Thursday, January 31, 2013

Event/Analysis #2

Matt Wiegartner
            Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark,” Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper,” and William Wordsworth’s “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” all share a common theme: a character in each work deals with an obsession over something.  This theme of obsession ties in with a trip I took to Washington, DC this past weekend.  Obsession has a certain effect on our actions, and can be different for every person.   Some obsession is negative and some is positive.
            In Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark,” Aylmer, a scientist, is married to Georgiana, who is perfect in every way, but has a small birthmark on her cheek.  Aylmer initially thinks little of it, but as the story progresses, he becomes obsessed with the birthmark, shuddering at the sight of it.  He even dreams about removing the birthmark, and doing whatever it takes to get rid of it, even cutting out Georgiana’s heart.  When Georgiana realizes that Aylmer can’t stand the birthmark, she demands him to try and get rid of it.  Aylmer experiments on her for a while, coming up with a dangerous potion that could get rid of the birthmark.  When Georgiana drinks the potion, the birthmark starts to fade, but when the birthmark is almost gone, Georgiana dies.  Aylmer’s obsession with Georgiana’s single imperfection caused him to go to extreme lengths, and inadvertently killing his wife.
            In Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper,” a new mother—who is the narrator—and her family go to a house for the summer, where the narrator is put in an upstairs room to rest.  She finds “something queer” about the house, and especially the room she is staying in.  Most striking to her is the wallpaper, which has been torn up like someone has been doing it before.  She keeps a journal in which she describes the wallpaper, the yellow color and smell, and an image she begins to see behind the wallpaper.  She thinks it is an image of a woman who was previously trapped there.  On the last day of summer, she locks herself in the room and tears down all the wallpaper.  When he husband comes to the room later, she is seen tearing the wallpaper, claiming that she is free.  The narrator’s obsession with the wallpaper caused her to go insane.
            In Wordsworth’s “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,” the speaker writes of a beautiful landscape.  When he looked at the landscape, he didn’t fully realize the true beauty of it.  He says it was something a poet could never forget, and whenever he is by himself, the memory flashes back to him and “his heart fills with pleasure.”  One could say the speaker is obsessed with this landscape, but it doesn’t have any negative effects on himself or anyone else.
            On my visit to Washington, DC, I visited the National Museum of Crime and Punishment.  One of the exhibits had to do with serial killers.  One of the most prolific serial killers of the 20th century was Ted Bundy.  He had a specific way of kidnapping and killing his victims, which often had to do with him charming his victims, or faking an injury.  He also targeted specifically young girls and women.  Serial killers have a meticulous way of carrying out their crimes, and many call it an obsession.  Obsessions have many different effects on people, some good and some bad.

Service Analysis #2

Victoria Paternostro


Service Analysis 2

            Obsession plays a big role in controlling peoples lives as seen in Hawthorne’s The Birthmark and Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper, but there is always a way to control an obsession which can be seen in Wordsworth’s I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.  These obsessions can play a part in how people perform services also. Obsessions can help or hinder the outcome of people’s volunteering and service. 
            In The Birthmark and The Yellow Wallpaper, both narrators obsess over one little thing that ends up ruining their lives. Aylmer became obsessed with his wife’s birthmark and would not stop until it was removed. But in removing it, Aylmer also went to far and lost his wife. Like Aylmer, the narrator of The Yellow Wallpaper become obsessed with an object, the wallpaper in the bathroom of their summer home. At one point, she makes it her goal to figure out the pattern of the wallpaper. I both cases, obsessing over something ended up ruining something in each narrator’s life.
            Like the narrators, everyone can become a little obsessed with something. Many people tend to obsess over something especially when they are participating in service.   These people can obsess over things like helping as many people as they can, or doing everything perfectly right.  In doing so, these people can ruin the experience of service for themselves and others. 
            When I did service with helping little kids who have autism, some of the other volunteers were almost obsessed with doing everything for the kids and doing it for all of them.  I think that this ruined the experience for not only those people who were exhausted by the end of the day, but also for the kids.  They didn’t get to really have fun because the volunteers did all of the arts and crafts or games for them.  By these people obsessing over helping every kid and doing everything perfectly, they ended up ruining what could have been a great day for those kids. 
            Although obsessing over something can be bad, it can also be good in some ways. In I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, the narrator is a little obsessed with daffodils. These daffodils are what he uses to bring himself peace.  Although he doesn’t think about them all the time, he obsesses over them when he needs to and is able to control it. 
            These three literary works and service are similar through obsessions.  All three narrators became obsessed with something, whether this obsession was good or bad, just as people can become obsessed with something while participating in service.  

Sense of belonging

Katerina Pappas
English 101.17
            January 31,2013

Sense of belonging

            The Chinese Cultural event introduces the idea of not just a new year for the Chinese, but also a day where everyone gets together and eats. It is significant because it is like a reunion where everyone is having a good time and spends time together.  “The Yellow Wallpaper,” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman shows how a woman who is said to be depressed is separated and put in a house. It is the idea of being alone and being stuck as if one could not leave. “The Birthmark,” by Nathaniel Hawthorne expresses the idea of aiming for perfection. “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,” by William Wordsworth is a poem about nature and the good feeling being around people and having company. The idea of all of these writings is that they all express a need for being together as a family and the expression of loneliness.
            Gilman and Hawthorne’s piece relate in the sense that there are women who feel trapped and alone. In Gilman’s piece the woman is said to have a disorder and her husband keeps her in a separate room with yellow wallpaper. The wallpaper is seen to bother her, “the color is repellent, almost revolting; a smoldering unclean yellow/committing every artistic sin.” (Gilman, 389) In the end of the story the yellow paper has a woman trapped in the there with bars, and it essentially represents the idea that she (the woman who is depressed) is trapped and lonely. Similarly in Hawthorne’s story the woman also gets put in another room where she awaits for her flaw (the birthmark on her cheek) to go away. Her husband also has a control and “assuring her that her seclusion would endure but a little longer.” (Hawthorne, 474) In both of the pieces the woman feel lonely and have a wanting to be with their husband. They want to feel together again and not alone.
            In the Chinese event everyone got up to get food, there was music, henna tattoos, and T.V. Everyone was gathered together eating and just enjoying the atmosphere with the decorations. It is similar to the poem by Wordsworth because he enjoyed company and expressed it through the daffodils. He would mention “And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils.” (Wordsworth 21-22) The idea of being around others “in such a jocund company,” (Wordsworth, 15) is significant and is similar to the Chinese event because during the Chinese New year it is important to spend time with family or having company. The poet also gets a lonely mood at times and it is seen when he says, “For oft, when I lie In vacant or in pensive mood.” (Wordsworth, 18-19)
            All the writings are an expression of how sometimes company is all one needs. It also shows how people are afraid of being alone, and how anxious it can be to be in that state of mind. The writings are like a message to show that everyone has flaws but the important part is accepting one another for who they are not to make them feel less. In the end no one likes to feel secluded or left out. 

Event Analysis #2

Natalya Pulaski
January 30, 2013
Event Analysis 2

The stories, “The Birthmark ” by Nathanial Hawthorne, “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Gilman and the poem, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth, explore the topic of the mind and its ability to change depending on how it is treated in different relationships.  Hawthorne’s, “The Birthmark” and Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” examine how a mind controlled by obsession and small imperfections can lead to mental destruction and self-doubt.  However, Wordsworth’s, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” presents a more positive image of the mind and seeks to illustrate how a person can have a positive relationship with nature and can be in a sense free from confinement and worry and express themselves verbally and physically to others.  Not only in these three examples but also in today’s society having a free state of mind is vital for a happy life.  If a person’s mind is confined and downgraded or controlled by outside unhealthy factors than a person will being to slowly loose control of their ability to function and will not be able to effectively show their emotions to others. 
When a person becomes obsessed with small imperfections and thinks about every thought in relation to their loved ones happiness, they can become mentally unstable.  In both Hawthorne’s, “The Birthmark” and Gilman’s, “The Yellow Wallpaper” both women in the poem become mentally obsessed with changing themselves to satisfy their husband’s desires.  In the “Birthmark,” Georgiana becomes so enthralled by his husband’s scientific accomplishments and desire to make her perfect that she gives into his desire and lets her try to heal her, “defect”(467) and “imperfection”(467). Interestingly, even though Aylmer believes that they share “united lives,”(468) he can still not see Georgiana as perfect.  Georgiana slowly moves through a progression of emotional down spirals.  Aylmer’s sole motive in the poem is to make his wife perfect through the removing of her birthmark, which for him represents an, “object of horror and disgust”(469) and a barrier between his wife and his fascination with science.  The title is an interesting connection to how Aylmer sees their relationship.  A birthmark is something usually permanent and often not meant to be removed.  Despite Georgiana’s initial pleas to her husband that he look past her one imperfection and remember how their relationship once was, he is unable to acknowledge her desires and the permanence of their relationship.  Although in the end Aylmer gets what he wants, removing the birthmark from Georgiana’s face, Georgiana dies because of mental exhaustion.
Similarly in “The Yellow Wallpaper,” the narrator’s mind breaks down because of mental exhaustion due to her husband’s desires to keep her locked up.  The narrator suffers from a form of depression and is constantly unhappy, yet the only way she is able to express herself is through writing.  She is unable to verbally express her thoughts and when she does her husband’s reaction are, “stern”(394) and “reproachful”(394).  She confesses that, “John does not know how much I really suffer.  He knows there is no reason to suffer, and that satisfies him”(389).  The narrator is not only physically confined by the walls of the rooms she is in but is also mentally confined by her condition and her husband’s constant actions to keep her in her room.  Therefore you can see that this confinement causes her to experience insanity.  She becomes so preoccupied with her husband’s ability to be free outside the walls of her small room, that she looses sight of who she really is. The “horrid paper”(390) that the narrator refers to throughout the story seems to represent how the narrator sees herself.  Everyday she sees the unappealing wallpaper and sees an image of herself through the wallpaper.  This shows how initially the narrator sees herself as the wallpaper but in the end destroys the wallpaper and makes the wall completely white, something pure.  In a way she is clearing herself of her own imperfections and renewing her mind. 
William Wordsworth’s, “I Wandered as a Lonely Cloud” and my first experience of meditation both represent ways in which the mind can be renewed.  Wordsworth illustrates how nature has a positive effect on the narrators mind.  Through the use of imagery such as, “a host of golden daffodils”(4), Wordsworth evokes the feeling of freewill and a free mind.  He also personifies nature as if they were humans, “fluttering and dancing in the breeze”(6).  A free mind allows for more happiness.  In contrast to the confinement that both women experienced in the short stories, the narrator in the poem is able to flourish through nature.  Each narrator in the three pieces experience a feeling of relief when they are by themselves. Similarly during meditation the mind becomes focused and mind and body become connected together.  The experience of meditation was rejuvenating, powerful and reawakened my mind just like each narrator was reawakened in some way.     

Service Analysis 2

Charlotte Dunn
Dr. Ellis
Analysis 2
January 31, 2013
            Walking down the hallway seemed never ending. The dim flickering lights created an eerie feeling that I couldn’t shake. The dull humming of the machines infested my mind. All I could think of is this horrid place that I will have to look forward too. These sounds, images, and thoughts brought on feelings of isolation. Similar to the element of isolation created in the literary works of Wordsworth, Gilman, and Hawthorne. All three literary works express the element of isolation through specific objects and imagery. The speaker and protagonist’s obsessions ultimately lead to their downfalls.
            In William Wordsworth’s poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,” the speaker isolates himself by comparing himself to a “lonely cloud that floats high o’er the vales and hills” (lines 1-2). This imagery isolates the speaker because the cloud is wandering alone, by itself, high above everyone and everything else. The speaker also brings the reader’s into his atmosphere when he says, “For oft, when on my couch I lie in vacant or in pensive mood, they flash upon that inward eye which is the bliss of solitude”(lines 21-24). This gives the reader’s insight into the actions and feelings of the speaker. The speaker tells the readers of his actions “I lie vacant” and “flash upon that inward eye which is the bliss of solitude” these quotes, communicate the loneliness and isolation of the speaker.
            In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story The Yellow Wallpaper the protagonist is isolated by her obsession with the wallpaper that is hung in the nursery. Her mind obsesses over the rips and tears in the old, faded, paper. “The color is repellent, almost revolting: a smoldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight. It is dull yet lurid orange in some places, a sickly sulphur tint in others” (398). The protagonist is so intrigued by the paper and the shapes it casts that she stares and lets the paper take over her thoughts. She studies the paper and counts it’s every tear, torn, and discoloration until she has memorized it. Her sickly obsession quickly turned into hallucinations and distortions. “I didn’t realize for a long time what the thing was that showed behind that dim sub-pattern, but now I am quite sure it is a woman. By daylight she is subdued, quiet, I fancy it is the pattern that keeps her so still. It is so puzzling. It keeps me quite by the hour ” (394). This quote describes how the protagonist’s obsession has shifted into distortions and hallucinations. She is creating pictures in her head to help her escape the isolation, loneliness, and eeriness of the house that she is stuck in. Her obsession and distortion has given her something to keep her mind busy. Unfortunately, creating the illusion of the woman and the built up isolation leads the protagonist to her downfall, which she exclaims at the end of the story “I’ve got out at last” (398).
            Similarly, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story The Birthmark also has an element of isolation derived from the Aylmer’s, the protagonist, obsession with his wife’s birthmark. Comparable to The Yellow Wallpaper Aylmer can only think about this birthmark. Seeing the birthmark on his wife changes how he feels towards her. He feels that “this one defect grow more and more intolerable with every moment of their united lives. It was the fatal flaw of humanity which Nature, in one shape or another, stamps ineffaceably on all her productions, either to imply that they are temporary and finite, or that their perfection must be wrought by toil and pain” (468). The quote presents the readers with Aylmer’s feelings, which show how he cannot fathom the imperfection on his wife. This drives him mad because it is “intolerable” and a “fatal flaw” of Georgiana. His obsession with the birthmark leads him into isolation, which places a barrier between Aylmer and Georgiana and leads to her death.
            One service project that I have participated in was helping at a nursing home. The feelings that I expressed in the introductory paragraph were the feelings that I experienced when I walked through the doors for the first time. I as observed my surroundings I felt uncomfortable and sad. I did not want to be placed in a home like that when I got older. Everything looked bland, colorless, and ordinary. It reminded me of a hospital and it put me in a dreary mood. Many of the people I worked with had gone through loss of their own. Being in the nursing home and seeing the elder people brought feelings of isolation. I felt upset for the people who had to live in this home. During my service I did everything in my power to try and bring some happiness and liveliness back to the elderly living in the nursing home. We would play games, sing songs, and listen to each other’s stories. By the end of my service my thoughts had changed. Walking down the hallway I didn’t have eerie feelings but rather feelings of familiarity and the good memories I had made with the people living there.
            The three literary pieces and my service all connected through the element of isolation. The protagonist’s of the short stories and the speaker of the poem all experienced and showed signs of isolation just as I did walking in the nursing home for the first time. In the literary works, the characters were brought down by their isolation leading them to misfortune and death. In my case, I decided to overcome the isolation and bring happiness and life back into the elderly living in the nursing home. 

Open Your Eyes and Realize

While attending the ALANA Welcome Back Dance, reading “The Birthmark,” by
Nathaniel Hawthorne, understanding “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and carefully analyzing “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth, I related the word “appreciation” to my everyday life. According to Webster’s dictionary, appreciation is gratitude or thankful recognition towards something. While this is true, appreciation to me is more about understanding why you’re thankful for what you have or have been given. And in my situation appreciation didn’t come along until after I realized what I left behind.
            On Friday evening I attended a party on Loyola’s campus with some of my roommates. As soon as we arrived we noticed students engaging with one another while dancing and talking. Although the event wasn’t filled to capacity I could tell everyone enjoyed just being around one another. But, I just couldn’t seem to enjoy the excitement. Watching everyone around me mingle and have a good time only made me miss my hometown more. It made me miss my family and friends more then I had before. These weren’t new thoughts that I had running through my head, they were old thoughts just being brought up again.
            Never would I have thought that I would appreciate my hometown and the people in my life as much as I do until I moved to Loyola. It’s the little things that I miss the most. And I’m ashamed to say that it took me months to understand. Did it really take seeing others having fun with their friends to make me miss mines? Yes, it did. I should have paid more attention to what was around me while I had the chance.
            Growing up as a child one of my older friends at my school use to tell me “You never know what you have until it’s gone.” And I thought about this quote while reading both “The Birthmark” and “The Yellow Wallpaper.” In both situations a male lover rejects and criticizes their significant other for reasons that didn’t quite make sense to me. By doing so they caused a tragic outcome. Although both stories didn’t say how the lovers felt after the outcome, I can surely imagine. In “The Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the male lover refuses to marry the girl he loves because of a birthmark on her face. He continues to tell her that he will remove the birthmark then marry her. During the procedure to take away the birthmark, something goes wrong and his lover dies. If he had appreciated her for who she was and looked beyond her birthmark, she would have still been there with him to engage in matrimony. Along with the lover in “The Yellow Wallpaper,” by Charlotte Perkins who rejected his wife. He continued to lock her in a room because of an illness he claimed she had. As time went on the narrator becomes insane and mentally disabled. If her lover did not belittle her and forbid her to do anything, this would not have happened. Although the lover in this story might not have wanted to appreciate his wife at least if he tried, things would have been a lot better.
            In conclusion, relating my appreciation to the appreciation in these stories might sound completely opposite. Now that I have learned to appreciate what I need to, I can go back and fix things. Unlike the men in these stories who can never turn back the clock. But, just like the speaker in “ I Wandered Lonely As a Child,” it took my mind time to wander before I could notice the important things. It is completely amazing to me how things can be right in front of us and we never even notice. But it is real life situations or events like the one I encountered on Friday that help people open their eyes and finally notice what was in front of them.