Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark,” Charlotte Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper,” and William Wordsworth’s “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” are literary works that express our human interactions with nature. They range from vile to completely appreciative. We witness mans failure to recognize beauty within nature, mans failure to listen to nature, and the unity we all have with nature. “The Birthmark” is significant because it takes a human characteristic bestowed by nature and expresses mans inability to accept it, even on the woman he loves who dies because of this. “The Yellow Wallpaper” shows a misunderstanding of a sick wife because the husband is incapable of separating business from personal, and not just letting love alone be enough to listen, which leads to her ultimate seclusion from the real world. Something is left for inspiration in “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” which reminds us that what is natural alone can fill us with joy; we just have to be willing to let it flood our minds. Service and nature go hand in hand. It is something that can come naturally. We just need to be there to accept and listen, so do the husbands in two of these passages. We need to be more like the narrator in the poem and discover that our place is within nature, not judging and viewing it from the outside in. Just like how I believe my place is doing service, not standing on the sidelines.
“You have rejected the best the earth could offer.” These were the last words Georgiana said to her husband, Aylmer before she died in “The Birthmark.” Her beauty was so abundant; a mere blemish from birth prevented only her husband from seeing. He was a man too preoccupied with science and trying to play the role only a higher-being should. We see this through the various experiments he shows Georgiana in his lab, experiments on creation and eternal life. Aylmer is not such person to let nature run its course and his actions lack morality.
In “The Yellow Paper” we something that I think it would be safe to characterize as almost a dialogue of one’s inner thoughts and how she feels about those she comes into contact with. The narrator, who is never named goes completely mad in a house with her husband, John, who restricts her from doing the very things that might do her the most good. She tells us that she begins writing to us to relieve herself from this, in “spite of them.” We see the stages of her illness get worse with the more time she becomes preoccupied with the wallpaper in the bedroom. John is her husband and a doctor but we see a failure in the persona of a husband to listen to his wife’s concerns. It is mentally that she begins to deteriorate because John encourages her so much to keep her thoughts, her imagination pent up inside. If this was not so, would things have been different?
The speaker in “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” recalls a time when he himself was one with nature. He did nothing but enjoy it, no judgments, just admiration. This poem makes you smile because think about it, a man lying on his couch thinking of memories and the one that comes to mind in solitude is a happy “dancing with daffodils” scene. He embraces these natural thoughts.
Doing service in the community is something that makes me very content with my life. I could be in the worst of moods, but being welcomed somewhere with smiling faces and being depended upon to bring happiness in return changes that. It is natural, I don’t think I control it, it just happens like that. Have you ever “intended” on holding a grudge, but naturally forget? You end up back best friends with the person the next day and realize two weeks later “dang I forgot about that.” Well, that’s kind of what happens with bringing bad emotions to service, you forget. At service, if you are doing it right, you are not letting any bad influences filter through, for you want it to be the best experience for them as it is for you. You are there to help and listen, not to assess the state of someone’s life. I feel that these passages show the spectrum of how we, as humans, deal with things that happen naturally.