Thursday, January 19, 2012

Boxes of Chocolates and Coconut Milk: An Essay for a Student from his English Teacher

Today's post is inspired by one of my honor's students.  He wrote a very sorry attempt at an essay.  When I challenged him about it, he challenged me right back.  He said that it is not possible to write a lot about such topics as responsibility or honesty or other good character traits.  I said that I could write about absolutely any topic he gave me.  He said "Okay.  Coconut juice."  Here is my essay.  Enjoy.

Forrest Gump is known for coining the phrase “Life is like a box of chocolates- you never know what you’re gonna get.”  However, life is more than that.  It is not made up of a melted candy shell, easy to tap into.  Instead one must work hard to attain the richness that is at the center of life.  It is instead more like a coconut with its hardened outer shell and rough exterior.  In order to achieve the greater things in life, sincere effort must be put forth because life doesn’t come easily.  You may not “know what you are going to get,” but building good character will give you the tools to access the finer parts of life and prepare you for the bumpy road ahead.
     To continue the analogy further, imagine the durable casing of the coconut shell.  This fruit drops from the tallest of trees and cannot be easily broken.  Attempts to ungracefully bash it in will only prove to be frustrating, even to the strongest of people.  It is not something that can be forced.  It is only through time, patience, and perseverance that one can gain access to the meat inside.  Like life, people learn from the mistakes of their rushed and ill-guided attempts at avoiding responsibility and from the hard work that is the epitome of life.  These things cannot be rushed and mature over time.
     When a person finally does crack open a coconut, the inside is pretty standard.  You do know what you are going to get:  meat and coconut juice- the internal essence of the fruit.  The rich and vibrant purity and the sweetness of the juice make all the effort worth the prized ending.  In life the struggles and hurdles are not a wasted effort.  The ends justify the means in that in order to truly understand, enjoy, and cherish the treasures in life, one must trudge through the time-consuming lessons, harsh criticisms, and otherwise strenuous character-building mechanisms that will eventually mold and define a person’s better nature.
      Chocolate easily melts under the slightest rise in temperature, but troubles are not disintegrated so simply.  One cannot predict the future, but being armed with the lessons of life and good character helps negate the ill-effects of an unpredictable world.  It is also necessary to note that these lessons do not come easily otherwise they would not be worth the trouble put into them, but the rewards earned for obtaining wisdom, responsibility, respect, patience, and all of the other positive character traits in life are well worth the work to obtain them.

I will be turning my essay into him tomorrow.


  1. Very nice essay. He will probably say you didn't spend enough time discussing coconut juice, and you will have to tell him to read between the lines to see the metaphor. He'll probably tell you that's too much work. You will probably have to highlight the specific lines you want him to read so that he will "get" your point.

    1. He said I didn't follow the rubric. I said "What rubric? I didn't get a rubric. When did you hand one out?" He said, "A week ago." I said, "But I was absent! You didn't tell me!" His perfect reply: "So what do you think? Class stops when you are not here? It's your responsibility to get the rubric." Hahahaha. Perfection achieved.

  2. Hahaha. Awesome!! :)
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  3. This is too funny! I guess you will be showing up your honor student.