Wednesday, September 19, 2007


In each of the three readings the authors all touch upon the idea of beauty and the different and sometimes unique forms it may take on. Each author implores their readers to find beauty everywhere because it exists wherever you look for it.
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark,” beauty is examined skin deep, literally. The central character, Aylmer, finds that his wife, Georgina, would be perfect if not for a small birthmark on her cheek. He becomes obsessed with the idea that its presence somehow mars her otherwise flawless beauty. After much debate, he finally convinces her to have it removed. Aylmer realizes too late that his wife’s “imperfection” was actually the essence of her beauty. It was what made her, her. Hawthorne is encouraging readers to not only look past imperfections, but to see that true beauty that lies within them.
In Charlotte Perkins Gilman “The Yellow Wallpaper,” this idea is also carried through. Gilman suffers from a condition that forces her to remain indoors. While inside the room where she spends most of her time, she writes about her surroundings, vividly describing the yellow wallpaper which seems to cover every inch of the space. At first Gilman resents the wallpaper and feels like she is trapped within its grasp. By the end, however, her opinion drastically changes. She is able to look beyond its unsightly exterior and see what others can not see; beauty.
In William Wordsworth’s “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” the speaker is able to see the simple things in life and recognize its beauty. This text differs from the previous two in that the speaker chooses to see beauty. Unlike the fiction pieces, the speaker does not need to be taught that beauty can be found everywhere, he is already aware of this. He is telling us that although there is ugliness in the world, we must take a moment to appreciate the beauty that is all around us; nature.
I believe that what each of these texts describes can easily be applied to service within our community. We must not be as foolish as Gilman was in “The Yellow Wallpaper.” So often we judge others based on appearances, but if we give our subject enough time we will be able to see it’s true beauty and unique qualities. We must also not feel like these unique qualities are flaws the way Aylmer found his wife’s birthmark unattractive in “The Birthmark.” We must see these things as characteristics that make each person who they are. Lastly, we must also appreciate the beauty that already exists that way the speaker in “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” did. He took the time to appreciate the beauty that others take for granted. In the same way we must appreciate the beauty in those around us and take the time to tell them what it is that makes them beautiful. In each of these texts the central character understands that they should never miss the forest for the trees; beauty exists everywhere, if we just take the time to look for it.

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