A focus, an ambition, an obsession all have the ability to absorbs one’s thoughts, feelings, and actions. In The Birthmark, Nathaniel Hawthorne writes about a scientist and philosopher who can think of nothing else but a birthmark that sits on his wife’s cheek. In Charlotte Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper, the main character shifts to a woman obsessed with wallpaper in one of the rooms that she spends most of her time. There is a dark, sinister tone in both stories which contradicts with the light and airy feel of the poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” written by Williams Wordsworth. The poem has a different way of displaying the feelings of the speaker with an almost positive twist.
In The Birthmark, Aylmer, the scientist, obsesses over a birthmark on his wife’s, Georgiana, cheek. To any of other, the birthmark is part of her and admire the mark but Aylmer is dead set against it. After some convincing, Georgiana agrees to let Aylmer get remove the mark on her cheek. He appears giddy with joy and goes straight to work. He creates a potion that can simply wipe away freckles but he believes the birthmark needs something deeper, long lasting. She drinks one of Aylmer’s potion and sleeps. He watches her intensely and sees the birthmark fade. Aylmer is ecstatic and relieved to see the birthmark disappear. Georgiana wakes up pale and tells Aylmer not to feel bad about rejecting “the best the earth could offer” and then she dies. His potion failed and he loses his wife simple because he could not look past a small imperfection on his wife. The only question that remains is was it worth it?
The obsession turns from a birthmark to the wallpaper in a room of a house. The narrator is the wife of a doctor who appears ill. In order to get better she must refrain from working and writing which leaves her doing almost nothing. In order to keep busy she starts secretly writing in a journal about the house specific the yellow wallpaper in a room. The color is strange, some of the paper is torn off and there are scratches on the floor. Day by day the wallpaper becomes her obsession. She does not want anyone else looking at or studying it. The narrator begins to notice a woman in the wallpaper who appears to be trying to escape. The narrator describes the woman as “creeping” and apparently she shakes what appears to be the bars of a cage. The wallpaper controls the narrators thoughts and actions. She eventually begins biting and tearing down the paper so the woman behind can be free. She comes to the realization that she is trapped herself and when her husband comes in, he faints, and she is forced to creep over him. The narrator is consumed by this notion that there is something on the other side of the wall and she does not let anyone in to help her. In a way she doesn’t even want to be helped and this leads to her destruction.
A complete change in scenery is necessary when it comes to the poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”. At first the poem seems depressing since the speaker talks about wandering and being lonely. It is not until the speaker notices that “golden daffodils” that peace comes over. He describes the journey of the daffodils and how it is impossible to be unhappy while in the presence of the flower. Anytime the speaker is alone on his couch contemplating life, he thinks of the daffodils and is reminded of better things and his heart fills with pleasure and “dances with the daffodils”.
About three times a year for two years, I would make 100 bagged lunches with a club I was involved in and we would bring food and clothes to people who lived on the streets of Newark. The people knew when our group comes so they would line up just waiting to be fed and given clothes. I would stand behind a table asking what size shirt or jeans the person prefers and do the best I could to find the perfect match. There were two types of people I would associate with throughout the day; the person beyond grateful, repeating the words “God bless you” and the people who wanted nothing else to do with us. They grabbed what they wanted and walked away. This is where the connections to our readings came to play.
In no way could I judge their past in the minute that I interact with each of them but first impressions say a lot. The first group of people remind me of the speaker in the poem. They seem to accept their life but still have hope for the good in the world. They appear to be at peace and stay positive with their situation. The other end of the spectrum are the bitter people. Of course, they have every right to be bitter and act how they chose. It is possible that they are the reason they are where they are, though. It could of have been sudden craving, reaction, or instinct that put them in this position. A momentary lapse may have cause them to lose everything. Some of the people I associated with would come off so angry and almost preoccupied. I love being able to help, and most appreciate it, but sometime I feel as though some don’t want the help.
Everybody has there thing, the one thing they search for. Some choose to stay free and let it come as it may but others work and work until they reach it. In some cases this can be ones downfall, especially for the Aylmer and the narrator of The Yellow Wallpaper. The people are accept their life and are at peace are the ones who’s heart will “dance with the daffodils”.