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Read The Entirety of Red’s “Garden Metaphor” From This Season’s Orange Is The New Black

Season 4 of Orange Is The New Black premiered over the weekend, and without giving away any spoilers (other than to say that season ends with a cliffhanger!) we wanted to reproduce one particularly beautiful passage from the final episode of the series, which is titled “Toast Can’t Never Be Bread Again.”

By this point in the season, the inmates at Litchfield have experienced an inordinate amount of tumult and pain, and when things reach a particular low Red (a lead domineering character in the show) takes some of her fellow inmates out into the prison garden and reads them a passage about “the garden as a metaphor for humanity”. The passage was originally taken from Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, and we think it is so beautiful that we had to reproduce it here:

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“The garden is one of the two great metaphors for humanity.
The garden is about life and beauty and the impermanence of all living things.
The garden is about feeding your children, providing food for the tribe.
It’s part of an urgent territorial drive that we can probably trace back to animals storing food.
It’s a competitive display mechanism, like having a prize bull, this greed for the best tomatoes and English tea roses.
It’s about winning; about providing society with superior things; and about proving that you have taste, and good values, and you work hard.
And what a wonderful relief, every so often, to know who the enemy is.
Because in the garden, the enemy is everything: the aphids, the weather, time.
And so you pour yourself into it, care so much, and see up close so much birth, and growth, and beauty, and danger, and triumph.
And then everything dies anyway, right?
But you just keep doing it.”

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