Ordinary People


Chapter 31

Chapter Thirty-One

The next scene is a sharp contrast to the tender love scene between Conrad and Jeannine. Beth is leaving Calvin. The end of the relationship stands in stark contrast to the beginning of their son’s relationship, and one must imagine that they once had the passion and promise of Jeannine and Conrad. The end of their marriage seems to be a surprise to the people around them, but the reader has seen their marriage disintegrating throughout the novel.

While their friends may be surprised, Calvin is not surprised that Beth is leaving. He was surprised to find that he actually felt like hitting Beth at one point in time, which is contrary to what he feels about himself. She says that she does not want Calvin to smother her like she feels he is smothering Conrad, but it appears as though she wants to avoid feeling any emotions. However, Calvin seems determined to move forward with his life. He tells Conrad that they are going to sell the house because they have looming expenses like college. They are going to live in a rental house in Evanston.

Conrad is surprised by Calvin’s announcement. He thought that his parents were doing better. Furthermore, Beth has left without telling him good-bye. Conrad and Calvin argue briefly. However, their argument is resolved when Conrad tells him that he actually thinks he needs Calvin’s guidance. He makes the point that Calvin was not scared to guide Buck, and that, like his brother, he needs that guidance.

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Essays About Ordinary People