Ordinary People

Major themes

Loss and the different ways people deal with it are a major theme of Ordinary People. Conrad loses not only his brother but a good portion of his then-self when Buck dies. His father finds himself re-examining his life and seeing it more the result of random chance and accident than any ability on his part. Beth tries to control it like everything else in her life. She and Conrad were, Calvin notes, the only people not to cry at Buck's funeral.

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