How do I write a one-page response to the letter and situation outlined below?

Imagine if your father won the lottery. Together, you and he open a dream business. What type of business would it be? Construction Company? Together you plan to build a family dynasty that will provide future generations of your family a financially secure and wonderful future.


The plan is that you will attend university to study courses that will help you in the business and also to take courses you enjoy. After all, money is no object. You go to university and are enjoying yourself when disaster strikes.


You receive some shocking news. Your father died in an accident. You hurry home to the funeral and everyone and everything is chaotic. Your mother is weeping hysterically. Everyone is in a shocked state. Your father was a well-loved man. Your father’s brother, Uncle Junjun, was with your father when the accident occurred.


He has been there to help your mother with the funeral and her grief. After the funeral you, your mother, and uncle discuss the immediate plan for the future. Although you would like stay, your mother assures you that she will take over the business temporarily while you finish your session at university.


Uncle Junjun tells you that he will help your mother out until you are ready to take over. Although you have some reservations about this, you would also like to finish your courses and there are only three months left.


You return to university and a little more than one month later, less than two months for sure, you receive the following letter from your mother:

Dear child,


I am afraid I have some surprising news for you, but it is good news. I have agreed to marry your Uncle Junjun. He has been extremely kind to me and extraordinarily accommodating in administering the business affairs. He has taken care of all our financial worries. Accepting his proposal was the best thing I could do. You know that I do not have much success or competency with the business world and I’m afraid I would make a mess of things if it were left entirely to me.


Your uncle has been fantastic at restoring order and the business is flourishing in his capable hands. You might think that I am being hasty, but at my age I cannot afford to wait. I really hope that you will come home to celebrate the wedding this Saturday. We are having a full church service with a banquet and festivities to follow. Please come.


Love always,


Expert Answers

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This in an interesting assignment designed to help students understand the presuppositions they bring to reading Hamlet. There is no right or wrong answer here. It is an assignment simply designed to help you think through your attitudes towards a mother's remarriage.

As you work on your response, the first thing you should think about is the rhetoric of the letter. Both the letter and the description of the situation focus entirely on business issue, yet most marriages are about personal relationships as well. This is not just a story about hiring a business manager but one about a deeply personal choice. The first paragraph of the response letter might want to address sympathy for the mother's grief and whether you think this choice will ultimately make her happy. It would be appropriate to ask whether outside of the business issues she thinks that this is a good life choice and express sympathy for her in this difficult situation.

Another issue to address is whether one can tell if a business is flourishing in such a short period. Usually, it takes a few quarterly reports before one would make such an assessment. Thus, it might be prudent to suggest that while you are happy for her, it might be a good idea to wait a few months before making such an important decision and let you graduate from college and return to participate in the business first.

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