Study Guide

Ordinary People Chapter 4

By Judith Guest

Chapter 4

  • Calvin and Beth have dinner.
  • Calvin thinks about how he has been married to Beth almost twenty-one years, yet she is still "a marvelous mystery" (4.1) to him. What kind of mystery? A Sherlock Holmes mystery? Miss Marple? Scooby-Doo?
  • Beth wants to go on a trip for Christmas this year. Maybe Yugoslavia. Or London. (If you're planning a trip these days, choose London. It still exists.)
  • But Calvin doesn't think they should travel for Christmas this year.
  • With Conrad fresh from the hospital, Calvin thinks the timing is wrong.
  • Beth insists it would be good to get away…away from her uber-busy tennis-and golf-playing lifestyle.
  • Beth thinks if they don't go now, they'll never go, because Calvin will blame himself and Beth for what Conrad did for the rest of eternity.
  • Ruh-roh, Ralvin. That escalated quickly.
  • Calvin insists everything is all right, but Beth disagrees.
  • Back at the office, Calvin goes over some paperwork with Ray, his business partner.
  • Then Calvin thinks to himself that he lied to Beth at lunch.
  • The lie is that Calvin said everything is all right, but everything isn't all right. Calvin blames himself for Conrad's behavior.

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