Sunday, March 7, 2010

Part of an essay I wrote for the novel, Ordinary People, by Judith Guest

In the novel Ordinary People, both Conrad and Beth both illustrate their lack of closeness that they have for one another. By Beth, it is about what she wants and what she needs. Beth wants to go away for Christmas. Cal, however, politely declines because he does not want to leave Conrad, their son, alone. Beth seems to not understand why they cannot go away, since they have gone away for Christmas every year. It is a tradition. She wants to go back to the way things were before Jordan's, (their younger son) death; Cal's not wanting to go, however, demonstrates his need to stay close to Conrad. He does not want Conrad to "slip up" should they leave. Beth, however, does not want to hear this. She does not understand why she should adjust, or even change, her lifestyle because of the choices that Conrad has made. This further accentuates Beth's self-centered ways. This can be compared to Igby Slocum, the main character from the film, Igby Goes Down (directed by Burr Steers, and starring Kieran Culkin, Macaulay Culkin's brother [Home Alone]) and his not wanting to become close to his mother (played by Susan Sarandon) or his brother, Ollie (played by Ryan Philippe). Igby's relationship with the two of them is strained and estranged. The two tower over him, watching him, in order to keep him from leaving their clutches. They do not want him to break free from their world.

Ordinary People, by Judith Guest

Igby Goes Down (DVD) Burr Steers (director)

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