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Ordinary People

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The main character in the novel "Ordinary People" by Judith Guest is Conrad Jarrett. Conrad was living a happy life until his brother, Buck, died. Buck was also Conrad's best friend so after his death, life was hard for Conrad. He struggled to eat, sleep and maintain a normal lifestyle. Eventually, Conrad attempted suicide and lived in a hospital for a while. After Conrad got out of the hospital it was incredibly hard for him. He felt like nobody truly understood him. Three people that helped Conrad recover were Jeannine, Dr. Berger, and Calvin. Though they didn't know it, being supportive, giving advice, and simply needing him saved his life.

When Conrad went back to school for the first time, it was hard for him to talk to people and make friends. Jeannine Pratt was nice to him from the moment they first met. Conrad and Jeannine eventually started dating. This made Conrad feel better about himself knowing that somebody loves and cares about him. Jeannine tells Conrad about her parents' divorce and becomes emotional about it. Conrad comforts her, feeling strong and needed. "Her face is tear streaked, her mouth loose under his, turned slightly down. He has never felt so strong, so needed." (Guest- 200) This means so much to Conrad because he is tired of needing other people instead of them needing him.

Conrad starts to see a psychiatrist named Dr. Berger. Dr. Berger helps Conrad let out his emotion and feel comfortable with him. Dr. Berger gives Conrad advice to help him get through tough times. One time when Conrad really needed him, he called and asked if he could meet him during the middle of the night and without hesitation Dr. Berger said, "Yes. Okay. Can you make it to the office in half an hour?" (Guest- 220) This shows how much Dr. Berger really helped Conrad and how he was always there for him.

Conrad's dad, Calvin, also goes through a very tough time when Conrad comes home from the hospital because he knows Conrad isn't happy. Throughout the novel, Calvin always asks Conrad about how things are going and is very supportive towards him. He understands what Conrad is going through and wants to do anything he can to help. Unfortunately Calvin's wife, Beth, fights with him and Conrad constantly because she is so upset. Beth ends up leaving them, but Calvin stays with Conrad. Calvin helps Conrad by just loving and supporting him and his decisions.

Since Conrad Jarrett was going through such a hard time, he felt like he had nothing to live for. He thought that nobody needed him or would support him after he tried to commit suicide. Jeannine, Dr. Berger, and Calvin were there for him and gave him a reason to live. For the first time in his life he felt needed, supported and most of all loved.



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