Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “The Birthmark”, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story “The Yellow Wallpaper”, and William Wordsworth’s poem “I wandered Lonely as a Cloud” all relate to the Zen Meditation event. At the Zen Meditation, the instructor expressed the importance of self-reflection. In both of the short stories and the poem, there was at least one character who took a step back from reality to look at their life. This week’s event and readings put emphasis on the ability to self-reflect, discovering beauty, and happiness.
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “The Birthmark”, Georgiana, the wife of scientist and natural philosopher, Aylmer, goes through a period of depression. Before she married Aylmer, Georgiana and many suitors consider her to be one of the prettiest girls in the town because of her birthmark. All the guys would have risked their lives just to be with her and the other girls are extremely jealous. But the one person who detested the beautiful birthmark was Aylmer. He constantly insulted her beauty to point where she began to question her own beauty. When Georgiana went through her self-reflection phase, she did not do the deep reflection as the instructor at the Zen Meditation event said. She choose to go down the wrong path by letting Aylmer experiment on her, which eventually led to her death. If she took the time to really discover her beauty, Aylmer would have failed to convince her to work on the removal of the birthmark.
In “The Yellow Wallpaper”, the narrator uses her journal as a way of self-reflection. She explains how she feels about her summer house and how it seems haunted. This can be consider as another form of meditation. In Zen meditation, you are supposed to clear your mind and focus on one thing. The narrator solely focus on her writings when she starts. In a way, she lets her mind clear as the instructor said.
In “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” the speakers uses the field he discovered as a way to bring peace upon his mind. The scene, as he describes, has a beautiful scenery. Every time the speaker feels vacant, he would close his eyes and think about the field. The speaker is using the correct techniques to think of one thing.
By reading the short stories and the poem, one can see how important self-reflection can to the decision’s one can make on their life. There is also different techniques described between the stories and the poem.