"Ordinary People" Movie Analysis

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Enjoli Crum
English 103
MWF 11-12p
A Journey through Tragedy

“Ordinary people” everywhere are faced day after day with the ever so common tragedy of losing a loved one. As we all know death is inevitable. We live with this harsh reality in the back of our mind’s eye. Only when we are shoved in the depths of despair can we truly understand the multitude of emotions brought forth. Although people may try to be empathetic, no one can truly grasp the rawness felt inside of a shattered heart until death has knocked at their door. We live in an environment where death is invisible and denied, yet we have become desensitized to it. These inconsistencies appear in the extent to which families are personally affected by death—whether they define loss as happening to “one of us” or to “one of them.” Death is a crisis that all families encounter, and it is recognized as the most stressful life event families face, although most do not need counseling to cope. The movie “Ordinary People” shows the turmoil of the Jarrett family caused by the loss of their beloved son and big brother, Buck. This movie depicts what might happen to an upper class family when tragedy strikes unexpectedly, and order is turned into chaos. Everyone must, however, continue to upkeep a mask of normalcy for society and for each other. The film sheds light into a family, due to a tragedy, that have turned into separate individuals inhabiting the same house, unable to communicate their grief effectively. It realistically looks into misplaced guilt at every level. The family’s inability to work together through these tragedies leads them down a path where they are each consumed by inner guilt, and ultimately the breakdown of the Jarrett family ensues. The family survivors include the cold-hearted socialite mother Beth, the passive father Calvin, and the guilt-ridden teenaged son Conrad who returns home after a four-month stay in a mental hospital where he was sent after slitting his wrists. As the...
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