Among Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark”, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” and William Wordsworth’s “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” an underlying focus of beauty is established. Within each of these pieces, a new definition of beauty is portrayed, and new perspectives are perceived. Each of these three authors are trying to create a sense of beauty for the readers to see, and allow the reader to understand that there is often more than one perspective not just on beauty, but to people as a whole.
Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark” focuses solely on the outer beauty and how the birthmark on Georgina’s face is “the visible mark of earthly imperfection” (Hawthorne, 467). Georgina’s husband idea of beauty is determined by what is seen by the human eye, and a mere imperfection causes one to no longer be seen as beautiful according to her husband. Although Georgina has always found her birthmark beautiful, her perception changed when her husband told her otherwise. Wordsworth’s “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” reflects on the beauty of the daffodils and how these flowers brought joy back into the narrator’s life. Wordsworth is able to show the reader that beauty does not always have to come from an animate object, but can be found in even the smallest of things. This new perspective allows the narrator to no longer feel lonely, but happy just by the sight of these bright colored flowers swaying in the wind.
Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”, although it does not focus on beauty as a whole, notes the different perspectives that people give themselves and how ones advice and what they think is the right thing to do for themselves may not always be the right thing for someone else. The narrator’s husband believes that she is suffering from some kind of mental illness and the only way for her to get better is to keep her in a room that he picked out, in the new house that she feels very uncomfortable in. With her husband being a doctor, the narrator does not question his advice, but soon becomes even more emotionally distraught and goes insane by the end of the short story. This helps explain the idea of perspective, and how everyone’s perspective on what will work and what will not work is very different. One might think that they know someone better than they do and they cannot always judge someone by the way that they would do things, for no two people are the same.
All of these three pieces focus on the idea of perspective, and how everyone’s perspective on things is always different. Perspective plays a large part in everyday life and I think that it plays a major role in service learning. Being placed in a new and unknown situation much different than one that I am use to can be very intimidating, and people, including myself are bound to make judgments at first glance that may not be true in the end. At the service learning prep session, the woman directing it focused a lot on perspective and how often times we need to open our eyes and look at things from a new perspective to fully understand people and the world around us. I think that this is a very important point to focus on and that people, including myself, always overlook. Often times we take into account our perspective, and our perspective only, and I am hoping that this service learning experience gives me the opportunity to do otherwise.