Sunday, July 02, 2006

How do you like them apples?

The thing that makes apples worth eating is not the taste but the crunch in your head when you bite into one. The electricity of it tingling your teeth.

A mouth-sized patch of white is revealed. Surrounded on all sides by scarlet, its shocked flesh speaks of innocence, of the sort of sharp numbness that gives way, eventually, to pain. For a moment you feel strangely guilty. Then, resolved on your villiany, you take another bite, then another. There is a sense of violation in tearing into this juicy, vulnerable flesh, such as you get with no other fruit. You exult in your rebellion, content to lose a hundred Edens for this crime you are now committed to.

Nor is it possible, even if you so wished it, to make amends for that first defilement. Abandoned, the apple grows melancholy, rusts to a soggy reddish-brown. Only apples that are eaten young, when they are still crisp and hopeful, are spared this decrepitude.

And then there is the core, of course. Other fruit have pits - small, self-enclosed worlds that reject you completely. But the core of the apple is approximate at best, and is a hideous thing, gnawed and savaged, a white skeleton from whose sockets black pips peer like sightless eyes.

And yet for all that, the apple remains one of our favourite fruits, a mainstay of our cultural mythology. We name our computers and our record companies after it. We replace our face with it in paintings. We place it in our eyes, in our throats. Schoolchildren in Cliche, Ohio carry one to school everyday and place it on their teacher's desk.

Is it perhaps that we see in the apple's polished thick-skinness, in the zest with which it responds to the idea of death, in the desolation of its swift and certain decay, an echo of our own selves? In biting down to the very core of the apple, are we not perhaps seeking our own inner being, or at least trying to salvage the most that we can out of our increasingly eaten away lives? And shall we then not have compassion for the bruised, the damaged apples, the apples with the worm in the centre, the apples growing slowly rotten at the bottom of the barrel? Shall we not pick them first and save what we can from them? Shall we not express our solidarity for these damaged brothers of ours, if only by making them into jam?

10 comments:

n said...

Profound thots. Remarkable to find inspiration in such an everyday thing.

"You exult in your rebellion, content to lose a hundred Edens for this crime you are now committed to."
This is another one for the feminist debate. Maybe Eve did have a few things figgered out right. And here we were, blaiming her all along :)
n

Sony Pony said...

...also makes weakly-dentured folk green w/ envy at our astonishing apple crunching teeth-ly powers...

Megha said...

"Schoolchildren in Cliche, Ohio carry one to school everyday and place it on their teacher's desk."

Wonderfully put.

Swathi said...

powerful imagery...

Falstaff said...

n: No, no, this is not a feminist topic. Really.

sony pony: True. Though with my teeth I'm likely to be joining the weak-dentured folk before long, so I'd rather NOT think about that.

megha: Thanks. Though I personally think saying Cliche, Ohio is redundant. Ohio is a cliche all by itself.

swathi: thanks.

scout said...

Nice post. But I love the title... you've obviously watched Good Will Hunting more than once :D

anacreon said...

Guess the title is inspired more by Grapes of Wrath than Good Will Hunting.

Falstaff said...

anacreon: Actually, no, Scout is right. I was thinking about Goodwill Hunting. Though in truth I've only seen it once.

n said...

ah. don't deny it. ur a crusader for us women alrite :D

Sujatha said...


A mouth-sized patch of white is revealed. Surrounded on all sides by scarlet, its shocked flesh speaks of innocence,


Just as long as you don't find half a worm dangling in the flesh. :)