Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Analysis Michael Waskiewicz

Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Birthmark" and Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper," all have a similar theme, which we have discussed in class.  Both of these works have the same theme of boundaries, or walls, that the speaker tries to overcome, from trying to remove a simple birthmark, or to dealing with one's sickness.

In "The Birthmark" Alymer has a big problem with his wife's birthmark.  He still loves her, but is so shallow that he leads to her death by trying to remove her birthmark.  Instead of loving her for who she is, he instead tries to remove the one imperfection that he sees in her to try and make her perfect.  Alymer's wife would not look the same without her birthmark, which is shaped as a small hand.  Alymer's shallowness in not seeing the beauty of God in his wife's birthmark leads to her death.  Alymer tries so many different things to remove his wife's birthmark, instead of just accepting her one defect and loving her for how beautiful she is.  They mention that the birthmark represents her soul, by saying that her soul faded away as her birthmark did.  Alymer was trying to overcome the wall of how he could not view his wife as perfect, although he wanted to.  When he gave Georgiana a kiss on her birthmark, he quivered.  Hawthorne's lesson in this piece is to accept something or someone for what they are, because it is usually not possible to change them, and in effect, you could ruin what you already have.

Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" is another piece that shows the main character trying to overcome a wall.  The first wall that the protagonist is trying to overcome is her illness.  She speaks of her husband, John, and says that he is a physician and does not believe that she is sick.  She knows that she is sick, but cannot get her husband to believe the same thing.  John brings her on vacation to help her try to recover from her illness.  While they are on vacation her sickness becomes worse.  She constantly complains that she wishes that she had more strength so that she could write, because she gets too tired too quickly.  Then the yellow wallpaper is another wall that the narrator tries to overcome.  She grew very fond of the wallpaper, and said that she could see things in it that other people could not see.  The walls took human forms later in the story, and eventually made her go really crazy, lock herself in the room, and try to creep around the room.  This was one of the many walls that the narrator had to overcome in Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper."

In both writings, the protagonists of the story had problems that could not be fixed.  In "The Birthmark," the attempt of trying to get rid of Georgiana's birthmark eventually led to her death, and in "The Yellow Wallpaper," the narrator's attempts to get past her own problems eventually led her to go crazier than she already was.  Both pieces of work were examples of boundaries, or walls, that the protagonist has to overcome, which we have previously discussed in class.

No comments: