Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Integrating Stories Purposes with their Titles

Integrating Stories Purposes with their Titles
            In Hawthorne, Gilman, and Wordsworth’s works a common theme of vivid imagery that perfectly captivates the work’s titles is beautifully woven into each individual work. Hawthorne paints the vivid image of this said birthmark as a “… mark [that] wore a tint of deeper crimson, which imperfectly defined its shape amid the surrounding rosiness.” [1] Gilman eloquently reasons with the reader that this said yellow wallpaper is so captivating that a woman is driven mad by analyzing it. And finally Wordsworth is so enamored by the visions he sees as he wonders that every time he feels pensive he thinks of the beauty of nature he saw while wandering. Each of these titles is thoroughly and carefully explained throughout the stories and allows the reader to see a meaning for the title.
            In Wordsworth’s “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” he so clearly depicts the scenery that surrounds him that one would wish that you were wondering alone in their journey in order to appreciate the true value of nature’s beauty.  When he explains the daffodils as “beside the lake, beneath the trees, fluttering and dancing in the breeze,” [2] these images are so vividly described that just as Wordsworth can recall them a reader could also imagine such beauty. His simplistic yet beautiful description of the flowers allows images to flourish in the reader’s imagination however they are not overwhelmed. Wordworth’s “bliss of solitude…”[3] seems to explain that although he may be wandering alone that does not mean he isn’t content. His loneliness allows him to see the deeper beauty in things rather then get caught up in his company. His visions leave such an impression on his journey that he can so vividly recall them that it gives him pleasure. His ability to recall also gives us insight into the title because just as the clouds can keenly overlook and see the beauty of nature he can as well. Wordsworth captivates the true beauty of nature, which normally humans cannot but suggests that maybe that is how nature can see itself- hence the simile comparing him to a cloud.
            Hawthorne’s meaning of the “The Birthmark” may seem obvious to a reader; however it appears that the birthmark represents more than just a physical mark upon Georgiana’s cheek. Hawthorne seems to suggest that the birthmark actually represents mortality and the beauty of imperfection in nature. However, Aylmer disagrees and becomes engaged in the idea her scar is “the symbol of his wife’s liability to sin, sorrow, decay, and death…” [4] Aylmer’s repulsion towards his wife scar seems to represent his fear of death and facing the flaws in not only nature but in life. It seems also serve as a reminder of how Aylmer has quite unsuccessfully discovered anything he had originally sought to learn in his scientific projects. Eventually, this birthmark turns out to not be an imperfection in Georgiana but an imperfection in her husband who seems unable to accept the fact that all things must die despite one’s best effort to remain immortal- especially Aylmer’s. And despite the simplicity of the title, Hawthorne is able to craft a beautiful deeper meaning into a simple birthmark that is place upon one of his characters faces.
            The yellow wallpaper, featured in Gilman’s short story, symbolism changes as the narrator’s mental state progresses throughout the work. Remaining as one of the central symbols through and through it develops from the beginning of the short story. Gilman’s narrator gives personal insight as to what the wallpaper looks like as she continually writes in her forbidden journal. The wallpaper’s meaning to her changes just as its symbolism does throughout the work. Originally the narrator looks upon the wallpaper as distasteful and repulsive but it comes to be an obsession for the narrator. As her mental state increasingly depletes she sees the wallpaper as much more than a simple wall covering. Her depleted mental sanity creates a women running in the wallpaper that wants to escape which eventually causes her to rip the wallpaper off and going completely mad. The title seems to be simple but when you realize the effect that the yellow wallpaper actually had on the narrator you realize that there is much more symbolism then a simple wall decoration.
            Each one of these authors, ranging from Wordsworth to Gilman creates a beautiful story out of a simple title. Their imagery captivates the readers mind and imagination with few words and eloquently ties the reasoning behind a title. This is similar to how one image can trigger a flood of emotion during mediation. With simple phrases your imagination can run wild and you are able to connect so many things with simple words. Mediation allows for a connection to mind and body through your own images just as these authors have provided connection to their works through their titles.

[1] Hawthorne, Nathaniel. "The Birthmark." In Worlds of Fiction, edited by Roberta
     Rubenstein and Charles R. Larson, 466-77. Upper Saddle River, NJ:
     Prentice-Hall Inc., 1993.
[2] Wordsworth, William. "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud." 1807. In Poetry an
     Introduction, compiled by Michael Meyer, 635. Seventh ed. Boston, MA:
     Bedford/ St. Martin's, 2013.
[3] Ibid.
[4] “The Birthmark”

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