Ordinary People Essay Essay, Research Paper
Ordinary People Essay
In the novel, Ordinary People, written by Judith Guest, Calvin Jarrett is better off as an individual. During the novel, Cal makes very drastic changes, in his own time. One of them is in chapter 17, when he and Conrad are cleaning out the garage and he asks him about Dr. Berger. Another time is in chapter 23, when he is sitting in his car having a reflexive period. The last one is in chapter 29, when he is sitting at home thinking about how things have changed.
In chapter 17, Cal makes his first apparent change. He questions Conrad about Dr. Berger, and what they talk about during their sessions. He asks Conrad, What would you think if I were to go and talk with him? At this time in the book, Cal has sort of admitted that there are problems he needs to work out, but he still needed some kind of approval. When Conrad says, See him if you want to, I don t care, It s okay with me. Most parents, would be like okay I will thanks, but Cal questions himself, But do I want to? Why do I want to? What s happening? He still does not subconsciously also out in public want to admit he has problems or that he needs to talk to someone. Even though, he has asked Conrad about going to talk to Berger. At first, Conrad was trying to stop him from seeing Berger, because he though he wanted to talk about him, but when Cal said, no just to talk to him to figure things out. Conrad says you don t need to see him Dad you re fine. That makes Cal believe he really is fine and that he is just being dumb. He has sort of admitted to himself that there are problems, but he hasn t yet admitted to Conrad or Beth that he has problems he needs to work out for himself. At this time he still does not understand what is going on in his head. When he gets to Berger s office, to talk with him he doesn t talk about himself he talks about Conrad, and how he knew that there was something wrong before he tried to commit suicide. How he feels guilty for all that happened and how he is in the middle of all this fighting. He is also saying to Berger how he wants to fall off the fence on either side. Cal also talks about Beth and how she can t forgive Conrad for either surviving the boating accident or for being to much like her, but he doesn t know which one is the reason of why she is so mad at Conrad. I would say that at this point in the book, Cal is able to tell at least somebody what is going on in his head. Which proves he is better off as an individual. He still can not tell his wife, Beth what is wrong, or his son, Conrad, what is going on with him.
In Chapter 23, Cal is driving home by himself thinking about communication. He is talking to himself about how communication is a very important factor in relationships. In his subconscious the communication he was talking about was that his entire family needs to communicate better. When Cal gets home from work Conrad is sleeping on the couch waiting for him to talk with him. Conrad tells Cal about the fight he got into with Kevin Stillman and how he had a bloody nose. Now most parents would be furious with their child for getting into a fight, but not Cal. He told Conrad, It was just a fight. Guys have been getting in fights since school was invented. Think about it. Think about the last fight you were in. As is apparent in this dialogue, Cal has tried a new approach with Conrad a so what approach. Which is a big change from his ohh my god, poor Conrad approach. Cal sort of jokes around with Conrad about the fight and tells him a story about when he was in a fight as if it was no big deal, communication. When Cal and Conrad both go off to bed, Cal sees his wife lying in bed and gets mad at her, for not waking up Conrad and telling him to go to bed. He doesn t understand what is wrong with Beth at this point. Cal is finally showing anger. Maybe not in public but he has finally shown that he does have emotions and how he is feeling at this time.
In Chapter 29, Cal is sitting out on the porch thinking about how things had changed. He starting thinking how perfect everything was and how perfect his wife was even to Conrad in public. He starts realizing how Conrad is opening up more to them. He was also thinking about how everything exists but it all exists for no reason. This is a very big break through for Cal because again it shows he has feelings and he starts to sort of realize that things aren t going to well with Beth. He hasn t noticed that Beth still treats Conrad poorly when not in public, but then all things do take time. Cal often realizes there are problems existing in the family when he is off by himself as an individual. He has not noticed the problems as a parent or a husband.
As evident in this book Cal Jarrett is better off as an individual; when he needs to solve his problems. As we have noticed during the book Cal has many reflexive periods. When he is by himself that is normally when he notices that there are problems in existence in his and his families life.