Pelukis ternama, Vincent van Gogh, sangat akrab dengan adik lelakinya. Selama hidupnya, beliau telah menulis ratusan surat untuk sang adik, Theo. Surat-surat tersebut adalah ‘jendela’ bagi dunia Van Gogh.
Melalui surat-surat ini, kita bisa mengintip kisah hidup Vincent yang mencengangkan serta karyanya yang luar biasa. Ada pengakuan yang luas terhadap kualitas intrinsik di dalam tulisannya: nada pribadi, gaya yang menggugah dan kata-kata yang ‘hidup’. Mari kita baca surat yang ditulis Vincent van Gogh untuk adiknya Theo van Gogh pada bulan Juli 1880.
My Dear Theo,
I am writing to you rather reluctantly because, for a good many reasons, I have kept silent for such a long time. To some extent you have become a stranger to me, and I to you perhaps more than you think. It is probably better for us not to go on like that. It is probable that I would not have written to you even now, were it not that I feel obliged, compelled, to do so – because, be it noted, you yourself have compelled me to.
I heard in Etten that you had sent 50 francs for me. Well, I have accepted them. With reluctance, of course, with a feeling of some despondency, of course, but I have reached a sort of impasse, am in trouble, what else can I do? And so I am writing to thank you.
But to change the subject – if I have come down in the world, you have in a different way come up in it. And if I have forfeited sympathy, you have gained it. I am glad of that, I say that it in all sincerity, and it will always give me pleasure. If you lacked seriousness or consideration, I would be fearful that it might not last, but since I think that you are very serious and very considerate, I tend to believe it will!
But if you could see me as something other than an idler of the bad sort, I should be very happy.
For the rest, if I can ever do anything for you, be of some use to you, know that I am at your disposal. Now that I have accepted what you have given me, you are, should I be able to render you some service, in a position to ask me. It would make me happy, and I should take it a sign of trust. We have moved rather far apart and may in certain respects have perhaps different views, but some time, someday, one of us may be of service to the other.
For now, I shake your hand, thanking you once again for having been so good to me. If, one of these days, you feel like writing, my address is, chez Ch. Decrucq, Rue du Pavillon 8, Cuesmes, near Mons, and know that it will do me good to hear from you.
Setelah membaca surat di atas, cobalah jawab pertanyaan berikut ini:
- Is this a personal letter or a formal letter?
- How did Vincent start and end his letter?
- Why does Vincent write this letter to his brother?
- What feeling did Vincent express in his letter?
- It is a personal letter.
- Vincent started his letter by telling Theo the reason why he is writing this letter. Vincent ended his letter with a sincere greeting, his own address and a wish to hearing back from Theo.
- Vincent felt obliged and compelled to write this letter to reconnect with his brother Theo, and to thank Theo for sending money to him.
- Vincent is feeling despondent about himself, thankful to his brother. He also expresses how much he misses his brother in this letter.
Reluctantly: Dengan enggan
Francs: Franc (mata uang)
Despondency: Putus asa
Impasse: Jalan buntu
Idler: Pemalas, pengangguran
Disposal: Siap membantu/melayani
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh, Cuesmes, July 1880, http://www.webexhibits.org/vangogh/letter/8/133.htm, web accessed 2018.04