Study Guide

Ordinary People Narrator Point of View

By Judith Guest

Narrator Point of View

Third Person, alternating between Conrad and Calvin

Men, under pressure to be men, dudes, and bros, often don't show their emotions. In fact, the APA says that men's mental health is often neglected and misunderstood. So it's a different perspective for us to see depression through the eyes of two men, a father and son in the 1970s. What's even more unusual is that the book was written by a woman, yet she chooses two men as her protagonists, leaving the women on the sidelines.

Perhaps Judith Guest wants to show us that hey, men have emotions, too. But since they won't write about them, it took a woman to do it.

Speaking of women, by the way, it's pretty significant that Beth never gets to narrate from her point of view. In this book, it's the woman who is actually cold and distant and emotionless. We're not actually sure if Beth is in touch with herself enough to be able to narrate anything about her life that isn't just some empty fiction about her perfect her life is.

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