Essay on Ordinary People By Judith Guest

1356 Words May 3rd, 2016 6 Pages
Ordinary People, by Judith Guest, is a well written novel, well suited for high school students to read in the public school classroom because of its strong focus on mental illness, including depression, and the aftermath of death, in the lives of both teens and adults. Written in 1976, the text was banned in many public settings due to language, casual, but non-explicit, sex scenes, and the destigmatized discussion of mental illness.
The main themes of Ordinary People include ways in which people cope with loss and the successive healing process, and the role and importance of communication to maintain healthy and dynamic relationships.
“Good manners have nothing to do with communication (Ordinary People),” if people only say what they believe people want to hear and censor their thoughts and emotions, it limits their ability to have an open and honest exchange. Additionally, obscenity is occasionally necessary to fully express oneself in the moment, and Guest’s use of profanity, while shocking some readers, makes her characters more real, makes her story come alive, just as the casual mentions of masturbation, and Conrad’s, the teenage protagonist, premarital sex scene makes the characters more realistic, as they deal with all types of situations that crop up in teenagers’ lives, because “teen-agers do hear, and use, foul language. Teen-agers do get horny and do have sex. And some teen-agers do consider--even attempt--suicide (Readers’ Review).” Similarly, readers
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