Broken Eggs

Discuss how a particular work of music, literature, or art has inspired your educational path.

When I first flipped open the art guide for our Academic Decathalon materials last year, a single painting by Jean-Baptiste Greuze immediately caught my eye, unknowingly igniting the flame of an idea in my intrigued mind. It was a simple piece that most of my classmates overlooked without more than a passing glance, claiming it was just a painting of some small accident, some trivial moment in an equally trivial life. The image seized me, however, kicking into gear a line of thinking that had, until that instant, lain dormant. The inscription at the bottom contained two words in unembellished text: “Broken Eggs.”

In the painting, a basket of eggs sits innocently on the floor just to the right of a forlorn woman draped in period clothing. Three of the pure white orbs have rolled free of the basket. Another has cracked apart, its golden center broken and spilling freely onto the dirt floor. To the right of the despondent woman is a man who, while attempting to reach her, has been halted by her protective mother, whose outstretched arm blocks his path. At the painting’s edge stands a small boy, huddled and confused, trying desperately to hold together another of his sister’s shattered eggs even as the unaffected yolk spills swiftly...

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