Ordinary People 3 Essay, Research Paper
The novel Ordinary People explores how the heart and mind recover from afflictive losses. The author Judith Guest depicts how a tragedy can change lives drastically and even tear families apart. Conrad Jarrett=s recovery shows how people, slowly but surely, can go on with emotional stress differently, and those differing strategies are portrayed in this novel.
The death of Jordan Jarrett affected the Jarrett family greatly. Calvin, his father, was one who dealt with the situation the best. He had been orphaned at a young age, so he had already dealt with the loss of his mother. AWhen he was eleven, he learned the association of the word loss with death@ (pg. 49). He was more understanding and cooperative with his family that mourned. He knew the things that would comfort them, just as he had once needed comfort in his life.
The death had a different impact on the mother, Beth. She went into what seemed like a state of denial. She hid her feelings from everyone and kept trying to give the impression that nothing happened and nothing was wrong. Cal once noticed this about his about his wife Beth before they had separated, Athere is an addiction here; to secrecy; to a private core within herself that is so much deeper than he ever imagined it to be@ (pg. 253). The death changed the way the once happily married couple acted towards each other, so much that they could no longer stand living with each other. But there was clearly still a strong bond between them.
Conrad=s life took a turn for the worse after the loss of his brother. He was so overwhelmed with the feeling of depression, guilt, and loss that he tried to commit suicide. Luckily he survived and spent the next year trying to recover in a hospital. He thought to himself on Christmas day, Aonly a year and a half, still it is a long time to discover that you are still in shock, still the infant stages of recovery@ (pg. 124). Eventually he went back to school, had a great psychiatrist, and a lot of support from many people. With all that, he started to live a normal life again.
The tragedy that happened to the Jarrett=s in Ordinary People is a good example of how people recover from painful losses. The novel shows the effects on a family and a person=s own reaction to the incident and how they differ from others. It also shows that life should and can go on even when you think it can=t.