Ordinary People

by Judith Guest

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Using quotes, draw 4 connections between Judith Guest's Ordinary People with Shakespeare's Hamlet.

AI Generated Answer

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Certainly, there are indeed several connections that can be drawn between the two works, both in terms of themes and character dynamics. Here are four:

  1. Guilt and Self-Blame: In "Ordinary People," Conrad Jarrett struggles with guilt and self-blame after his brother's death, much like Hamlet does following his father's passing.

    Conrad Jarrett: "I would have saved him, if I could have."

    Hamlet: "O, my offence is rank, it smells to heaven."

  2. Deception and Appearance vs. Reality: Both works deal with the theme of appearance versus reality, and how characters hide their true feelings.

    Calvin Jarrett (Conrad's father): "Everything is in the eye of the beholder."

    Hamlet: "Seems, madam! Nay, it is; I know not 'seems.'"

  3. Grief and Mourning: Both Conrad and Hamlet struggle with grief and mourning throughout their respective texts.

    Conrad Jarrett: "I'm not sure it's such a good idea to get rid of stuff you can't forget."

    Hamlet: "I have that within which passes show, these but the trappings and the suits of woe."

  4. Struggle with Suicide: Both Conrad and Hamlet contemplate suicide as an escape from their emotional pain.

    Conrad Jarrett: "I can't get it out of my mind, Coach... I tried to kill myself."

    Hamlet: "To be, or not to be, that is the question."

It's clear that both works delve deeply into the human experience, exploring themes of guilt, deception, grief, and the struggle with suicide.

Expert Answers

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The AI-generated answer is accurate. Here are 4 additional instances for comparison between themes using direct quotes from "Ordinary People" and "Hamlet":

1. Parent-Child Relationship Strain:

"Ordinary People": "I loved you, Conrad. I loved you so much. And still you felt abandoned." (Beth Jarrett to Conrad)

"Hamlet": "A little more than kin, and less than kind." (Hamlet about his uncle Claudius)

Both works explore the strained relationships between parents and children stemming from a lack of communication and understanding.

2. Questioning Reality and One's Sanity:

"Ordinary People": "Is that crazy or something? I mean, maybe I'm going crazy." (Conrad questioning his mental state)

"Hamlet": "How pregnant sometimes his replies are! A happiness that often madness hits on, which reason and sanity could not so prosperously be delivered of." (Hamlet pondering if he is mad or sane)

The protagonists in both stories grapple with doubts about their grip on reality and sanity.

3. Symbolism of Water:

"Ordinary People": "The renunciation of life had become as natural as breathing the water that surrounded me." (Conrad's attempted drowning)

"Hamlet": "There is a willow grows aslant the brook, That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream." (Describing Ophelia's drowning)

Water symbolizes both death and rebirth in the two works.

4. Importance of Action vs. Inaction:

"Ordinary People": "We're not doing such a great job ourselves, are we?" (Beth on their family's struggles)

"Hamlet": "Sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought, And enterprises of great pith and moment, With this regard their currents turn awry, And lose the name of action." (Hamlet on his inaction)

Both works emphasize the consequences of inaction and the need to take decisive steps despite emotional turmoil.

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