Summary… Ordinary People by Judith Guest is the story of a dysfunctional family who relate to one another through a series of extensive defense mechanisms, i.
But the specific location is superfluous. It could be any suburban town, perhaps any family in modern America. Guest attempts to portray the turmoil and guilt an average suburban family experiences following the drowning death of their oldest son, Jordan Buck Jarrett, and the near suicide of their other son, Conrad.
As Conrad understands and deals with his feelings and accepts his limitations, his parents, unable any longer to understand or to communicate with each other, separate. In addition, as Conrad returns to Lake Forest and reenters the world he left—school, choir, swimming—he confronts the typical reaction of people who look at him askance, questioning his stability, looking at the scars left on his wrists.
Judith Guest, a forty-one-year-old suburban Minneapolis housewife-turned-novelist, submitted her unsolicited manuscript for Ordinary People to Viking Press, and after waiting more than a year was notified that it had been accepted for publication.
For the first time in twenty-seven years Viking accepted an over-the-transom manuscript that lacked even a query letter. Once accepted, the book, which took three years to write, quickly made the bestseller list, was placed on several book-of-the-month club lists, and was sold to Robert Redford for a movie.
Guest, a former Michiganite, received a degree in education from the University of Michigan, taught elementary school for three years, and worked briefly as a reporter for a newspaper.
Her brief sojourn with the newspaper was her only writing experience; she had no formal training while attending the University. Each of the ordinary people in the novel is plagued by guilt.
Conrad, who goes to Dr. He believes that his guilt contaminates everyone with whom he comes in contact. Events pile up, seemingly providing Conrad with support for his theory concerning himself.
Not only does Buck, the stronger, older, idolized brother drown while Conrad, the weaker one, endures the ocean storm, clinging to the overturned dismasted sailboat and surviving, but also while in the mental hospital months later a fellow patient commits suicide by burning himself to death.
Again Conrad believes that evil surrounds him and contaminates others when, after his release, a girl whom he met while in the hospital asphyxiates herself several months after her release. Conrad becomes convinced, as these events pile up, that he infects everyone he comes in contact with.
Conrad, during a large part of the novel, has no self-love. Buck was the idol whom he tried through their limited lifetime together to imitate even to the The entire section is 1, words. Unlock This Study Guide Now Start your hour free trial to unlock this page Ordinary People study guide and get instant access to the following:Judith Guest is an American novelist and screenwriter, best known for her debut novel, Ordinary People.
She is also the author of three other novels, Second Heaven, Errands, and The Tarnished Eye.
She co-wrote the mystery Killing Time in St. Cloud with Rebecca Hill, and authored the screenplay to the film Rachel River. Judith Guest is an American novelist and screenwriter, best known for her debut novel, Ordinary People. She is also the author of three other novels, Second Heaven, Errands, and The Tarnished Eye.
She co-wrote the mystery Killing Time in St. Cloud with Rebecca Hill, and authored the screenplay to the film Rachel River.
A summary of Analysis in Judith Guest's Ordinary People. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of Ordinary People and what it means.
Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans. Guest originally planned to write Ordinary People as a short story, but her deep attachment to these characters urged her to expand upon the story even further. Finishing this novel was no simple task as she quit her teaching job in order to fully concentrate on completing the book.
One symptom of depression is no longer enjoying activities you used to enjoy. It's difficult to say if this is why Conrad quits swimming. But he needs to continue to swim, metaphorically, in order to keep his head about the figurative water and not drown in depression.
Ordinary People is Judith Guest's first novel. Published in , it tells the story of a year in the life of the Jarretts, an affluent suburban family trying to cope with the aftermath of two traumatic barnweddingvt.comher: Viking Press.