24 September 2009

Sitting in the Crotch of a Fig Tree

There were days in my young life when I would go to the library once a week and check out seven books so I could read one each day. I remember putting them in order so that the ones I was most excited about were last in the pile. Opening each book was like Christmas--I was breathlessly excited for whatever awaited me.

Like those days, I went to the library this week and checked out five books on hold for me. Every one is a book I've been meaning to read for a long time. And the first one I popped open engulfed me, so much so that I thought, "Wow, interesting how this author didn't split the book up into chapters" shortly before turning the page and discovering chapter 8. Just like old times, I was so glad to be reading and every moment I wasn't, I wished I were, until there were no more pages and I mourned their loss. Books can have such a marvelous effect on me. I delve into the characters and learn new things about myself through them. This last book especially did that and I hope the next will, too.

Before I start the next book, though, I wanted to share a passage with you.

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 other lovers 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 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.(85-86)
Without using some online search tool, who can tell me what book the passage comes from?


  1. It's from The Bell Jar, right? I first read that book as a sophmore in high school and it weirded me out for weeks, but as I've gotten older I've really developed quite the fondness for Sylvia Plath. This passage is particularly lovely (and now I'm going to feel really stupid if I guessed the wrong book).

  2. I don't know the book but I liked this post. I've never been a big reader but I wish I was. Reading your post though has given me a little spark and that's what I need :)

  3. Hi, I just came across your blog and have enjoyed reading a bunch of posts. I hope you don't mind new people commenting.
    I don't know what book it's from, but boy can I relate to that passage. I've done my share of letting figs rot because I couldn't make up my mind!

  4. It is from Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

  5. Dasha got it right--The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. But I also love Their Eyes Were Watching God and just re-read it two weeks ago.