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Letters About Literature National Winners 2010

National Honor Winner, Level 3: Amy Grant, MN

Dear Silvia Plath,

...Not long ago, my literature teacher recommended that I read your novel The Bell Jar. I was soon so enraptured that I finished the last one hundred fifty pages in a single sitting at my kitchen table. Hours disappeared while I hardly felt the passing of a moment. The details were vivid, the characters were memorable, and the story was refreshing, especially considering the miserable folderol that’s presented to my generation as entertainment. However, my reasoning goes a little deeper than that. I found a great deal of comfort in Esther Greenwood, your charming, heart-wrenching, and completely insane protagonist...

...Also, I too find myself on the cusp of adulthood. Like your poor heroine, I am standing before a tree of figs and possibilities that are slowly starting to shrivel. That’s okay, though. I know what it’s like to starve, and I’m not eager to do it again. I’ll just reach for whichever fruit is closest. It might not be the sweetest or the prettiest, but it will be enough to let me survive. Besides, if I keep the seeds, maybe I could grow another tree and have not just the fruit but the flowers. If the fig that I want doesn’t show up in that tree, I will simply plant more, and soon the world will be covered in paths to the future. Doesn’t that seem like a good idea?...

Ever so sincerely,

Amy Grant