January 30, 2013
Blog Second Entry
“I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth, The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman all have a few similarities with each despite the fact that they are three different readings. Wordsworth talks about seeing an incredible sight that he will not forget and how serine the image was. Hawthorne tells the tale of a man who is trying to fix his “imperfect” wife but kills her in the process. Finally Charlotte Perkins Gilman talks about a lady who presumably has some mental dysfunction and how this lady changes throughout the story. While these stories may seem rather unique from one another they do have a general theme of the human mind and what we perceive as perfect. This also relates to the lecture that I attended which was entitled “Haiti Three Years Later”. The lecture discussed many of the issues facing the small island nation of Haiti three years after the devastation that took place due to an earthquake and numerous aftershocks. All of these ideas show that nothing is always perfect or can remain perfect for very long. Perfection cannot live for an extended period of time and as humans we need to work to achieve the small dosage of perfection we are seeking. The three readings and the lecture shed light on the fact that things will be destroyed either by nature or by fellow humans.
Mankind and nature both have tendencies to destroy things that are nearly perfect or the things that really are perfect cannot last for very long. Nathaniel Hawthorne exemplifies this beautifully in The Birthmark. The wife of a scientist has an “imperfection” on her left cheek which bothers the husband/scientist which then leads to it bothering the wife. In an attempt to remove the birthmark from the wife’s face her husband concocts numerous remedies but none of them seem to work. Finally upon numerous failed attempts the scientist uses his strongest concoction to “cure” her. The birthmark slowly begins to disappear and the scientist is incredibly pleased with himself but just minutes later his wife dies. Upon reading this story I made the assumption that the wife was nearly perfect otherwise the scientist would not have married her. It was this push for perfection that eventually went too far and it seemed that nature had a plan for the wife and she needed to live with that birthmark or not live at all. Similarly to Haiti, people are trying to help as much as they can with the wreckage and the rebuilding but by having so many people in this small country it is almost counterproductive. Too many people are confused as to what they need to do in order to truly help. The lecture about Haiti also led me to think about William Wordsworth’s poem. Wordsworth discusses an ideal and peaceful scene which he can only take with him in his memories. He references the fact that he looks back on the scene and his filled with joy to remember it. Being shown pictures of Haiti before the devastation that took place made me think of an ideal land which can now only be brought along in our memories. Hawthorne’s story and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s story have a connection as well. The lady in Yellow Wallpaper seems happy with her life within her own mind but others around her feel the need to fix her. The wife in The Birthmark seemed happy before her husband seemed focused on removing the mark on her face. Maybe human perfection is found within or our minds and what we think is perfect.
Each item discussed or read made me think of how people strive to be perfect all of the time and how many people are trying to live up to societies standards. If people want to be perfect than they need to live up to and exceed their own standards. The wife in Hawthorne’s story seemed pleased with her life and in her mind she was perfect and that is how many other people should try to live.