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Communication Problems in the Movie

             In the movie “Ordinary People”, one of the main characters, Conrad, has many problems communicating with people and having relationships with them. One of the main reasons for Conrad’s difficulties is his misplaced guilt over his brother’s death in a boating accident. His guilt became so overwhelming that he tried to commit suicide by cutting his wrists. After his suicide attempt, he was placed in a hospital for four months and throughout the movie we see him in therapy with his psychiatrist, Dr. Berger. .
             In one of their sessions, Conrad tells Dr. Berger that he liked the hospital because “nobody hid anything”. I think that Conrad felt that people he dealt with in his everyday life, particularly his family, hid things from him, especially their feelings. This probably caused him to be apprehensive and distrusting of people, which hindered his ability to forge strong, healthy relationships. I think this also caused him to have problems communicating with people effectively. He probably felt that people were always holding back and not divulging their true emotions, which in turn most likely made him question whether or not to share his own emotions.
             Conrad has severe difficulties communicating with his mother, Beth. His inability to deal with his grief tries her patience. Conrad’s deceased brother was her “favorite” child and now that her most treasured child is gone, she does not want to deal with the one that is left. Conrad attempts to talk with his mother several times, but she always changes the subject or pushes him away. In one scene she even turns her back on him to gossip with a friend on the phone. .
             In essence, Conrad’s trouble communicating with his mother has nothing to do with him and everything to do with her. While Conrad does have difficulty dealing with his grief, his mother completely ignores her own and probably cannot understand why Conrad does not do the same.