Ordinary People

References to other works

  • At the beginning of the novel, Conrad is reading Jude the Obscure in English class. Later, he reads an exam question that mentions Lord Jim and Of Human Bondage as other works he might have read.
  • Calvin recalls having enjoyed The Three Musketeers as a young man.
  • Karen's drama club is doing A Thousand Clowns.

In the first edition of the book, Karen erroneously credits Neil Simon as the playwright for A Thousand Clowns rather than Herb Gardner. Some astute readers wrote to Judith Guest to report the error. She graciously wrote back with thanks to at least one MSU freshman reader who theorized that the error might be intended to foreshadow Karen's mental instability. [cdw]

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