Extraorinary Conflicts Extraordinary Conflicts Ordinary People Ordinary People by Judith Guest is a very emotional book that deals with many thoughts and actions about life and suicide. A lot of people would have different opinions or perspectives about this story. My thesis question for this book is: Does the author Judith Guest try to prove that even the perfect family can fall apart? In this novel, regular or ordinary people have to learn to cope with many extraordinary crises. In Ordinary People, Conrad Jarrett is a seventeen year old boy attending a public high school in the suburbs of Illinois. He and his family go through many stressful struggles after Conrads brother Jordan dies in a boating accident. Jordans death influences Conrad so much that he even cuts up his wrists and tries to commit suicide but he does not die.
Conrad struggles with a lot of things including school, quitting the swimming team, and his friends. Conrads mother Beth, is a perfectionist and is always concerned about the way people view her and her family. She wishes for everyone to see them as normal. Conrads Dad Cal feels he is somewhat responsible for Conrads suicide attempt. He also believes that Conrad and Beth are drifting away from each other and he doesnt know who to follow.
The story ends when Beth leaves home to go away for a while because she cant get along with her family. In this book, the title does give a clue about a possible theme. The term ordinary people is mentioned several times in this book. There can be many different themes for this book although my theme did not come from the title. My theme is: even a perfect family can fall apart and sometimes fall into a mental stress, due to a life changing event.
I think this because everything is perfect before Jordan dies. Everything and everyone seems to fall apart after his accident. For example, Conrad attempts to commit suicide as a result of Jordans death and some more various other reasons. One time in the book, Conrad says I wanted to commit suicide because I needed more sleep and less stress. The main conflict in this book for the Jarrett family is learning to cope with extraordinary crises. The whole Jarrett family tries to cope with Jordans death but they dont succeed very well.
This conflict affects Conrad the most since he attempted to kill himself. Other small conflicts seem to build around this major conflict. For example, after Conrad tried to kill himself, his mother thought that he was trying to hurt her for some reason. She never feels the need to forgive him for what he has done to himself. This brings much tension between Conrad and his mother Beth. This small problem also affects Cals and Beths relationship with each other because they fight often and do not get along very well. There are a few unusual objects in this story that I think changes the mood of some characters.
One unusual object is a small business card in Dr. Bergers office. The card reads, I love you. Is this ok? signed Jesus C. This is unusual because it is almost like Jesus Christ is talking to Conrad personally. Conrad and his family does not ever turn to Jesus Christ for help in these hard times.
Another unusual object is Conrads new car. Conrad thinks that his parents are only giving it to him just to be saying, here now be happy and leave us alone. Although Conrads parents do not actually feel this way about it, Conrad does. The dialogue in this story is very realistic. The dialogue seems to be focusing on the Jarrett family and how realistic and dramatic things can be. The characters words say a lot about the character.
Conrads words for example, are honest and dramatic. I think Conrad is the heroic one because he overcomes many tough obstacles in life. I also believe that he is the protagonist in this story and his struggle with the obstacles is the antagonist. One main internal conflict is one between Conrad and himself. He struggles with many changes in life and he wants to please everyone. His worst struggle and biggest fear was suicide and the thought of it. He continually struggles with the thoughts of suicidal attempts and the fears that go with them.
Conrad also has a conflict in his head because he asks himself weird questions and doesnt even know why. He also has terrible nightmares that are internal. He often has a terrible nightmare about his near death experience in the hospital and what people thought about him. There are many small and large motivates in this story. I think that Conrad is motivated the most by his brothers death, therefore he tries to end his own life.
Another motivate that is important to him is his girlfriend Jeannine. She is always there for him and allows him to feel needed. Jeanine is the only one that asks Conrad about what he felt when he tried to commit suicide. When bad things cross Conrads mind, he easily thinks of Jeanine and therefore is motivated to do the right thing for himself. There are also many external conflicts in Ordinary People.
One external conflict is between Conrad and Beth. Conrad and his mother do not communicate very well because they are both too stubborn and too unwilling to forgive each other. Beth will not forgive Conrad simply because he was very wrong to try to attempt suicide. Conrad will not forgive her because he thinks she absolutely hates him. Also, Beth and Cal experience and external conflict. They have seemed to grow apart and they often question their love for each other. One reason they fight is because Cal lets Conrad run over him a lot and he talks back to Cal a lot. Beth does not agree with him at all so she gets irritated easily.
They also fight when deciding on whether to go on a vacation. Conrad also experiences conflicts with his friends. He believes that most of his friends are pricks and they could care less about him. He does not realize how important friends are. This happens after he gets in a fight with a boy after quitting the swimming team.
His friends do not understand why his actions and reactions to them have changed so much. All of these conflicts lead up to the turning point of the book when Conrad discovers that he must forgive himself and his mother. During his therapy with Dr. Berger, Conrad says, I think I just figured something out. Whats that? says Berger. Then Conrad says, Who is it who cant forgive who.
As you can see in this book, Judith Guest does prove that even the perfect family can fall apart. Everything started to crumble for Conrad, Cal, and Beth when Jordan died in his accident. It was hard for me to understand the beginning of the book because the chapters go back and forth, depending on who was narrating them. The end of the book was easier for me because everything started falling into place and I was able to see all sides of the story. I honestly enjoyed Ordinary People, and I would recommend it to others. This family may seem very odd at times but after all, they are just ordinary people.
I think the narrator best states the end of the book when they are talking about Conrad saying: No need for anymore words. The sun is on his back . He could fall asleep here, maybe he will, waiting for whatever comes next. Book Reports.