I Never Got Any Letters


(permanent link) added: 2011-01-29 14:52:23 sponsor: MtheR (last reply: 2011-02-01 22:01:09)

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Do we have this one? I put it up in Lost and Found, and haven't gotten any answers, and a search came up empty.

So there are three characters: Alice, Bob, and Carol. Alice has been sending Bob letters for a long time, but Bob never answered. When Alice and Bob see each other, Alice is angry. But then it comes out: Bob never got any letters. Carol had been hiding them/intercepting them/etc.

(This can work the other way, as well, with Bob angry that he never got any letters from Alice, and the same explanation.)

Examples:

Live-Action Television
  • On LOST, Walt's mother hid Michael's letters to him, and the revelation that Michael had been trying to get in contact helped Walt stop being angry.
  • On Veronica Mars, Wallace is angry at his biological father (whom he did not even know he had until recently) for never trying to get in contact, until his father shows him all the letters he wrote that Wallace's mother sent back.
  • On Boy Meets World, Shawn is angry that his long-lost half-brother Jack never answered any of the letters he wrote, until Jack reveals that he never got any letters; it's assumed that Jack's mother hid them.
  • There's a Ghost Whisperer episode where a teenage girl dies. Her former best friend is haunted by her since she is angry that she let their friendship die after she moved away. It is revealed that the second girl's mom had hidden the letters because the family had moved to split the girls up. They were switched at birth, and the second mother was unable to cope with the idea.
  • In HBO's Boardwalk Empire, while Jimmy Darmody is in Chicago, he frequently writes letters (and encloses cash) to his wife back in Atlantic City, but the letters are intercepted by the treasury agent.

Film
  • In the movie Heavyweights, the evil camp counselor Tony had hid all the boys letters to make sure they never reached their parents.
  • Inverted in Sunset Boulevard: Norma Desmond receives hundreds of fan letters a day, but it turns out they were all written by her dutiful and unconditionally loving butler Max to cushion her from the realities of being discarded by the Hollywood star system and forgotten by her fans.
  • In the movie Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken, Sonora namechecks the trope nearly word-for-word when Al asks her why she never answered his letters. She later finds the letters where Al's father, from whom he'd been estranged at the time, had hidden them after intercepting them.

Literature
  • In Of Mice and Men Curley's Wife (she has no other name) thinks this happened when the man she had met at a dance hall who said he was from Hollywood and could put her in the movies never sent her any letters. She thinks her mother intercepted them.
  • In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Dobby intercepts all Harry's mail in order to dissuade him from going back to Hogwarts.
  • Used in multiple Nicholas Sparks novels.
  • Subverted in Lords and Ladies: Mustrum Ridcully complains that Granny Weatherwax never answered his letters. She replies that she never got the letters (which, since this would have been when you "posted" a letter by handing it to a dwarf going in the right direction, doesn't necessarily imply a malicious interloper). Ridcully replies that he sent them to her magically, and it turns out she did get them, she just didn't see any point in replying since they'd made their choices.
  • In The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime, Christopher's mother is sending him letters, but his father claimed she was dead and hid them from him.
  • In The Color Purple, Nettie promises to write her sister Celie, but as time passes Celie doesn't receive any letters, so she assumes Nettie is dead. Later, she discovers that her abusive husband has been hiding the letters.
  • In the novel A Fistful of Sky, Gypsum LaZelle's mother uses harmful magic on her while the rest of her family is away on vacation. Gypsum calls her father's cell phone every night to plead for help, but he never picks up. When he finally gets back he claims to have never received any calls, and Gypsum realises that her mother tampered with her phone.

Comics
  • In the Quantum And Woody comic book, Woody eventually stumbles across the many letters with child support checks his father had sent; his mother was too proud to cash them or mention them, but not too proud to pawn his beloved guitar.

Western Animation
  • Implied in the furry, animated, children's movie version of David Copperfield; Davey reads a letter from his mother and angrily comments, "I have written!"
  • In The Simpsons episode where Homer first meets his long lost mother he asks why she never wrote, she says she sent him a care package every week. It turns out the postman didn't mention the undelivered care packages. This is Played for Laughs/Heartwarming rather than drama or tragedy though.

Webcomics
  • YU+ME: dream : It's revealed that Fiona's godfather has been writing to her but her stepmother throws his letters away. At first, it's implied that this is because he's gay, then it turns out that it's because her father and stepmother have been keeping the fact that her mother committed suicide with young Fiona in the car, which her godfather tells her about.
  • Girl Genius. It's revealed - albeit subtly - that Baron Wulfensbach has been intercepting letters from Gil's old friends, probably to prevent him from forming lasting attachments to people who are, in essence, hostages. It doesn't work, mostly because Gil is Genre Savvy enough to realize exactly what's going on the moment he meets one of his old friends face-to-face.

Fanfiction
  • In the Mass Effect Fan Fiction Who Saves the Hero, chapter 29, Shepard is revealed to be in trouble because (among other things) she retained her military position in the System Alliance while she was a Spectre (during ME 1), when she was supposed to resign her commission within one month. The reason why this didn't happen was because Udina kept the message saying so from Shepard, so that the SA could maintain a hold over her.

Anime and Manga
  • In Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, Matoi, Nozomu's biggest Stalker with a Crush is shown to read his mail and throw it out before it reaches him. There's a joke on one point about the mailman having a bit of a crush on her because he always sees her/chats a bit when he delivers the mail.

Real Life
  • Lots of WWII letters never made their way to the soldiers.
  • Urban legend says that a small mail-order company went bust after their orders mysteriously dried up. Years later somebody discovered a pile of letters behind a wall, on the other side of which was a supposedly disused mail slot that the new postman had been using to save time walking around to the front door.
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