斯坦贝克给儿子的一封信

XU 2013-01-09 20:23:53


約翰·歐內斯特·史坦貝克(John Ernst Steinbeck,1902年2月27日-1968年12月20日),20世纪美国最知名、阅读得最广的作家之一,社会活动家,诺贝尔文学奖获得者。
他是1962年诺贝尔文学奖的得主,主要作品有《人鼠之间》(1937年),曾经获得普立兹奖的《愤怒的葡萄》(1939年),《伊甸园东》(1955年),和旅行记录《与查里一起旅行: 寻找美国》(1960年)。
(Source:Wiki)

1958年11月,斯坦贝克收到长子,Thom的一封来信,信中Thom告诉父亲自己在寄宿学校爱上了同龄少女Susan。斯坦贝克在同一天给儿子回了这封信。


New York
November 10, 1958

Dear Thom:

We had your letter this morning. I will answer it from my point of view and of course Elaine will from hers.

First—if you are in love—that’s a good thing—that’s about the best thing that can happen to anyone. Don’t let anyone make it small or light to you.

Second—There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you—of kindness and consideration and respect—not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had.

You say this is not puppy love. If you feel so deeply—of course it isn’t puppy love.

But I don’t think you were asking me what you feel. You know better than anyone. What you wanted me to help you with is what to do about it—and that I can tell you.

Glory in it for one thing and be very glad and grateful for it.

The object of love is the best and most beautiful. Try to live up to it.

If you love someone—there is no possible harm in saying so—only you must remember that some people are very shy and sometimes the saying must take that shyness into consideration.

Girls have a way of knowing or feeling what you feel, but they usually like to hear it also.

It sometimes happens that what you feel is not returned for one reason or another—but that does not make your feeling less valuable and good.

Lastly, I know your feeling because I have it and I’m glad you have it.

We will be glad to meet Susan. She will be very welcome. But Elaine will make all such arrangements because that is her province and she will be very glad to. She knows about love too and maybe she can give you more help than I can.

And don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens—The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.

Love,

Fa

(Source: Steinbeck: A Life in Letters; Image: Thom and John Steinbeck with their father in 1954, courtesy of UC Berkeley.)
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