Depression In Judith Guest's Ordinary People

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Ordinary People is a novel telling a story of an American family and their struggles after the family’s oldest son dies. It was written by Judith Guest (born 1936) and was first published in 1976. The main character of the story is the younger son of the family, Conrad, who’s a junior in high school. After his brother’s death Conrad gets deeply depressed and tries to take his own life. The story begins after his suicide attempt, a month after his release from hospital, and follows his story towards recovery from depression. Conrad isn’t very interesting or striking character but I think he’s written to be that way on purpose – he’s not supposed to be either of those qualities. Writing Conrad’s character like this makes him seem more realistic…show more content…
Besides mental health love is an important theme. It isn’t presented as a magical power that heals all mental wounds in a blink as it in some stories seems to do, but as an everyday thing that can be painful too. One of the strengths of the book was the realistic portrayal of depression from the point of view of a depressed person, Conrad. The depression wasn’t romanticized or exaggerated nor was it written in a too clinical way. Conrad’s indifference and somewhat apathetic attitude, and his dark thoughts about his brother’s death are both presented without unnecessary dramatization. Ordinary People doesn’t offer too happy endings and in my opinion this was one of the things that made it feel realistic. Too many stories dealing with difficult issues tend to rush the dealing with the issues just to get a happy ending even if it’s this way completely unrealistic. This is where Ordinary People did well; in real life problems don’t solve themselves quickly and easily and all endings aren’t happy in every aspect. Life is not always sunshine and rainbows. I think that as whole Ordinary People is a great book that deals with important issues that often are not talked about enough in a realistic and honest manner. In the end the message of the book is simple but extremely powerful in its own way – terrible things happen but life is still worth
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