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#7 Planting Potatoes x Raising a Kid (Rough Draft)

nienna's picture

Lloyd as a potato farmer tended to transfer his passion for and knowledge of planting potatoes to his only child Yumi. However, Lloyd did not realized that planting potatoes is not the perfect metaphor, but planting in a new empty soil.


-> Yumi knowing she is different from what her father think she is. Feeling like the exotic plant.

->  Lloyd not being used to his potatoes running away from him.


Some book quotes that might be able to support the point of view

“Of course, during most of his tenure and the decades that followed, these three thousand acres were giving over primarily to the planting of potatoes, which means that you, being a random seedling, a volunteer, an accidental fruit, will most likely be uprooted. Just as you turn your face into the rays and start to respire, maybe even spread out a leaf or two and get down to business of photosynthesizing–grrrrrip, weeded right out there. Sayonara, baby.” (OZEKI, 13-14)

“That’s what I felt when I was growing up, like I was a random fruit in a field of genetically identical potatoes.” (OZEKI, 13-14)

Named me Yumi, only nobody in Liberty Falls could say it right. Yummy, yummy, yummy, I got love in my tummy. People said I was the apple of Lloyd’s eye, the pride of his heart, until I went rotten. (OZEKI, 13-14)

“Momoko must have been proud of Fuller Farms, in the early days. Lloyd surely was. In the first years of their marriage, they battled droughts and early freezes, mildews and viruses and parasites, and a host of pests that nobody could imagine why God had even bothered to create:” (OZEKI, 13-14)

“Seasonable cultural practices”—how he liked the sound of that! I remember him practicing the phrase, (OZEKI 15)

“She’d peer, long and slow—the same appraising look she gave to a pair of melons, figuring how much longer until they’d be ripe enough to pick—and your heart would be racing.” – (OZEKI – 27)

“That growing up meant you were becoming less of him. That this was something, inevitably, that any daddy would dread.” (OZEKI – 27)

“Oh, yeah, your allegiances were firmly with Daddy.

And Daddy would chuckle. Pat your cheek. He was always as shy with his love as you were ferocious with yours, but even if its expression was tentative, the fact of his love was absolute. Then.” (OZEKI -27)

If he couldn’t even tolerate your navel, then how was he to cope when life kick-started changes inside you that went deeper still? (OZEKI 28)


“That’s why your girl’s gone running off, Fuller. And I’m going to make real sure mine don’t do likewise.” (OZEKI 44)

We haven’t seen each other for just over eight years now. This really makes me sad. I know there is a lot we don’t agree upon, but you are my father, and I would like to have a relationship with you again. I know you think what I did was wrong, and I won’t ask you to forgive me, but won’t you even talk to me? (OZEKI 47)

Spudmen are gamblers, Lloyd used to say. It’s a hit-or-miss business, beset by the usual fluctuations in weather, bank rates, oil prices, random factors, and acts of God faced by any farmer. (OZEKI 60)

That was the fun, Lloyd always said, in growing potatoes. The randomness. (OZEKI 61)

And here Lloyd would look at me, to make sure I appreciated the radical nature of Luther’s act. Being my father’s daughter, of course I did. (OZEKI 61)

You see, spudmen don't propagate potatoes by planting true seeds. They do it by cloning (OZEKI 61)

She picked one up and studied it, turning it over in her crooked hands. “Maybe is a little bit zuke, and little bit Delicata, and little bit . . . it back and pointed to Ocean and Phoenix, who were fixated on the screen. “Like them. All mixed up.” (OZEKI 116)

“Food,” Geek said. “Parmahansa Yogananda told this story about Burbank in Autobiography of a Yogi. He said Burbank would talk to the cacti to create what he called a ‘vibration of love.’ He would tell them that they had nothing to fear, that they didn’t need their thorns because he would protect them. Apparently it worked.”

“Wait!” cried Ocean, “That means he lied! He pulled out all the spines and told the poor cactus he’d protect it, and when the cactus finally believed him, he went and fed it to a cow!” (OZEKI 256)

“The wondrous thing about nature, her gift to us, is her wanton promiscuity. She reproduces herself with abandon, with teeming, infinite generosity. The first knuckle-dragging humanoid to realize this became the world’s first farmer, and all the farmers who came after for thousands of years knew this, too. They saved seeds from their harvest, planted them, harvested them, and so it went, on and on, in a perfect, perpetually interconnected wheel of life. Until now.” (OZEKI 227)

“The smell of the soil tickled his nose and felt cool against his forehead. It was his soil, built up carefully with generous rotations of nitrogen-fixing crops, year after year. Recycling nutrients. Never taking out more than you gave back. So different from the way they farmed potatoes now. This soil still had life, Lloyd thought, and with his face down in it, he took a handful in his fist and squeezed it tight and waited for his daughter to find him.” (OZEKI242)


Green's picture

From what I can gather, it seems that you are trying to explain the relationship between Yumi and her father through the potatoes. That is a creative approach! I like the idea of how Lloyd isn't 'used to potatoes running away from him'. I also like how you are incorporating both Lloyd's and Yumi's veiwpoints. I also like the use of Yumi describing herself as an exotic plant in a field of genetically identical potatoes.

changing9's picture

The metaphor you draw on between raising a child and growing a potato is simply fascinating, and I think you could explore that to a great extent. You could even use it to analyze Lloyd's success/failure as a father since he might have expected the similarities between growing potatoes and raising Yumi to be more, and might have assumed that Yumi would need the same level of attention as his potato crops.

I think the quotations you have selected are all interesting, but I couldn't see the relevance of some of them to your main argument. For example: “Oh, yeah, your allegiances were firmly with Daddy." “Momoko must have been proud of Fuller Farms, in the early days. Lloyd surely was. In the first years of their marriage, they battled droughts and early freezes, mildews and viruses and parasites, and a host of pests that nobody could imagine why God had even bothered to create:” (OZEKI, 13-14) Maybe tomorrow we could help you select a few quotes from your list that highlight your argument the most.

I think you could also draw your attention to the connection between the pro-life stance Lloyd takes with regards to Yumi's abortion and his policies of farming.