|The event that made Terry who he was when Candy met him (Chapter 4)|
Since returning to the Candy Universe, I realised that there is one problem that the anti-Terry fans would always judge Terry on: He slapped Candy after she slapped him after he kissed her without her permission. While it is indeed not acceptable to slap any decent girls (I think Eliza needs some big slaps, though!), I don’t think Terry’s action should be seen on its own. It has its larger context; namely the scars of emotional abuse.
Terry kissed Candy during the dance in the May Festival because the jealous Terry was irked at Candy for always mentioning the deceased Anthony. On cue, Candy slapped Terry (take that, Terry!). And then Terry slapped her back, but not because she slapped him. Terry slapped Candy back because she said he was a “mannerless juvenile delinquent”. For Terry, Candy had no rights to judge him as a delinquent, for he had a very emotionally traumatic childhood. To complete the slapping session, Candy slapped Terry back.
Of course, I disagree with Terry slapping Candy. I am okay with Candy slapping Terry because he did ask for it. So I’m glad that Candy didn’t lose her spunk and slapped Terry back.
|Yep, Terry started it all... (Chapter 4)|
But this panel, as well as the next panel of Terry giving Candy a hard therapy to let go of Anthony, has been earmarked as a main cause for anti-Terry sentiment in the Candy world. While I disagree with Terry slapping Candy (he did have to control his demons), I would like to explain Terry’s behaviour and his progress to maturity afterwards. I hope we can all read it with a rather calm mind… although we will end up in disagreements again.
|Second slap, and third slap, and half the world hates Terry... (Chapter 4)|
My basic argument is that Terry was a rebellious teenager because of his traumatic childhood experience. You see… Candy and Terry were both abused by their environment, but the latter suffered much longer than the former. Candy had twelve years of a beautiful childhood at Pony’s Home. The teachings of her role models (Miss Pony and Sister Lane) were imprinted within her since childhood. Candy’s teachers and their personal belief gave her the strength to endure the emotional and physical abuse she experienced when she was a servant at the Lagan family. Candy’s early childhood teaching and also her natural sunny disposition made her a compassionate and forgiving person, despite being treated so badly by the Lagans.
Terry on the other hand, were abused since childhood. He was very little when he was separated from his biological mother Eleanor Baker. The manga depicted Terry as but 3-4 years old when he was dragged by his father (Duke Granchester) to England. Ever since, Terry lived a loveless life with his father and his step mother. Although he was never beaten, he was emotionally neglected since childhood. He was enrolled in St. Paul’s since he was very young, a good few years earlier than Candy. The neglectful childhood, coupled with the emotional abuse he received from his step mother had made him the 14-15 years old Terry that we saw the first time he met Candy.
|This was the only beautiful memory Terry had with his family (Chapter 4). |
The rest were awful, neglectful and abusive.
Emotional abuse on children and teenagers is a world-wide phenomenon
Before we move on, I’d like to delve a bit into the literature of emotional abuse on children and teenagers (or early adults). I understand that many Albert fans hate Terry for slapping Candy, and I can understand their viewpoints. Terry’s uncalled for behaviours might remind them of their own nightmares. I can understand why many women hate Terry, thusly. But if you would entertain me, please understand my viewpoints as well.
Terry’s rebellious attitude stemmed from his problematic childhood; that much is very clear from the manga and CCFS pages. The importance of healthy childhood environment is very well-researched these days, many illnesses can be traced back to problematic childhood (Northrup, 2010). I have experienced myself that unfinished issues during my childhood had a long-lasting impact in my well-being. Perhaps that’s why I can understand Terry; because I once had major issues as well.
In 1999, the World Health Organisation through a Consultation of Child Abuse Prevention defines emotional abuse as (p. 872, Stoltenborgh et al. 2012):
“the failure to provide a developmentally appropriate, supportive environment, including the availability of a primary attachment figure, so that the child can develop a stable and full range of emotional and social competencies commensurate with her or his personal potentials and in the context of the society in which the child dwells. There may also be acts towards the child that cause or have a high probability of causing harm to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development. These acts must be reasonably within the control of the parent or person in a relationship of responsibility, trust or power. Acts include restriction of movement, patterns of belittling, denigrating, scapegoating, threatening, scaring, discriminating, ridiculing or other non-physical forms of hostile or rejecting treatment” (WHO 1999, p. 15)
Emotional abuse is apparently prevalent in children. Using metadata from studies conducted between January 1980 until January 2008 and involving more than 7 million children under the age of 18 worldwide, Stoltenborgh et al. 2012 found that the prevalence of self-reported emotional abuse is about 36.3% of the studied cases; it means that more than 2.5 million children under the age of 18 were emotionally abused between the given time range. That is a lot of number. We have very little idea of how it was during the turn of the 20th CE, but I don’t fancy that such abuse would be significantly lower in proportion, given the lower awareness of mental health at that time.
Children (and teenagers) who come from dysfunctional or broken families, from families who are either full of conflicts or aggression, or from families with cold, neglectful and unsupportive relationships are prone to emotional neglect or even abuse (Repetti et al. 2002). Terry’s aristocratic family was like this. On the contrary, Candy’s real family (the Pony Home family) was warm and supportive, creating a sunny Candy that we love.
By nature, emotional abuse can be active (e.g., humiliating, tormenting, ignoring and criticising) or passive (e.g., caregiver unwilling or indifference to support, anticipate or respond to the child’s need) (Iwaniec et al. 2006). Terry experienced both types of emotional abuse: his father neglected or being indifferent to his emotional needs, while his stepmother and step-siblings constantly humiliating him). Meanwhile, Candy seemed to have experienced more of the active emotional abuse during her stay at the Lagans.
Children and teenagers usually display two strategies to cope with the emotional abuse they had been inflicted upon (Iwaniec et al. 2006). The first strategy is “compulsive compliant”, where the child/teenager display excessive social vigilance and superficial compliance, and thus suppressing their own feelings. Terry did not fall into this category. The second strategy is “overtly resistant”, where one would confront others who he/she deems threatening or powerful. Definitely applies to Terry, overtly resistant strategy leads to “a greater risk of immediate physical and emotional harm” (Iwaniec et al. 2006, p. 78). Terry was involved in fist-fights in London; he emotionally harmed himself when he left his mother, when he tore her photograph, and when he tried to expel her from his Scotland villa. Emotionally abused children (including teenagers) can also use negative items to escape their pain, such as alcohol and drug abuse (Doyle 2001). In the case of Terry, he smoked and drank before he met Candy.
Yet, Iwaniec et al. (2006) also mentioned some factors that support the resilience of emotionally abused children and teenagers. The child/teenager’s own disposition is very important; a child/teenager with an easy temperament are more likely to be stress-resistant, thus less likely to fall into depression or overtly resistant behaviours. Candy is an excellent example of this sunny disposition, thus she did not deploy the compulsive compliant or the overtly resistant strategies to face the Lagans. Sadly, Terry did not have such a disposition, for he was always surrounded with gloomy environments since childhood. His negative outlets before meeting Candy were being overtly resistant and his attachment to smoking and drinking.
Iwaniec et al. (2006) mentioned school as a very important external factor to resilience. Sadly, Terry didn’t receive this at St. Paul’s at al as an education institution. Hobby, animals or tangible objects are also very beneficial to the adaptive mechanisms of emotionally abused children and teenagers (Doyle, 2001, Iwaniec et al., 2006). This time, Terry was lucky, for he had Theodora (his horse), his piano and his love for Shakespeare to make the school bearable pre-Candy’s arrival. The other important factor to resilience is “the presence of a supportive relationship” (Iwaniec et al. 2006, p. 79). And this is where Candy was very important to Terry’s healing process.
Terry did not stay a delinquent for long
Now, let’s return to Terry’s story. As Doyle (2001) and Iwaniec et al. (2006) and stated, supportive relationships are needed to heal, or at least cope with, emotional neglect and abuse. However, no matter how supportive one can be, eventually the victim would have to take control of his/her own life. Thus, even with Candy’s love, if Terry did not change, I wouldn’t support him. Terry had to take control of his own life, he had to grow into a better man.
But did he take control of his life afterwards? Did he grow into a better man?
He did, on both accounts.
We saw Terry’s worst teenage days in Chapters 3 and 4 of the manga. The first time we met him on a ship that also brought Candy to the USA, Terry just left the US after leaving Eleanor Baker’s house. He was barely 15 years old back then. Terry had visited Ms Baker earlier because he wanted to stay with her, instead of with his insufferable British family. However, the actress kindly refused his request because she was afraid of the repercussions. This refusal had left Terry even more scarred as he returned to England.
|Terry returned back to England after his mother (Eleanor Baker) |
kindly refused his presence (Chapter 3)
|Terry thus returned back to his father's house, where he received the same old treatment |
from his step-mother (Chapter 3). His deviant attitude here was his protective mechanism against
the emotional abuse and neglect he received from his step-mother and father, respectively.
We know later that Eleanor Baker went to Scotland to see Terry and begged him to return to the US with her. Terry refused his mother access, and only Candy’s compassionate plea made him stop pushing Ms Baker away from his villa. In the end, Terry reconciled with his mother. It was not a smooth transition, but Terry later acknowledged to his father that Eleanor Baker loved her son much more than the Duke ever loved Terry.
We also know that, despite the rocky start, Terry and Candy would later date.
Despite the questions lingering around Anohito’s identity, there is very little doubt on how Terry loved Candy and how important she was to him. She was the beacon in his life, such that the first place he went to as he arrived in the USA was Pony’s Home. Candy’s childhood home. And Terry was very well-mannered at Pony’s Home that Miss Pony and Sister Lane immediately took a liking at him. I don’t think Terry was just being nice to win the ladies’ hearts back then. He was genuinely interested in Candy’s life, he truly wanted to know more of her, to learn more of her life.
Indeed, the Terry that Miss Pony and Sister Lane met that snowy day was a better Terry than the first Terry whom Candy met at the ship. Miss Pony and Sister Lane were good at judging characters. They knew that Terry was actually a good boy.
|Miss Pony and Sister Lane agreed that Terry was a good boy...(Chapter 5)|
Candy also knew that Terry was actually a good boy; she wouldn't have fallen in love with him otherwise. She realised it perhaps for the first time when she saw Terry playing piano at St. Paul’s (Vol 2, p. 51-57). Candy observed that such a serene face couldn’t belong to a cruel person.
She was right. Deep within, Terry was a good boy. These are two non-Candy-related instances which showed that he was indeed a good boy:
- Terry came to thank Albert for helping him that night in London. If Terry was an ungrateful boy, he wouldn’t bother thanking Albert at all.
- Terry rescued Eliza who “almost drowned” in the lake. Although Terry didn’t like Eliza, he did not hesitate to jump into the freezing Scottish lake to rescue the brat. Terry didn’t laugh at Eliza who “drowned”; he immediately rescued her. A bully wouldn’t do that; a bully would just laugh at the sight of his enemy having a trouble.
The same Terry who slapped Candy (for calling him “delinquent”) thanked Albert for rescuing him. The same Terry who gave Candy a harsh therapy to get over Anthony’s death rescued Eliza from a very cold Scottish lake despite him disliking her.
|Terry rescuing Eliza from the "drowning" (Chapter 4)|
To say that Terry was a complicated character is not an overstatement at all. Yet, he was inherently a good person. This same complicated Terry then grew up into a better man. And these are some evidence of Terry’s growing up:
- Terry started to mingle with Candy’s friends. He practically let Alistair Cornwell destroy the Duke’s unused, old plane just because Candy asked him to give the plane to Stear (instead of it just rotting in the hangar).
- Terry left St. Paul in exchange for Candy’s freedom and to restore Candy’s reputation, which was very important in the early 20th century. He literally abandoned his lineage and left England to America with whatever he had. Before (or around the time) he made that decision, he stayed outside Candy’s jail the whole time to accompany her (she didn’t know it, she never knew it until the end of the manga). Terry also made up with Archibald Cornwell, and he had a good bonding with Stear Cornwell before he left (the Cornwell brothers didn’t know he saw them to say goodbye).
- Terry rose to his first stardom on his own merit. He stubbornly refused to make public the fact that he was Eleanor Baker’s son. Eleanor on her part did not mind, particularly also because she was still an unmarried woman. Hence, Terry’s refusal to be publicly linked to Ms Baker might have actually been an act of kindness too, for it saved Ms Baker’s reputation, which again was very important in the early 20th century.
- Terry chose Susanna Marlowe over Candy because of his sense of responsibility. He did not want to be a copy of his father, he wanted to be a responsible man. Hence, the barely 20 years old Terry had engaged himself with Susanna, a woman he did not love, because of his sense of honour.
- And then we have the Rockstown episode where Terry was sinking in alcohol, and also smoking again, because of his despair after his separation with Candy. Yes, he was almost beyond rescue at this stage, back to square one again. At that time, Terry needed a factor to remind him of his best version so far (i.e. the Terry during the successful Broadway days). Everyone does, by the way, need a role model. In the case of Terry, that role model, that factor was Candy (or in Terry’s mind, his own illusion of Candy). After seeing Candy, Terry realised he had to get a better grip of his life. He shook off his stupor, delivered his best performance in a year, and then returned to Broadway to rebuild his life.
The supportive relationship Terry found in Candy helped him go beyond his rebellious state as a teenager, which was the result of his childhood neglect and abuse. Terry’s love to Candy (and her love for him) helped him becoming a better person. The same love he had for Candy (and Candy’s love for him) helped him to rise from the ashes the second time.
Terry did not stay a delinquent for long. Terry became a better person because of Candy. Of course, he had to take control of his life as well, which was why I actually did not mind with the decision of him returning to Broadway to rebuild his life on his own. It would be much better for both star-crossed lovers for Candy to reveal herself back then. However, the editorial mandate was such that it was not possible. As for Terry, he grew up to be a better man ever since. He might never be a sunny person, but he would think more than twice before reverting back to his drinking days because Candy would be sad. And Terry – above all – wanted Candy’s approval and happiness.
To me, Candy Candy is not just a story of Candy’s growing pain. It’s also a maturity story for Terry. Terry that we met during the last page at Rockstown was a mature, responsible Terry – a far cry from the rebellious, emotionally damaged, teenager we saw on the ship. He still had his demons, but he knew he had to rise above them.
Terry’s story is also a story of human resilience
Coming back to the title: Was Terry too emotionally damaged for Candy?
Terry was indeed emotionally disturbed when he first met Candy. Yet, in less than a year, he grew up to be a better young man with Candy’s help. He ended his story in the manga by returning back to his responsibility to fulfil his promise to Candy. The rebellious boy had turned into a responsible man by the end of the manga, and he was not even 20 years old by that stage. The peaceful look on his face tells me that he would be alright. He would be much better with Candy, but if not, then he would endure it, he would rise above his obstacles and embrace life, because he wanted to be a better man for Candy.
|Terry's last curtain call in the manga (Chapter 9).|
He exited the manga as a grown-up man, although he was not even 20 years old.
Thus, I don’t think Terry was emotionally too damaged for Candy.
True, Terry might never be a cheerful person; he was not raised in a cheerful environment (Heck, even Annie – whom I also love – did not have Candy’s fervour despite being raised in Pony’s Home with her). Yet, Terry grew so much and he became a much better person by the end of the manga.
In CCFS, I think Terry knew how much he needed and still loved Candy even after years of separation; thus he sent the letter after Susanna’s death, stating nothing has changed in him. Regardless of what Candy’s reply would be, I don’t think Terry was too damaged for Candy. If anything, I think he deserves a pat on his back for being able to overcome his demons. He deserved at least Candy’s renewed friendship for being able to remain a responsible man for so long. Irrespective of whether Terry and Candy ended up being together, the man who left Rockstown for Broadway to rebuild his life is a man who deserves love. He does not deserve scathing comments on his juvenile behaviours when he was barely 16 years old; he deserves love, or at least a pat on the back, for becoming a much better man by the end of the manga.
This is not me condoning his juvenile behaviours such as drinking, smoking, or slapping Candy. This is me appreciating a person growing out of his shadows and becoming a better person.
Despite his rough start, I think the story of Terence Graham Grantchester is also the story of human triumph over hardship, the story of becoming the best version of ourselves, against all odds. To me, that is a very interesting story. Of course it’s very nice to be with a naturally kind and sunny person like William Albert Ardlay. I love Albert, I’d like to have a coffee with him. But reading the story of a “delinquent” like Terry becoming the better versions of himself is also restoring faith in our inherent ability to constantly improve ourselves. It reminds me of how Lady Edith Crawley (Downton Abbey) grew from being a jealous and pitiable woman into a lady of her own, a morally-conscious editor of a woman’s magazine in the 20s England who supported women equality.
If many of us can accept Lady Edith Crawley growing up into a better person, if we can forgive Thor for being so arrogant and thus lost his princely title (in the first Thor movie), heck, if many of us fell in love with Loki of Asgard despite him killing so many civilians and Shield agents, why can’t we accept Terry’s past, given that he redeemed himself afterwards?
The story of Terry is the story of growth, of having faith that we all can be the best versions of ourselves.
And for that, don’t you think that Terry Grantchester deserves our smile and support rather than our sneers?
Unless we are never at fault, which I doubt we are…
Doyle, C., 2001. Surviving and coping with emotional abuse in childhood. Clinical child psychology and psychiatry, 6(3), pp.387-402.
Iwaniec, D., Larkin, E. and Higgins, S., 2006. Research review: Risk and resilience in cases of emotional abuse. Child & Family Social Work, 11(1), pp.73-82.
Northrup, C. 2010. Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom. Bantam. 960 pp.
Repetti, R.L., Taylor, S.E. and Seeman, T.E., 2002. Risky families: family social environments and the mental and physical health of offspring. Psychological bulletin, 128(2), p.330.
Stoltenborgh, M., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M.J., Alink, L.R. and van IJzendoorn, M.H., 2012. The universality of childhood emotional abuse: a meta-analysis of worldwide prevalence. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 21(8), pp.870-890.