a grief so great that you felt almost as if the world betrayed you continuing to allow the sun to rise every and the birds to sing in spite of your pain. Ordinary People deals with the hardships of one “ordinary” family’s day to day life.
     
     Buck Jarret brother of Conrad and son of Calvin and Beth was sailing in bad conditions with his brother when their sailboat capsized. Conrad was most effected by this tragedy. Judith Guest uses characterization to reveal this pain that Conrad holds deep down inside. Conrad is so effected by this accident that he eventually attempts to commit suicide, however he is unsuccessful due to the fact that Calvin walked in on him. Conrad could not deal with the hardship of not having the brother he once had and loved. Conrad believed that the choice was his to decide whether or not he wanted to watch the sun rise or listen to the birds sing every morning . Calvin stated that there was one thing he did wrong and that was that “he stayed with the boat”.
     Beth Jarret can be used as more of an indirect relation to this quote. Beth awoke one night to find Calvin missing from her bedside, when she went downstairs looking for him she found him sitting at the dining table crying. Calvin was upset at the fact that Beth fails to show affection for her son Conrad. Calvin stated “Its almost like you buried all of your love with Buck”. Calvin continued to explain how he has been thinking and he is not sure if he is in love with Beth anymore due to her actions. Guest uses very dramatic dialogue to develop the level of seriousness in this crucial conversation Calvin feels great pain over this situation but yet the sun rises the next morning only to bring an understanding between Conrad and Calvin.

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     All in all the novel Ordinary People by Judith Guest is a novel of pure pains, hardships, and ultimate healing it is what the novel is about. “Why does the world go on when things like this happen ?” is a very fitting quote for this book because every negative incident in this novel was followed by a change by the Jarret family and they were able to adapt to what the world threw at them.
     


     




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