Dylan Liguori 9/19/13
Small Details, Big Problems
The short stories “The Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and the poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth convey the message that simple and minute things can really rearrange how one thinks about life in general. The Zen meditation relates to these two short stories and one poem in perfect fashion. Zen meditation is about releasing all of the garbage that has infested our heads and helps to perform these practices to help with everything you do. Taking all of these writings into consideration the main lesson that comes out of this is that forming your foundation and not letting small hindrances affect your ultimate goals, will allow you to strive for greatness.
In “The Birthmark” we see the “perfect woman”, Georgiana has a tiny flaw which is a tiny red hand on the cheek of her face which her husband is overwhelmed by to get rid of. His reasoning for it is that he has been bestowed with this almost perfect woman and Aylmer believes is must be removed because that is what was intended. In the process of the removal of the birthmark, Georgiana dies and now Aylmer is left with a dead wife over one measly imperfection. If Aylmer was to go to Zen meditation and practice it for a few weeks, he would most likely not even worry about a little problem as such. While he could have been furthering his relationship with an almost angel like human, he strived to make a small problem which did not matter much disappear.
The short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” is very similar to “The Birthmark” but has a few differences which affect the outcome of each story. In this story the wife is proclaimed mentally ill and is forbidden to write until she is well at health. The husband and herself rent a house and she displays her disgust with the room and especially the decrepit, yellow wallpaper all too often. Every so often, the wife tells her husband who is a doctor about the problems she experiences with the room and other daily routines such as eating, but he insists that is just part of her mental issues. Eventually, all these problems induce complete insanity and that is basically how it ends. Meditation relaxes your mind and helps you to focus on well nothing. This will in theory help you focus on other things more intensely and not have your mind run wild. In relation to the short story I don’t think meditation would help because if a mad woman such as herself were to try and focus on nothing and see no problems with anything, well it would not work to any extent.
William Wordsworth captures the simplicity of the daffodils, but also captures the essence of beauty and the effect it has on himself viewing it as a “lonely cloud”. He states not directly from the text but implied, that whenever he is tired, restless, or bored he can think of this field of daffodils to relax and soothe his mind to help comfort himself in a time for comforting. The person running the Zen meditation told us that this will not be the only time we can empty our minds, but a reminder of what we have the power to do in a time of need. This poem is the complete opposite of the messages in the two short stories. The short stories took something simple and created something too big to handle and led to their demise. With the poem, the author takes a simple image in his head, a beautiful image, and he lets it help guide him through times of despair and other unresolved problems.
Zen meditation connects these three pieces of writing in almost a seamless way. The conclusions drawn from these works really do show how simple things can be taken advantaged of and how people prosper from them, and on the other side of the coin how a small detail of disgust can be detrimental to the way you want things to end up.