Homer’s series of poems in Iliad was not my favorite book that I read during high school. Unfortunately, during high school the story of Odysseus’s quest to return home, after the battle for Troy was won, was not told by Odds Bodkin. The idea of a lone figure on a quest is a main aspect of Romanticism, and this element is easily distinguished in Bodkin’s rendition of one of Odysseus’s journeys. Bodkins impeccable ability to: play the guitar, change voices, create sound effects, and memorize a four hour long story is but a few of the impressive abilities that he displayed last week.
One of Bodkin’s most notable abilities is the way he fluctuated his voice to isolate Odysseus from the other characters of the story, thus respecting the romanticism element of Homer’s original work. For example, Bodkin was able to alter the voice of Odysseus into a brawny and confident sounding man. This vocal portrayal of Odysseus helped the audience hear, and subconsciously imagine, how different Odysseus is portrayed in comparison to the rest of his men. In addition, when Bodkin needed to express Odysseus’s thoughts, he chose to do so in the form of a monologue. Each time Odysseus retreated into deep thought Bodkin would slightly change the tone of his voice of Odysseus into one that was deeper and darker. This slight change layered with the already pronounced voice of Odysseus stays true to the original work by highlighting how isolated Odysseus is from the rest of the characters.
In Charlotte Gilman’s short story, “Yellow Wallpaper” Gilman uses the protagonist’s obsession with the yellow wallpaper to eventually represent how isolated she becomes during the three months in the colonial estate. Similarly to Homer’s Iliad, the protagonist of the story becomes engrossed with her miniature quest to tear down the yellow wallpaper. This obsession begins to isolate her. For example, the protagonist believes that the “paper looks at me as if it knew what a vicious influence it had.” Later we see this obsession develop to the point that, “ she is gone, and the servants are gone, and the things are gone, and there is nothing left…” Gilman develops the protagonist into a character so deep in her own self pity, brought upon by her husband, that she eventually tears down the yellow wallpaper in an attempt to free the woman trapped inside, and herself. Gilman utilizes the isolated protagonist to suggest that isolation in its purest form is a self-destructive action.
William Wordsworth’s poem, “I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud” illustrates the sanctuary that the speaker finds when immersed in nature, and speaks to the therapeutic property that nature holds. For instance, “A poet could not but be gay, / In such a jocund company:/” is how Wordsworth describes the speaker’s emotions while watching the daffodils dance. This exuberance is continued when the speaker declares that, “In vacant or in pensive mood,/ They flash upon that inward eye/ Which is the bliss of solitude;/ And then my heart with pleasure fills,/ ” Wordsworth is able to convey a message about nature that is not commonly seen. Wordsworth highlights the peace that the speaker finds when engulfed by nature, and how the speaker’s experiences with nature are later utilized as a sanctuary when troubled or deep in thought.
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “The Birthmark” the imperfection that Aylmer finds in his wife ultimately illuminates the reader to the greed so often found in humans. Aylmer “found this one defect grow more and more intolerable every moment of their united lives.” This defect “which Nature, in one shape or another, stamps ineffaceably on all her products…” becomes Aylmer’s obsession. He becomes engrossed in his quest to eliminate this act of nature. In doing so he kills his love. Hawthorne, through displaying the death of Georgiana, helps the reader understand the dangers of greed. In addition, Hawthorne sends a message to the reader that attempts to highlight the destructive consequences of man’s attempt at altering a force of nature such as a birthmark.