Ordinary People Characters

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A Look Into the Characters of Ordinary People
Ordinary People is a movie depicting a family’s struggle with tragic events. The movie takes place in Lake Forest, Illinois, which is a well-to-do community filled with upper-class families. Every home in the community is pristine, right down to the lush landscaping, and lawns that appear to have every blade of grass cut at precisely the same height. This transcends to the Jarrett family, who give the outward appearance of perfection, who meanwhile are living a life of turmoil due to a series of devastating events. In the movie Ordinary People, we will see several themes such as the ability to heal after a tragic event, communication, and meaningful relationships. The Jarrett family consists of mother and father Beth and Calvin, and their son Conrad. We then learn that there was another son, Buck, who was killed in a boating accident the previous summer. The movie seems to revolve around Conrad, and his interactions with those around him. We sense his distress, depression, and guilt over his brother’s death, and witness his effort to deal with it. Conrad appears to have no direction, and does not possess the motivation he once had. We see this in his lack of effort at school and with the swim team. When Conrad finally makes the choice to visit the psychiatrist Dr. Berger, he states that the reason he is there is because he wants to have more control over the way people perceive him. He wants people to see him as being okay and in control of him self. Most of all, he wants his father to see that he is fine. Conrad’s brother Buck was killed in a boating accident the previous summer. We can tell that Conrad feels guilt over his brother’s death, as though there were something he could have done to prevent it. While Buck is never actually present in the movie, other than in flashbacks, we still get glimpses of the person he was and the role he played in the Jarrett family. It appears that...
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