Emotional Crisis In Joseph Conrad's Ordinary People

903 Words4 Pages
Conrad, the leading character in the drama Ordinary People, suffers from emotional crisis caused by the death of his older brother in a boat accident. Conrad believes that he is somehow responsible for this accident, and lives under the burden of guilt and depression. As a result, Conard often sees himself as unstable, outcast, and lost. As he recognizes it during one of his conversations with his doctor, he notices that other people see him as “a dangerous character”, and so he wants become more incontrol. Given his emotional disorders which were extreme enough for him to attempt suicide, his self-concept of ‘unstable’ is understandable. However, his isolation because of his self concept of an outcast, often makes him unable to communicate…show more content…
His mother’s pseudo-listening and insulated listening often creates a negative climate between them. Conrad comes to the realization that his mother dislikes him because of the minimal attention she gives him, thus his doctor’s explanation, “don’t expect her to love you more than she can.” She has completely insulated herself from topics that cause her to contemplate the past, and when the topic discomforts her, she becomes a defensive listener and takes offense from minor remarks. Similarly, his friends who struggle with stage hogging make Conrad feel unwelcomed and slowly kill their friendship. However, poor listening also sometimes creates a positive climate. For example, Conrad takes his father’s selective listening as a sign of caring, although he doesn’t come to appreciate it until the end of the story. His father pays extra attention to Conrad’s emotional and social wellness and whenever such topics come up, he becomes extremely excited. Similarly, his swimming coach’s defensive listening makes it easy for him to quit the swimming team and pursue a path he believes will help him. This is demonstrated in the last conversation he has with the coach where the coach is offended because Conrad has decided to quit. Although the climate might not be entirely positive, the lack of understanding made the decision easy for
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