After reading the two short stories, “The Birthmark” and “The Yellow Wallpaper” along with the poem, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,” a specific theme of the importance and aspect of beauty was apparent throughout. Beauty is a powerful concept that can be portrayed and defined in infinite ways, three of which were exemplified in the readings.
First, with “The Birthmark” physical beauty and perfection are compared. Because Alymer had such an overwhelming distaste for the birthmark on his wife, Georgiana’s face, it greatly effected their lives. Alymer’s hatred for her birthmark caused she herself to in turn posses such hatred for the birthmark and for herself. Georgiana could not even look at her husband because of the embarrassment of her one physical flaw. I found this situation almost pathetic that two people can be so shallow that they cannot truly love each other because of just one physical imperfection. Although I do not doubt the love they had for one another, Georgiana’s birthmark should have been her uniqueness and thus cause Alymer to love her for who she was instead of this perfect being he so longed for her to be. Irony comes into play at the conclusion of the story when Alymer ends up killing his wife in attempt to save their marriage. I believe that this ending describes a deep meaning behind beauty in that it goes beyond just the physical aspect. The couple’s obsession over the birthmark prevented them from seeing the beautiful person Georgiana truly was on the inside.
“The Yellow Wallpaper” takes a completely different take on beauty with the journal of a woman struggling with post pardon depression. She becomes absolutely infatuated with the yellow wallpaper in the room she restricts herself to. At first, the woman obsesses over the hideousness and wretchedness of the wallpaper and vividly describes her distaste for the eye sore. This growing fascination with the wallpaper eventually and ironically is what gives her a reason to live day by day as she handles her feelings of depression. The horrible and ugly wallpaper eventually becomes the beauty and light in her life and strongly aids in her recovery.
Lastly, in Wordsworth’s “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,” a vivid description of daffodils is portrayed. The writer uses words such as shine, twinkle, bliss, and pleasure to paint an image of beauty in the reader’s mind. Imagery of starry nights and sparkling waves on a beach reveal the beauty of the poem. Such scenes as these are universally known for their natural beauty.
Whether it is physical beauty, mental beauty, or natural beauty, beauty is a concept that continues to be analyzed, described, and written about. Beauty will always be something that mesmerizes readers time and time again.