Ordinary People

Blue Shades of Hope 9th Grade

To add an element to a story, authors tend to use colors to allude to specific details, thoughts, or feelings of characters. Judith Guest’s novel, Ordinary People, is a coming of age tale which forces readers to analyze the different characters while they experience loss, depression, and anger. The story takes place through the eyes of a father and a son, Calvin and Conrad, as they share their views on living in suburbia after the loss of a beloved family member and a suicide attempt. The color blue is mentioned repeatedly, but when the main character perceives it as anxiety, it seems the author has intended otherwise Throughout the book, Judith Guest uses the color blue to signify hope since it is the blue shade of Jeannine's skirt, the blue in Berger’s eyes, and the blue car and outfit of the woman Conrad meets at the library. To start, hope is signalled through the color blue by how the author mentions the color of Conrad’s girlfriend’s skirt.

On Conrad’s first day back to school he notices a new girl. Guest writes, “A small, neat looking redhead in a blue skirt, tan jacket is hurrying along the street, her books in her arms” (17). Literally, he is observing this unfamiliar girl, Jeannine, on his first day by noticing the...

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