Ordinary People

Topics: Ordinary People, Logic, Suicide Pages: 2 (638 words) Published: December 18, 2007
The definition of a sense of identity is the condition of being oneself and not another. In Ordinary People, Judith Guest refers to Conrad Jarrett as "A newborn fawn without his mother (46)." Ever since Conrad lost his brother, Buck, in a tragic boating accident, he feels guilty and that he is to blame. He loses his sense of identity, but with the help of Jeannine, Dr. Berger, and Calvin, he is able to reevaluate himself and become an "ordinary person" once again.

Con's definition of himself changes when he is with Jeannine, which is one reason why he has such deep feelings for her; he is no longer the one in need of support, the one to be babied or helped out of his depression. Jeannine, at this moment, needs him to be her support, and he takes this new role gladly, because of how strong it makes him feel. He feels as if he is her rock/her shoulder to cry on, and thus feels as he is an important part of her life. Conrad's interest in Jeannine is a sign that he is returning to a state of normalcy. Jeannine knows how Conrad feels, because they have both been depressed and tried to hurt themselves. Conrad describes what it felt like to Jeannine: "It was like falling into a hole and it keeps getting bigger and bigger, you can't get out. And then all of a sudden it's inside you, it is you, and you're trapped, and it's all over (250)." When Conrad was in this place he's describing, his identity was connected only with pain. Conrad not being in this hell-forsaken place anymore shows that he is recovering.

To the disapproval of Beth, Conrad decides to see a psychiatrist, Dr. Berger. Conrad trusts this man completely; he can talk about anything to him and even cry in his presence. Berger helps Conrad by helping him adjust and adapt to his new life out of the hospital. He helps him learn how to handle and deal with everyday events, but also coaches him through him through issues he has with his family. " 'The body doesn't lie,' Berger says. 'You remember that. So all...
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