Adam Johnson, a Loyola-sponsored guest speaker, spent forty-two minutes reading from his untitled work. He used his fictional works as a gateway to express and analyze his real life problems and emotions. As he began reading, his voice transformed the room from lively and lighthearted to a dark, eerie, futurist world that was closer to real life than I could have imagined. He wrote of disease and love using the future and unknown because these two things are timeless. For example, the narrator’s wife was paralyzed but still wanted a baby, and with the help of an “iProjector” and “droids” this could be seen as possible. The idea of a baby is a symbol of hope to their lives. Although at times the story felt random, the author presented the piece with enough power to support the work. The story read by Adam Johnson as well as the works, “I Wandered Lonely as Cloud”, “The Yellow Wallpaper” and “The Birthmark”, can be seen as universal tales of hope and power.
In the poem, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”, the narrator finds beauty in nature, which makes him content in his loneliness. In Adam Johnson’s story, the main character felt so lonely he had to talk to a holographic image of the recently assassinated president. Although this character is married, he feels as lonely in the world as the speaker does in the poem. They both turn to something inanimate to heal their sorrows. For example, in lines 16 and 17 of “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”, the speaker denounced “I gazed – and gazed – but little thought what wealth the show to me had brought”. The little things in nature filled the speaker with bliss, just as a holographic imagine opened the narrator’s mind to solutions to his problems in life. In “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” the symbol of hope is the nature that makes him happy.
In the short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper”, the narrator feels she is sick with something more than depression but her husband and brother, who are both physicians, dismisses her symptoms. This is similar to Adam Johnson’s reading, where the paralyzed wife suffered severe depression, and even seeked her husband in making a promise to kill her when the time was right. The husbands in both situations didn’t want to acknowledge the wives’ depression, in fear that it would become more of a reality than what they were trying to ignore. As a result, the women turn to something besides their husbands in order to cope with their conditions. In “The Yellow Wallpaper”, the speaker turns to writing in order to get out of her funk. In the reading, the paralyzed wife turns to listening to Nirvana, smoking pot, and looking through the eyes of the mechanical droid daily. In both stories, the husbands are the main caregivers and hold the power. In Adam Johnson’s story, the paralyzed wife is confined to her bed. In “The Yellow Wallpaper”, it is denounced by the narrator on page 392, “I lie here on this great immovable bed - it is nailed down, I believe- and follow the pattern about by the hour”. She is stuck in a room, left to her own depressed thoughts, which is the opposite of therapeutic. The patterns on the walls begin to talk to her, and are a symbol of hope in her despair. I began to wonder about the paralyzed women who fought hard to have hope. Adam Johnson did not read too much about the inside of her mind. Was she going through psychosis just as the other wife was?
The struggle of power can be seen in the short, “The Birthmark”. The husband expected his wife to be perfect and it became an obsession. On page 467, the husband denounces, “"Ah, upon another face perhaps it might" in regard to the birthmark on the wife’s face. It shows a lack of respect for his wife, because he should not be able to control if she gets an imperfection removed or not. Unlike the husband in Adam Johnson’s reading, who loves his wife still despite her paralysis, this husband puts himself first. An example of this can be seen on page 469, where the husband shows a lack of concern about the birth mark removal by stating, “I am convinced of the perfect practically of its removal". This shows that even though the wife is concerned for her health, the husband does not care and will never hear “no”. He feels he holds power of her by saying, “doubt not my power”, which means that because she is a women she is powerless. This is also opposite to the reading, where the wife wants a baby and even though he didn’t want one because both could die he still tried because this was a symbol of hope. In “The Birthmark”, the only symbol of hope is the idea that once the birthmark is removed, the husband will love the wife without fault.
The story read by Adam Johnson as well as the works, “I Wandered Lonely as Cloud”, “The Yellow Wallpaper” and “The Birthmark”, can be seen as universal tales of hope and power. Adam Johnson uses the idea of a new baby in light of his wife’s paralysis as a sign of hope. He takes care of his wife showing the power is equal. In “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” the hope is seen in nature, and the power is seen where he seeks the nature. In “The Yellow Wallpaper”, the husband holds the power because he locks her up. Hope is seen in the yellow walls and the tiny women, which guide the speaker to escape. In “The Birthmark”, the power is in the hands of the husband. Hope is seen in fixing the imperfection in order to save their love, which is unsuccessful.