29 years
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Dear Jose
Anna Cristina B. de la Paz, AB European Studies
Manila
November 22, 2009

When we relate to other people, it is but natural to adapt different versions of yourself. One cannot openly say “ P*tang Ina” in front of one’s mother, or it would be quite unnatural to greet a peer by making “mano po”. With the collection of letters that Rizal exchanged, different aspects of his personality come out. Rizal kept all the letters that he received because “through them he wanted to study the character, temperament, transformation, and intellectual tendencies of his friends and countrymen” (Viola 324). So we do the same now to him.

In a letter, addressed to Trinidad Rizal, Rizal fits into the role of “Kuya”. He tells of his adventures in Germany and his impression of German women who are not afraid of men and are more concerned with substance than with appearances. So like any kuya, he encourages Trining to form the habit of studying, so as to adorn herself with substance. He ends the letter asking her to write him back in Spanish.

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