Event Analysis #2
Rosemary Thompson, the director for the Murphy Initiative for Justice and Peace, understands the damaging effects of human trafficking. These horrible effects of slavery are seen in Hawthorne’s The Birthmark and Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper, however there is always hope, and this is illustrated in Wordsworth’s I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud. Mrs. Thompson explained that human trafficking is intrinsically wrong because it destroys freedom and limits a human being’s capacity to pursue happiness. A person, who suffers from any kind of slavery, suffers from a bondage that destroys the foundation of what it means to be human: freedom.
Mrs. Thompson spoke at the lecture entitled “Dignity of the Human Person” in Campus Ministry. She revealed to the astonished audience that human trafficking is still a major problem in the 21st century, both domestically and internationally. Mrs. Thompson revealed that Baltimore is also a major hub for human trafficking, and explained that at this moment there are more human slaves in world than there has ever been before. Billions of dollars are made through human trafficking, and no one is spared. Men, woman, and children are forced into prostitution, labor, and war. Mrs. Thompson’s lecture was a call to action. She told the audience that victims of human trafficking are trapped in bondage for decades, and sometimes their entire lives. She implored the audience to recognize how widespread the problem is, and to act to help victims who are afraid and do not know who to turn to.
The slavery that Rosemary talked about parallels the slavery observable in Hawthorne’s work The Birthmark. In this story, the scientist Aylmer obsesses over a tiny birthmark on his wife’s face. Aylmer sees the mark as the only obstacle to her perfect beauty, and the thought of its removal consumes him. His wife Georgiana is shocked and dismayed that her birthmark would cause her husband distress, so she becomes a slave to his idea of perfection. She submits her will completely to Aylmer and lets him remove the mark. However in giving up her will to him, she ultimately dies. The slavery Georgiana experienced is similar to human trafficking because she was completely subservient to her husband as victims are subservient to their masters. Slavery to another’s will is lethal.
Another type of slavery is seen in Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper. However in this case, the victim is a slave to her own mind. The speaker appears to suffer from a neurological disorder. Because of her madness, she develops a fascination with the yellow wallpaper in her room. However, this psychotic fascination destroys not only her marriage, but her mind as well. Like a victim of human trafficking, she has no freedom to think clearly for herself. She is trapped inside her own mind to dwell on the yellow wallpaper, and she unknowingly suffers from it.
But there is always hope. In Wordsworth’s I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, the poet describes how one can attain freedom in wonderful dreams. He explains that you don’t have to be stuck in this reality when you can dream up a better one. Perhaps that is what victims of human trafficking need the most: a dream of a better world. They need hope in a better life. They need to hope that the slavery, which suffocates their liberty, is not permanent and that justice will be served.