18 September 2013
Professor Juniper Ellis
Beauty and the Beast
The two short stories I read and the poem I read had similar themes throughout. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark”, Charlotte Perkins Gilman “The Yellow Wallpaper”, and the poem by William Wordsworth “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” all showed a sense of beauty and a beast. In each story and the poem there was a role that showed a sense of beauty and there is a character that plays a beast. Each character wants to do the thing that lets them be happy and there is a person that tries to bring them down. In life there are things that can make a person happy and there are things and people that can bring them down. It is important that people do things that make them happy. Doing things you love are a reflection of who you are and your personality.
In the story the “The Birthmark”, Georgiana has a birthmark that comes between her and her husband. He has trouble accepting her for herself and thinks that it is not beautiful. She is trying to be happy but the birthmark comes between that. She wants to be happy and feel beautiful but the “birthmark” haunts her. She feels like she is being held back because of this mark on her face. Her husband assures her that he will be able to remove and that she will feel beautiful once it is removed but in doing so he ends up killing her.
“I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” shows the theme of doing what makes you happy. The speaker shows that he is happy floating over the hills and trees. The daffodils give the speaker joy. He says, “And then my heart with pleasure fills, and dances with the daffodils”. It shows that he receives happiness from the fields and he won’t let something bring him down. He receives joy from nature and the fields and the flowers and the landscape. The speaker in “The Yellow Wallpaper” does the exact same as this speaker.
In “The Yellow Wallpaper” the speaker suffers from a nervous depression. She tries to do what makes her happy and what gives her a sense of comfort but her husband and family do not allow her to write stories and poems. She like the speaker in “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” continues to do what makes her happy and won’t let someone else bring her down. The treatment for depression during this time period was called “rest cure” which was resting and not doing much moving. This was supposed to help cure you of depression. This has since been thrown as a treatment for depression but it has been changed around and in a way has been changed to a treatment for stress through zen meditation.
I recently went to a zen meditation session in which it helped relieve stress. It gave me a freeing sense like Georgiana had when she was freed of her birthmark. Although it cost her her life, she in the end gained happiness. The woman in “The Yellow Wallpaper” continued doing what she liked because gave her happiness. The speaker in “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” got happiness through the feeling of being free and flowing over the land, taking in the views of the landscape. Zen meditation gives the person practicing a sense of freedom from all things. It allows a person to reach an inner calmness and happiness. No one can hold you back when meditating. I think in a way all the stories spoke about a freedom and beauty that cannot be reached unless obtained by the person who wants it.