• Mary Xun

Letters to my parents | “English Class reminded me of you”

Updated: Aug 20


Hi CandleXers! Thanks for the great feedback on our “letters to parents” series, in which we’ve been asking teenage Beijingers to write the letter to their parents they have always wanted to write. These anonymous letters are all written by teens that are either still in high school or have just graduated.

“English class reminded me of you”

To my dearest parents,

It's been quite a long time since the last time I wrote to you. I hope you are all safe during this coronavirus situation. Recently, I’ve been reading The Crucible by Arthur Miller in English class, and the marriage between John Proctor and Elizabeth Proctor reminds me of your relationship to some extent. This book and my memories take me back to the old days.

In the play, the author uses language to illustrate the intense relationship between John Proctor and Elizabeth Proctor. In Act 1, when John walks into the home, Elizabeth brings the soup and “sits and watches him taste it." While he praises her cooking, she "blushes with pleasure" and says that she "took great care" with the meal. John and his wife continue to engage in brief small talk, which increases the tension between them. Both of them are careful not to upset each other and prefer to speak about common subjects, such as the children and the crops. When John tastes his meal, he seasons the stew and lies to Elizabeth by saying, "It’s well seasoned". John's little lie indicates that the relationship between him and Elizabeth is unsteady and he uses minor compliments to make her happy. John continues to mention that he intends to purchase George Jacob's heifer and directly says, "I mean to please you, Elizabeth". It seems as though they are walking on eggshells. John tries hard to repair his damaged relationship with compliments. But even though he tries hard to please his wife, their relationship remains shaky.

After reading Act 1 in The Crucible, I realize that your relationship is somewhat similar to John and Elizabeth’s relationship. Both of you want to make each other happy, but you are too busy with your work to spend time with each other. After a long day of tedious work, you engage in small talk, about your patients and the food. However, you never really communicate with each other about your feelings so there are always lots of misunderstandings.

I really wish that you could respect each other’s thoughts and ideas, and listen carefully to what the other person is saying. Finally, I wish that you could open your hearts and show each other your real selves.

Best,

Mary

Do you have writing on mental health that you would like us to publish? As ever, get in touch to let us know.

A reminder that CandleX is now on Twitter! Follow us at @CandleX_Beijng for more mental health resources.

#mentalhealth #teens #letter

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