Ordinary People

by

Judith Guest

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Color

Guest uses color to represent characters' emotional states. Because Conrad and many of the other characters in the novel are deeply affected by changes in their environment, the appearance of places, things, and even people… read analysis of Color

Water

Water appears in several different forms throughout Ordinary People. It is arguably the basis of the Jarretts' main conflict, since Buck's death in a sailing accident is the root cause of Conrad's suicide attempt… read analysis of Water

Music

Music is a comforting presence in the novel. In sharp contrast to swimming or schoolwork, choir practice offers Conrad a sense of calm and belonging; it is a rare opportunity for his body and mind… read analysis of Music

Religious Imagery

Christian slogans and imagery crop up in a few scenes, though they are relatively rare. They act as an omniscient "conscience" – a sense of right and wrong, or a symbol of guidance – against… read analysis of Religious Imagery