But seeing the very obstacles that stymied me being overcome by a yellow-skinned, spiky-haired caricature was so silly that my difficulties, too, seemed silly.
“Well heck,” I thought, “if Lisa Simpson—a cartoon character, for heaven’s sake— can stick to her guns, then so can I.”So I did.
For fiction and art, applicants tend to think big—a Jane Austen heroine, a Monet painting, a Rodin sculpture, a Beethoven symphony.
So what are we to make of an essay that focuses on a seemingly trivial cartoon character like Lisa Simpson?
I’d mend my ways, steam rice and stir-fry snow peas with mushrooms . I wish I could say that I was inspired by one of history’s great artists like Leonardo da Vinci, or a leader and inventor like Benjamin Franklin, but no. Let me pause here to acknowledge how absurd it is to be inspired by an animated sitcom character, albeit one as smart and together as Lisa.
Yet it was the very absurdity of feeling, somehow, moved by Lisa’s resolve and strength of character, her refusal to compromise her beliefs, that convinced me I could follow her example. She is moved by ethics, yet almost breaks her resolution when Homer prepares a pig roast and is hurt by his daughter’s refusal to partake.Actually, it’s used as a “seasoning,” but so commonly that it’s almost impossible to find salad without bacon, greens without fatback, white beans free of pinkish shreds of ham.It was difficult for me, then, when I decided to become a vegetarian.Among the essential writing tips for a winning essay is the inclusion of a little humor to keep the essay fun and engaging. At no point is her essay shallow or flip, but her catalog of southern pork dishes and introduction of Lisa Simpson are likely to receive a chuckle from her reader.The essay's humor, however, is balanced with a serious discussion of a challenge Felicity faced in her life.This system worked well enough in public, but at home, I faced the challenge of respecting my parents and harmoniously sharing meals with them. I’d manage to live a pure, meatless life for a few weeks, subsisting on pasta and salads.They were excellent cooks, both of them, and I had always enjoyed the country-fried steaks, burgers and ribs they’d served to me for so many years—how could I now say “no” to those delicacies without angering or inconveniencing them, or, worse, hurting their feelings? Then, Dad would grill an especially juicy teriyaki-marinated flank steak, look at me hopefully, and offer a slice—and I would accept. and crumble at the first whiff of the Thanksgiving turkey roasting in the oven and the proud smile on my mother’s face. But then, I found a role model, one who demonstrated to me that I could live without meat and still be a functioning member of society, eschew my parents’ pork chops and fried chicken without giving offense.I suspected even innocent-seeming pie crusts of secretly harboring lard.Eventually I worked out a system: I brought my own lunches to school, asked servers about the broth used in the soup of the day, avoided the usual suspects of beans and greens.When we attended a potluck, we made sure that one of the dishes we brought was a meatless entrée, so that I would be guaranteed at least one edible dish at the pork-laden table.I did not tell my parents, or anyone else, that Lisa Simpson had helped me say no, forever, to eating meat.