Study Guide

Ordinary People Chapter 13

By Judith Guest

Chapter 13

  • Calvin and Conrad buy the biggest Christmas tree ever, the polar opposite of Charlie Brown's scrawny little twig.
  • Conrad decorates the tree simply, yet tastefully. Even his mom says it's lovely, and she's the woman who seems to hate everything.
  • However, Beth has a bone to pick, and not a wishbone.
  • Beth heard from Carole Lazenby that Conrad quit the swim team, and she wonders why he neglected to tell his parents that little detail.
  • "I'm sure I would have told you […] if I thought you gave a damn!" (13.57), Conrad yells.
  • Beth accuses Conrad of trying to hurt her.
  • Conrad tells Beth to "Go to Europe" and "Go to hell" (13.65). We didn't know hell was in Europe.
  • Calvin tries to comfort Beth, but she pushes him away.
  • In Conrad's bedroom, Calvin tries to figure out why his son is so angry.
  • Conrad thinks his mother hates him.
  • Calvin tells Conrad that's not true, but Beth's complete lack of affection makes that hard for Conrad to believe.