Dr. EllisSeptember 18, 2013
How Do You Deal With Imperfections?In both the short stories by Hawthorne and Gilman, and Wordsworth’s poem, there is an apparent struggle in dealing with imperfections. For instance, in Hawthorne’s, “The Birthmark,” the author attempts to display Georgiana’s struggle with imperfection through the removal of her birthmark. In Gilman’s, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Gilman portrays the narrator’s struggle with imperfection through the madness that comes out when she is seen ripping the wallpaper down and locking herself in the room. Additionally, Wordsworth’s poem, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,” illustrates the speaker’s struggle of being lonely. Finally, both these poems and short stories relate to the Zen Meditation event that was offered. Meditation allows for people to become aware of their inner issues and overcome their imperfections and daily struggles. Thus, the short stories by Hawthorne and Gilman and the poem by Wordsworth directly relate to the Zen Mediation by their focus on struggling with and ultimately overcoming a sense of imperfection.
Hawthorne’s short story uses the main character’s birthmark in order to display an area of imperfection that has to be dealt with. Georgiana is seen struggling to please her husband with the mark that she has been “charmed” with. Unfortunately, he is unwilling to accept her natural beauty with the presence of the birthmark on her face. This forces Georgiana to have her husband remove it. She says to him desperately, “It is resolved then . . . And Aylmer spare me not, though you should find the birthmark take refuge in my heart at last” (469). From Georgiana’s statement, it is valid to say that she copes with her husband’s inability to accept her natural beauty by giving into his wishes. Ultimately, she deals with her imperfection by deciding to have her birthmark removed.
Gilman’s short story uses the main character’s “nervousness” in order to display her inability to deal with her illness and as a result the wallpaper in the room is she is living in. Else is unable to accept the wallpaper and the design that is in her room. She also struggles with dealing with others. Often times she wants to be alone. The main instance which describes her struggle with imperfection is the scene at the end of the story. Else’s madness seen when she rips down the wall paper and locks herself in the room illustrates her coping mechanism for dealing with her “nervousness”. She yells to John, “’I’ve got out last night,’ said I, ‘in spite of you and Jane. And I’ve pulled off most of the paper, so you can’t put me back!”’ (398). This final statement demonstrates her success in dealing with her depression. In her eyes, she has conquered her goal and defeated her madness. Thus, Gilman uses this instance in order to portray Else’s imperfection and her struggle of overcoming that imperfection.
Similarly, Wordsworth uses the speaker’s loneliness in order to exemplify his struggle to overcome this imperfection. The first sentence of the poem demonstrates the speaker’s loneliness in saying, “I wandered lonely as a cloud that floats on high o’er vales and hills” (1-2). Based on this comparison, it is valid to assume that the speaker is extremely lonely. By comparing the speaker to the cloud, which is far away from Earth, Wordsworth is attempting to hint that the speaker is drawn away from society. Later in the poem, however, the author offers a sense of relief for the speaker. The speaker learns to cope with his loneliness by looking at the daffodils. These flowers essentially bring joy, happiness, and companionship to the speaker. The speaker reflects at the end of the poem in saying, “For oft, on my couch I lie in vacant or in pensive mood, they flash upon the inward eye which is the bliss of solitude; and then my heart with pleasure fills, and dances with the daffodils” (19-24). This final statement shows that even on his loneliest days, the speaker only has to think of the daffodils and he will find happiness. Thus, the daffodils bring the speaker to overcome his struggle of loneliness. Therefore, Wordsworth uses the speaker’s loneliness and the joy that the flowers bring in order to portray his struggle with imperfection as well as his coping mechanisms.
Finally, the Zen Meditation event that I went to directly relates to the main ideas presented within these short stories and poems. Meditation allows you to find your inner being and let the stresses of the day out. Just like in the stories and the poem, mediation helps you find your inner issue or struggle and helps you come to terms with what you are experiencing. The whole purpose of this exercise is to help you to rid of any problems that you are dealing with. Essentially, you are clearing your soul, body, and mind. During my experiencing with meditation, I was able to figure out what was truly bothering me that day. With the breathing and relaxation exercises that we practiced, I was able to forget about those worries and overcome what was bothering me. While the mediation is a more calm and reasonable way to deal with inner struggles, unlike the solutions presented by Else and Georgiana, it allows you to recognize your worries and deal with them in a peaceful manner.
Overall, both Hawthorne’s and Gilman’s short stories, Wordsworth’s poem, and the Zen Meditation share a common idea of learning to deal with imperfections. As seen in all of the literary works, there was an extreme issue that was eventually resolved. The Zen Meditation exercise also offers of sense of struggle and resolution within a person. Therefore, it is valid to say that all of the literary works by Hawthorne, Gilman, and Wordsworth directly relate to the Zen Meditation based on their common idea of learning to deal with imperfections in one’s life.