The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath: Chapter 7 Page 77

“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of others with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out.

I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because 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 of 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.”

He was an orange on my fig tree. Choosing him would still mean losing all of the others, but suddenly I didn’t care. He  was different and our love would give me sustenance. When I realized he was the life I wanted to live, I made my way through the branches towards him. As I reached his branch, he fell to the ground and split into pieces. What would I do now? I didn’t even look around me to the other options before me because I knew they couldn’t measure up. As broken and as unreachable as he was, I remained transfixed on the orange.

–L

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