Character analysis of Guest's Ordinary People. Analyzes Cal, Beth, and Conrad and how there actions are related.

Essay by AgordonHigh School, 11th gradeA+, April 2003

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"2. Are the characters in Of Human Bondage people of great strength or of great weakness? Support your theory." (Guest, 150) As corroborated by this statement, often in novels there are characters with diametric mentalities; of strength or weakness. Likewise this trait is omnipresent in Guest's Ordinary People. Each individual character possesses a degree of vigor or frailty, each which outline their respective actions towards themselves and others as well as their motives. In line with such, Cal is often quite feeble minded, while at other times he stands his grounds. Beth is nearly Cal's double or a yin to the yang, being emotionally and altogether mentally robust. There is the old adage that the "apple doesn't fall far from the tree," and through analysis of Cal and Beth, Conrad's persona takes form.

In a very altruistic move in which he swallows his pride(a passionate trait), Cal goes to visit and talk to the Conrad's psychiatrist - for his own foibles - and behaves astoundingly.

While originally guided by strong will, Cal is awfully weak while in Berger's presence. A prime example of such is simple breathing, "He takes a deep breath; the first since he has entered the office."(148) This shows Cal's ever-present uneasiness both in being there and discussing his issues. This again shows his two-fold nature, while being strong willed in being there, he isn't quite strong enough to bluntly elaborate on his plagues. Likewise, he second guesses himself "Yes...No. I don't know."(147) Originally responding to Berger's questions from the heart, his brain takes over and analyzes the response; yielding an obsequious answer. This indecisiveness shows his unsure nature. While "putting his foot down" in relation to Beth's request to go to London for the holidays, he second guesses this decision. Due to the unfruitful occasion,