Ordinary Control Freaks in Judith Guest's Ordinary People Essay

Ordinary Control Freaks in Judith Guest's Ordinary People Essay

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Ordinary Control Freaks in Ordinary People

 

The Most interesting form of Literature is American Literature. Usually dealing with a struggle that must be overcome, American literature deals with real-life situations which one can empathize with. One of the most interesting novels written by an American author is Ordinary People, by Judith Guest. Ordinary People tells the story of an ordinary family struggling to cope with the loss of a family member following a boating accident. Brilliantly written, the novel consists of two narrators- Conrad, the Jarrett family's only son left after the boating accident, and Calvin, Conrad's father. By using two narrators, both Calvin and Conrad's thoughts are revealed. In the novel, Calvin struggles to cope with the loss of his son Buck in the boating accident, and, afterward, Conrad's attempt to commit suicide. Calvin's personality conflicts with his wife's and his peers'. He desires control and order, but, to his dislike, doesn't always have it.

 

Calvin's history was eventful, growing up in a foster home without a father and a mother he scarcely saw, which plays a critical role in his need for control. Growing up in a foster home, Calvin's childhood provided little opportunity to control his life. As a grownup, Calvin desires the control he never had. A good example of Calvin's desire for control is evident in the scene, during breakfast, when Calvin is talking to Conrad about Dr. Berger, a psychiatrist recommended by Conrad's former psychiatrist, Dr. Crawford. Also identifying Calvin's desire for control is Calvin's ambition to be a good father. His desire to be a good father stems from his childhood, where he never had a father. His career was no...


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.... Calvin's mindset at work has rubbed off on him in his personal life. Many examples can support this claim. A good example of Calvin's work mindset effecting his personal life can be found by his thoughts about Conrad's orthodontist trips in the quote "Strive, strive. Correct all defects" (9). In short, Calvin's desire for control is a trait which is easily identifiable in his personality.

 

Evidence supporting the claim that Calvin desires control and order, but, to his dislike, doesn't always have it is numerous in the novel Ordinary People. Calvin's struggle to overcome his obstacles, including his foster home childhood, the death of his son Buck, and Conrad's suicide attempt, along with the challenges faced by Conrad and Beth allow for very complex and dynamic characters in this excellent example of American literature at its finest.

 

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