Wednesday, September 19, 2007


In today’s judgmental world, everyone’s definition of beauty is different. Some see beauty as something that is within, while some see it as merely what is on the outside. Sadly, many opinions are persuaded and created by someone else other than ones self. In the three works, “The Birthmark”, “The Yellow Wallpaper”, and “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”, it is evident how someone can or cannot distract your definition of beauty.
In “The Birthmark”, beauty is judged by outward appearance. When a doctor, Aylmer, becomes obsessed with a tiny birthmark on his wife’s, Georgiana’s, cheek, he slowly persuades her to remove the barely there mark. Her whole life, Georgiana has seen the birthmark as a blessing from a fairy, which she received at birth. Day by day, Aylmer convinces her that she will be perfect once he removes this “flaw”, and together, they become obsessed with the removal. In this story by Hawthorne, we can see how one’s opinion of beauty can change because of the persuasion or distraction of someone else’s view.
Like in “The Birthmark”, the true definition of physical beauty is discussed. Just as Aylmer was focused on the physical appearance of his wife, the narrator in “The Yellow Wallpaper” was automatically convinced that the wall was ugly because of the smelly, discolored, imperfect wallpaper. Her feelings were so strong because of the way society has convinced us that the physical appearance is what’s important. As she spends days and days in the secluded room, she begins to feel a connection with the wall. Soon, it becomes beautiful to her, not because of how it looks, but because of the way it begins to make her feel. Even though the lady is psychotic, she lets herself form her own opinion of what is beautiful and dismisses the judgment of its physical appearance.
The speaker in “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” is able to judge nature’s beauty because of the combination of how it makes him feel and on what he sees. Unlike the characters in the other pieces, he does not let anything divert him from what he feels is beautiful. Although the speaker is lonely and depressed, he does not let his emotions distract him while looking for beauty, and tries not to speak of the negativity in the world. He focuses on the magnificence of nature and rules out anything ugly for the time being.
In all three works, it is apparent that people base their judgments of beauty on different things, whether it is appearance or feelings, and that people’s opinions can be easily influenced by others. We must realize that if we feel strongly about something, we cannot let someone else change our feelings and passion about it. We have to stay focused on how we feel, what we want, and let no one distract us.

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