Ordinary People


Chapter 6 to Chapter 10

Chapter Six

The book changes perspective again, focusing on Calvin. Once again, the perspective is at Calvin’s office. As Calvin waits for his secretary, he thinks about a fight he had with Beth about the trip to London. Beth wants them to consult with Conrad before dismissing the idea of the trip to London. Calvin does not want to ask Conrad about it. One of Beth’s accusations was that Calvin was not asking Conrad the right questions, and Calvin ponders that statement. He feels largely as if he has become the ultimate asker, constantly asking questions of himself. He seems to feel that if he could only answer those questions he has about himself, he could somehow make things better for himself and for his family.

While Calvin seems to consider himself very fortunate to be married to Beth, he actually spends some time thinking about his decision to marry her. When he was a young man, he became a law clerk for a man named Arnold Bacon, who was a tax attorney. Bacon became a mentor to Calvin, encouraging him to become a lawyer and recommending him at the University of Michigan law school. However, when Calvin told Bacon of his plans to marry Beth, Bacon was not supportive of those plans. Though he did not seem to have a problem with Beth as an individual, he was very opposed to the idea of Calvin marrying while he was still a student. This basically ended their relationship, and to Calvin, that was the most significant loss of his life up until that time. He feels some sorrow about that loss, which seems unusual to Calvin, who is not sure why he is re-experiencing the loss at that time. Then he realizes that it is November 5th, which was Buck’s birthday, and that his oldest son would have turned 19 that day had he not died.

Chapter Seven

The novel changes focus again, featuring a scene between Conrad and Karen. Karen was hospitalized with Conrad, and was released months before his own release. He has called her so that they could meet up to hang out, remembering how they spent hours talking...

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Essays About Ordinary People