In, “The Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth, there is constant struggle and tranquility with the characters. In the “The Birthmark”, the narrator’s wife has a birthmark that does not bother her until her husband calls it an imperfection. The wife undergoes a struggle to please her husband while trying to keep herself out of harms way. In “The Yellow Wallpaper”, a wife also undergoes struggle but in a different form. She is bed stricken by her husband and starts to become insane by the yellow wallpaper in the room. The wife in “The Yellow Wallpaper” loses her sense of self and becomes entrapped in the yellow wallpaper. This kind of loneliness can either lead to mental insanity or one can take the path the poet in “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” took. William Wordsworth goes to his happy place in his mind when he feels lonely. This is his way of finding peace in his self when he has no one else around. All characters in the following short stories or poems must find tranquility in their inner self to cope with their problems.
The first character who needs to find peace in her inner self is the wife in, “The Birthmark”, Georgiana. Georgiana has a birthmark on her left cheek that looks like a little hand. The birthmark had never bothered Georgiana before and it had actually made her more desirable as seen here, “Many a desperate swain would have risked life for the privilege of pressing his lips to the mysterious hand” (Hawthorne). Though Georgiana’s husband sees her birthmark as an imperfection and becomes obsessed with its removal. Georgiana is disturbed by her husband’s thoughts about the birthmark. Unfortunately, she believes she needs to please him husband by agreeing to get it removed. This decision leads to Georgiana’s death because of a potion her husband gave her to remove the birthmark. Georgiana’s death could have been avoided if she had looked for beauty on the inside. It was more important for Georgiana to be at peace with her own self then to want to please her husband. Also, if Georgiana’s husband had looked for beauty on the inside, he would have never because Georgiana’s change of mind on her birthmark.
The next character is the narrator of “The Yellow Wallpaper” who is the wife of John, a doctor in the short story. The wife has an illness described as, “a slight hysterical tendency”. John does not allow his wife to do anything because of the medication she must take. The narrator starts becoming obsessed with the yellow wallpaper in her room. She at first hates it but over time starts to see patterns and images in it. She is alone all the time and starts to become mentally insane. She starts seeing a woman trapped in the yellow wallpaper. The whole situation gets out of hand, to the point where, John opens to the door to his wife crawling around the room against the wallpaper. The wife could have avoided this outcome if she had found peace in her own self. She could have listen to herself and known that the treatment she was receiving was improper. Also, finding peace in her own self would enable her to be alone and not think about the yellow wallpaper.
William Wordsworth is able to be alone and keep his sanity because he goes to his happy place. Wordsworth’s happy place consists of, “a host, of golden daffodils” (Wordsworth). Wordsworth describes a very beautiful place that he travels to, in his mind, when he feels lonely. He goes to his happy place. He is at peace with his own self and has created a place he can go to exercise that tranquility. Wordsworth first line of the poem is. “I wandered lonely as a cloud, that floats high o’er vales and hills” (Wordsworth). So even in his happy place, he is alone with himself. This sort of tranquility is not easy to get to but could have saved john’s wife in “The Yellow Wallpaper”. One way of reaching peace with your own self is Zen mediation.After going to the Zen mediation on Monday, I realize the difficulty and the benefits of being one with your self. The Zen mediation was not easy because we had to sit still and be completely silent with no movements for an extended amount of time. With my inflexibility and constant want to move, mediation was tough at first. Soon, I started to feel more and more relaxed. Since I was not moving or interacting with any other person or device, I was able to think clearly about myself. It is this sort of mediation that could have helped Georgiana and John’s wife. It would have allowed them to sit and think about what was truly important and what could really help them. I cannot say I was a changed man in one session of mediation but it certainly made an impact. Sometimes its best to sit down and just be selfish.