In the three chosen works of literature, Ordinary people by Judith Guest, Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and Antigone by Sophocles, alienation, initiation, journey, suffering and reconciliation are among the themes covered by the these great works of literature. The writers through the various characters in the scripts have clearly brought out the five themes as the main themes. These works of literature act as a reflection of what was happening in the society then. In terms of literature not much has changed and would still expect the same to be happening in the society today. As acknowledged, literature indeed reflects the society, its ill values and good values. In mirroring of the ills of the society, the view is to make the society realize its mistakes and make amends. The good values are set out for others to emulate. As an imitation of human actions, literature presents an image of what people do, think and do in the society.
Looking at each of the pieces selected for this exercise;
Ordinary people is a heart wrenching story of an ordinary family in grief and evidence of self-destruction. Judith Guest takes us through the path of death, alienation of affection and attempted suicide that threaten the existence of the ordinary people. Calvin and Beth Jarrett a well to do couple living in Lake Forest, Illinois are faced by two tragic accidents which occurred the previous year. Their younger son Conrad, the only witness to his older brother’s boat accident blames himself for the incident and tries to take his own life by slitting his wrists with a razor. The author is concerned to look at what happens to ordinary people when faced with extraordinary circumstances and how it affects their lives.
One of the most outstanding themes in this story is alienation. It is evident mostly with Conrad and his mother. They are both having a hard time dealing with Buck’s death. Conrad pulls away from his friends and anyone who tries to help. On the other hand his mother suppresses her feelings and this leads to a very strained relationship between her and her son.
The initiation of Conrad’s journey to forgiveness happens when he finally agrees to see a psychiatrist, Dr. Berger a few hours each week. The journey to self discovery and forgiveness is however not an easy one and is marked with pain, resentment and anger. Sadly as part of his journey, his friend Karen from the hospital commits suicide. This incident crashes him as he feels that he is not in control of any events in his life. We see him recounting the promise they had made to each other (Conrad and Karen) when they last met. Karen tells him, “Conrad? Let's have a great Christmas! Okay? Let's have... a great year. Let's have the best year of our whole lives, OK? We can, you know. This could be the best year ever.”
The theme of suffering is clearly brought out by Conrad having to recount the incident when his brother dies. This is triggered by Karen’s untimely and sudden death and...