Tuesday, January 13, 2009

But I want ALL the figs

I just finished reading The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath after ordering it off of Amazon earlier this week! I loved it. One of my new faves. Tracing the psychological journey of young girl coming of age in the mid-twentieth century, The Bell Jar is rich in colorful descriptions and capturing prose. Esther, the protagonist, struggles to make life decisions that ultimately cripple her and send her into a downward spiral of psychosis.

Ahhh, the beauty of a well-crafted metaphor:
"...I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet."
Plath's insights into life are disturbingly real.

You have no idea how many times I have considered the same concept in choosing a life-path. If choose to be professor, how can I be an artist? If I choose to be a writer, how can I be a international peace worker? If I choose to be a designer, how can I be a translator? Sigh. We have to choose. We have to be specialists. We can't let the figs plop off the tree.

Fortunately, most are able to grapple with this reality a little better than Plath and her fictional counterpart. Ultimately, I think we find that the figs we do select tend to be quite appealing in their own right. Thank goodness for that.


  1. Well, you have to think about it, you should only go for the figs that are just ripe...if you eat one too early, it will be bitter and make you a little more leery of trying another fig for fear of making the same mistake.
    And what if you have a voracious appetite? There is no need to just eat one. Try one...don't like it, pitch it, and reach for another.

  2. True...but remember, while you are picking them, deciding which one is the best, they are turning black and plopping to the ground. What if you don't have time to pick another one. Then what?

  3. Then you find another fig tree to pull one from.

    Life is full of choices like that and they happen more than once, in some form or fashion. It wouldn't be the end if the fig is not what you expected, just go out and find more figs.