Dear United States of America, your family became

Dear Kennedy Family,

Hello! I am writing to inform you all that I believe that
you are all tragic heroes. A tragic hero is one who has high social status or
nobility and meets his or her downfall because of a fatal mistake. You fit with
the qualities of all tragic heroes: social status, hamartia, and a downfall.


One trait that makes you all a tragic hero is your high
social status. Your father, Joseph Kennedy was an essential person. He was a
U.S. Ambassador to England and was “said to have amassed a $180 million fortune
by 1935 with enterprises running the gamut from Wall Street…” (Finn). Not only
was he an important person, but he was also rich. He had money, wealth, and
fame. In other words, he pretty much achieved the American dream. One of your
siblings, John F. Kennedy, was successful in politics. “The Kennedy’s fortunes
appeared to have improved with the election as John F. Kennedy as president in
1960” (Finn). When John F. Kennedy became the president of the United States of
America, your family became an icon of a powerful dynasty- shaping history,
attracting fascination, and being the topic of millions of headlines. Even now,
your family is one of the most renowned American families, with John F. Kennedy
being the most important member. In addition, another of your siblings,
Rosemary, was a popular figure in London. Ever since Rosemary visited the King
and Queen, “British newspapers were enamored with Rosemary and her dress, and
favored her greatly over her sister in their coverage of the events, much to
the dismay of her mother” (Hapsis). Although she found learning difficult and
faced parental pressure, she was a social and friendly person who was famous
throughout British newspapers. After her father became an ambassador for the
United States, Rosemary’s circumstances improved and she improved both
academically and socially.



Another trait that makes your family tragic is your
hamartia. All of you have a harmful hamartia: doing risky actions that could destroy
your life. One unfortunate event that you Kennedys encountered is your sister,
Rosemary’s downfall. Your father attempted to have Rosemary to undergo a prefrontal
lobotomy in the hopes of curing her from her mental retardation. Prefrontal
lobotomy was a risky surgery in which some patients had died. Despite all this,
your father arranged her to undergo the operation without consulting you nor
your mother. During the surgery, Rosemary was asked to sing songs and tell
stories when she suddenly went quiet and everyone “knew right away that it
wasn’t successful” (Hapsis). It was so traumatizing that one nurse quitted her
profession after that tragedy. As a result of that surgery, your sister is now
unable to walk and speak. She is sent to an institution where she stays there
for the rest of her life. Another tragedy in your family is the death of your
brother, Joseph Kennedy Jr. Three years after Rosemary’s surgery, “Joseph
Kennedy Jr, died in a plane crash while on a bombing mission over the Channel
during the second world war” (Tran et al.). Your father hoped that Joseph would
one day become the president of the United States of America. Joseph also had
completed enough combat missions to return home but decided to stay throughout
the war. As a result, he died when the explosives in his plane detonated before
its destination. If Joseph Kennedy Junior had returned home, he would not have
died during the war.



Your decision ultimately changed your family’s life forever.

While your family did become famous, it was honestly not worth it due to the
numerous tragedies you all faced. One way people in your family suffered is how
you all dealt with a lot of tragedies. One of your family members, “Edward
Kennedy may have lived to the age of 77- escaping the so-called Kennedy curse
that stalked his family- but his life was still marked by loss, scandal, and
tragedy” (Tran et al.). He was the only child who survived the tragedies
throughout his life. Even so, Edward almost died in a plane accident that
killed the pilot of and of one of his aides. The rest of you had unfortunate
deaths or tragedies. I cannot imagine how much pain you all went through when
going to a funeral of your loved ones. Another way people around you all have
suffered is that your family is branded with the Kennedy Curse. In a book about
the Kennedy Curse, “Les Williams argues that all the terrible events were the
direct result of the patriarch’s own actions and ambitions” (Kyriazis). Some
examples of this were Rosemary, Joe Junior, Kathleen, John F. Kennedy, Robert,
Ted, and John Junior. There were so many tragedies in your family that it
became known as the Kennedy Curse. The curse was so well known, that there are
books that are based on the Kennedy Curse. Finally, your family is a lot more
afraid of doing risky actions. When asked why Ted Kennedy would not run for the
presidency, Ted replied, “Because I know I am going to get my ass shot off, and
I don’t want to” (Kyriazis). Ted said this because some of his siblings were
killed either during the presidential campaign or the presidency. He believed
it was not worth his life to try to run for presidency. It was not just
assassinations your family had to worry though. Your family also had rotten
luck with surgeries, airplanes, and cars. And although your sibling Ted Kennedy
was not assassinated, his political career was permanently ruined during an
accident at Chappaquiddick Island in Massachusetts.




From the numerous tragedies from your family, I learned that
having too much ambition and making risky decisions can lead to tragedies in
life. While having an ambition can be good, if you try to be perfect, it could
harm you instead. We are all humans and having flaws within us is what makes us
humane. I feel pity for your family because all of your high ambitions to be a
great person lead to numerous tragedies. If John F. Kennedy was never
president, if Rosemary never undergo the surgery, and if Joseph Kennedy never
served in the war, there would have probably not have been such tragedies.

While there were no actions you made that should have deserved a horrible fate,
there were actions that did nevertheless lead to your downfall. Because most of
you are no longer with us, there is little to no possibility to redeem
yourself. From your lifetime story, I will apply this lesson by making sure
that I am never too ambitious.



Paul Lee













Finn, Natalie. “The Kennedys Are
Unmatched in the Realm of Tragic Romance.” E!
Online, E! News, 26 Oct. 2017,

Hapsis, Emmanuel. “Rosemary
Kennedy: The Tragic Story of Why JFK’s Sister Disappeared from Public View.” KQED Pop, 15 Aug. 2016,

Jones, Sam, and Mark Tran. “History
of the Kennedy Curse.” The Guardian,
Guardian News and Media, 26 Aug. 2009,

Kyriazis, Stefan. “The Kennedy
Curse Busted: It Was ALL Joe Kennedy’s Fault and Here’s WHY.”,, 11 May









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