We all know the myth of Sisyphus- He was punished for all eternity to roll a rock up a mountain only to have it roll back down when he reaches the top. Now, in this situation, Sisyphus is not choosing to strive for failure, but in effect, that is what he is doing. However, there is a main difference between Sisyphus and most people who have goals that backfire.
Sisyphus knows that every time he pushes the boulder up, it will fall down. (Unluckily for him, there’s nothing he can do about that. But that’s beside the point.) It is a common event for people to aim and work for things that either backfire or don’t go the way they were expecting. In The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath, Esther Greenwood has everything going for her. She has a steady job, she went to a respectable university like she was expected to, and she has a loving family. However, she is plunged into all consuming deep depression that brings turmoil to her life. She did everything she was “supposed” to. Why did this happen?
Well, I don’t know. But I do know that as an AP student, reading this book freaked me out. When Esther described her life, I saw myself in her position. I am taking difficult classes, partly because it is what is expected of me by my peers, teachers, and parents, and I am applying for major universities, because while yes, they are great schools, I don’t know if there would really be a huge difference if I attended a State school. Watching Esther break down and her life tear to pieces made me wonder if it is really important that I worry about all of this right now. Maybe I should just enjoy life and live in the moment. But then what about that tall glass window beachfront house I was planning on?
What I am aiming for…well frankly I’m afraid it’s the wrong thing. I’m afraid that it will backfire and I will either break down or I will end up creating a beastly monster. Like Frankenstein.
Victor Frankenstein became obsessive, went mad, and created life. He worked for months for this goal, and as soon as it was created, he cursed it and swore up and down that it was the devil. He definitely strove for disappointment. What scares me is I don’t know what I do in life will eventually create that monster. Whether I myself become the monster, or I make something else horrendous, how will I know before it happens?
Again, I don’t know. But at least I know it’s a possibility.