Study Guide

Ray Hanley in Ordinary People

By Judith Guest

Ray Hanley

Bizness Partner

Ray is Calvin's business partner, but he's been up to more than just balancing the books. He's in the book to provide a contrast to Calvin and Beth's marriage. See, Ray once had an affair, but his wife was kind enough (or enough of a pushover, depending on your perspective) to take him back.

Calvin thinks about this and wonders how Beth would react if he had an affair. The unsurprising answer is that he assumes Beth's reaction would be completely the opposite. No way would Beth ever be okay with that.

Calvin's rationale is that Beth is incapable of forgiveness. Perhaps it's her perfectionism again: everything in Beth's life is supposed to be perfect, so if you mess anything up, you mess up. And that is not okay. We can extrapolate this and assume that Beth will never forgive Conrad for attempting suicide either.

Jeez, Beth, lighten up.

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