Pain And Suffering In Ordinary People By Judith Guest

1001 Words 5 Pages
Pain is defined as the physical discomfort or suffering caused by illness or injury. In Ordinary People by Judith Guest the story of a grieving family is portrayed. The story begins when Conrad gets out of the mental hospital, beginning to recover from his suicide attempt. However, as the story progresses the reader learns of much more hidden pain in the families past. A boating accident caused Jordan, Conrad’s older brother, to die, leaving the family in disrepair. After the death of his brother and a suicide attempt of his own, Conrad is finally on the way to recovery. Beth struggles with confronting the pain and grief felt after the loss of her old life.Cal becomes focused on trying to fix the past, giving him no escape from his pain. …show more content…
However, she also loses her other son Conrad when he becomes distant and isolated. Beth ignores her grief because she believes she is, “protecting (herself) from further grief, from any more facts of history that do not change; that cannot be changed”(Guest 34).This shows that Beth does care, but is so afraid to let herself feel the pain. Beth faces the reality that there is nothing she can do to fix the past and ease her pain, but she is not ready to overcome her grief and move on with the future yet. In Ordinary People, “people survive, endure, and mature-despite the death of the elder son, the attempted suicide of Conrad, the atrophy of Calvin and Beth’s marriage. Its theme conveys the positive implication that we can survive problems, even though we may not be able to solve them”(Neuhaus). This shows that through tragedy comes strength, which is an important lesson for Beth to learn. Beth must learn to confront her pain, however Cal must learn to stop obsessing over …show more content…
Berger tells Conrad, “ ‘Crazy world. Or maybe its just the crazy view we have of it, looking through a crack in the door, never being able to see the whole room, the whole picture’ ”(Guest 226). Berger tells Conrad this with the hopes of relieving some of his stress, by comforting him by telling him that even if he can not control or know the future, everything will turn out alright. In the novel, “the family is broken up, but everyone is on their way to emotional health, because they have understood their weaknesses”(“Ordinary People” 275). This quote is important because it shows that the Jarret’s know that what they need to do to recover from their past. It also shows that they are doing what is best for themselves and aren 't afraid to make the necessary changes. Berger’s experience helping people confront their pain gives him wisdom about how to help the Jarret

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