The short story Dear Daddy by Lee Maracle brought me back the tears that I, too, had as a child. I felt pitiful for the main character’s experience and deeply impressed by the thirteen-year-old girl’s courage of getting over her negative feelings for the past and going on with her life. The story, written in the form of a letter, shows the process of a thirteen-year-old girl becoming more mature as she expresses her grievances from her tragic childhood. At the beginning of the story, she described both the emotional and physical difficulties her family suffered through because of the absence of her father. She felt lonely, insecure and confused as she hoped that her father would come back. “Sometimes I had bad dreams. I would dream the welfare took us away and no one missed us, not even mommy. Daddy where were you?” (Page 163) At the end of the letter, however, the girl started to understand that her view of the world before was unbalanced and incomplete, “through a thin veil full of small holes”. (Page 165) She felt more released and started to notice “the greatness of the world”. (Page 165) She began to treasure all the memories she had with her family instead of thinking about her misery all the time, “we carried on living.” (Page 165) There was a great transition of her character from the beginning to the end of the letter. The girl’s story reminded me of myself. Although I did not have a childhood filled with misery, I did have similar feelings as her when I first came to Canada at the age of thirteen. Unlike a lot of people, I did not have enough time to get ready for a new environment. My parents told me that we were immigrating to Canada exactly one week before we left China. It almost felt like my feet were already on the Canadian land before I knew it. For a long time I felt extremely lonely, unsecure, and uncertain about my future. I missed my friends, my old teachers, and the nice big house we had in China. For the thirteen years of my life in China, I had have depressions, but never as hard as this one because I always had a best friend that could support me and comfort me. This time, I had no one. Like the mother in Dear Daddy, my parents had to work, so it was almost impossible to express my feelings to anyone. “It was hard, now that mommy was working.” One midnight when I woke up from a bad dream, I saw two tiny mice climbing on my bedroom window. I was horrified as I had never seen a real wild mouse before. Because of my parents’ hard work during the day, they were in deep sleeps. Like the girl in the story, I did not make a noise when I cried. “It took me such long time to stop crying and finally fall asleep. I knew better than making noise—just tears trailing down my cheeks.” (Page 163) For the same purpose as the girl’s letter in the story, to express myself, I started to write journals every day. I gradually thought about my past less and less. Instead, I started to study hard and try to make new friends and “carried on living” like the thirteen-year-old girl.
I greatly admire the girl for her courage of moving on with her life instead of thinking about the past all the time. I have done the same before and I knew that it was very hard especially when her life was such a misery. I believe that the lesson the story tries to teach people is that sinking in the past can only bring more misery, while life is wonderful if we view it with tolerate and tranquil eyes.