Preview
Preview

Noble Love in The Birthmark Essay

:: 5 Works Cited
Length: 1723 words (4.9 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Blue      
Open Document
Need writing help? Check your paper »



- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Noble Love in The Birthmark 


    Often billed as a story of an unsuccessful attempt to beat Nature at her own game, “The Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne certainly lends itself to a somewhat deeper interpretation.  Over the years many scholars have noted that the story of Aylmer and Georgiana is riddled with traditional Hawthorne themes such as the evils of selfishness and pride, coupled with an element of solitariness (Arvin xvi).  However, we are want to consider whether Aylmer’s motives in this story are purely selfish.  Does this man perhaps deserve a touch of human sympathy?  

With blazingly obvious symbolism, clearly defined by the author himself, the reader can choose to take the tale for what it seems to be, a purely selfish experiment gone awry.  Yet, it seems as though Hawthorne was sympathetic to his man of science, leaving open for discussion the idea that love did exist in this sordid world of tiny hands and test tubes.  Although it is at times ambiguous, the tone of the story seems to point to just this idea.  Of it Richard Fogle writes:

“…Hawthorne’s attitude is so removed and imperturbable that nothing in the story can be taken simply; in “The Birthmark” he reaches his furthest rage of disengagement” (Fogle 118).  It is through the intellectual and moral development of Georgiana, not the scientists own actions or words, that the reader comes to understand that although twisted in his methods, Aylmer does possess a kind of “noble” love.

            When the story opens, we are told that “an experience of spiritual affinity more attractive than any chemical one” has caused “a man of science” to take leave of his laboratory and be married.  The narrator also tells the reader it was not unusual, in ...


... middle of paper ...


...horne 165).  Wife-less and left only with his hairy apprentice, Aylmer can at least rest assured that he “aimed loftily” and acted “nobly.”

 

Works Cited

Arvin, Newton.  Introduction.  Hawthorne’s Short Stories.  Ed. Newton Arvin.                    New York: Vintage Books, 1946. v-xvii.

 

Fogle, Richard Harter.  Hawthorne’s Fiction: The Light and The Dark.          Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1964. 117-31

 

Fossum, Robert H.  Hawthorne’s Inviolable Circle: The Problem of Time.  Florida:      Everett/Edwards Inc, 1972. 77-79

 

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “The Birthmark.”  Hawthorne’s Short Stories. Ed. Newton Arvin.  New York: Vintage Books, 1946. 147-65.

 

Stein, William Bysshe. Hawthorne’s Faust: A Study of the Devil Archetype.  New York: Archon Books, 1968. 91-92

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »







This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
Essay on Obsessing About Perfection in The Birthmark - The birthmark is a compelling story of one man’s obsession with his scientific ability to produce perfection. Aylmer, a scientist, is married to a Georgiana who is a very beautiful woman. Not long after getting married Georgiana’s birthmark, which is in the shape of a tiny handprint on her check, really begins to bother Aylmer. He sees it as a flaw in an other wise perfect woman. Georgiana knows that her birthmark disgusts him and, having grown up not bother at all by it, begins to hate it herself....   [tags: The Birthmark]
:: 5 Works Cited
999 words
(2.9 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Human Imperfection Illustrated in Hawthorne's The Birthmark Essay example - It is hard to say that one is human and perfect at the same time. Human beings are not capable of achieving perfection; if that would be so, humans would stop being humans. By nature the human race is full of flaws, some appearing as early as in the womb. From defects in the body, to defects in the mind, to the mistakes that one makes in quotidian life, it is impossible to deny that human imperfection exists. To try to manipulate humans into perfection is not only impossible, but it takes away the very essence of being a human being....   [tags: The Birthmark] 900 words
(2.6 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Birthmark: Understanding The Birthmark Essay - The story’s tone is one of romantic controversy, a dilemma at a high level of existence.  The scientist’s love for his craft competes very intensively with his newfound love for his wife.  It is also very psychological, strictly dealing with the raw mind of its subjects as if the ominous narrator told the story from inside their mind, rather than observe it from the outside.  He describes the processes that one may take to reach a certain degree of knowledge and to find the elixir of life, which is described in this story as the ultimate goal of the scientific community.  Also, the narrator is very opinionated about events in the story.              Georgiana is a fine wife, and a seemin...   [tags: Birthmark Essays] 846 words
(2.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Women in The Birthmark Essay - “The Birthmark” – Women                “Everything he has to say is related, finally, to ‘that inward sphere.’ For the heart is the meeting-place of all the forces – spiritual and physical, light and dark, that compete for dominance in man’s nature. . . .” (McPherson 68-69). McPherson’s “heart” is the key to understanding the role of women in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s tale, “The Birthmark.”   Only imperfection is what nearsighted Aylmer sees in the birthmark on Georgiana’s cheek. But he is unfortunately oblivious to  the virtue in her soul, the deep beauty contained in the depth of her love for him....   [tags: Birthmark Essays]
:: 5 Works Cited
2061 words
(5.9 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
The Birthmark Essay: External and Internal Conflict in The Birthmark - External and Internal Conflict in “The Birthmark”               This essay will analyze Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark” to determine the external and internal conflicts in the tale.   In the opinion of this reader, the central conflicts in the tale – the relation between the protagonist and antagonist usually (Abrams 225) – are the external one between Aylmer and Georgiana over the birthmark on her cheek, and internal ones within Georgiana between love and self-interest and alienation, and within Aylmer regarding scientific good and evil, success and failure....   [tags: Birthmark Essays]
:: 6 Works Cited
2095 words
(6 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on the Angel of a Woman in The Birthmark - Angel of a Woman in “The Birthmark”              Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, “The Birthmark,” contains a wonderful example of the perfect wife. This essay will develop that theme.   In the opening paragraph of “The Birthmark” the narrator introduces Aylmer as a scientist who “had made experience of a spiritual affinity more attractive than any chemical one.” Hawthorne’s description of the scientist’s love for Georgiana is apt, for love is just that – spiritual. And the theme of this tale is a spiritual one....   [tags: Birthmark Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
1758 words
(5 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on the Woman Protagonist in The Birthmark - Woman Protagonist in “The Birthmark”             In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, “The Birthmark,” the reader finds an excellent example of a woman who is so superior to her male counterpart that she has to be labeled the protagonist of the tale. This essay will demonstrate why this designation is deserved by the female character, Georgiana.   In the opening paragraph of “The Birthmark” the narrator introduces Aylmer as a scientist whose love for Georgiana is “more attractive than any chemical one.” And indeed, he is such a passionate scientist that everything meaningful in his life has to be related to science....   [tags: Birthmark Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
1859 words
(5.3 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
The Fate of Women in The Birthmark Essay - The Fate of Women in “The Birthmark”                Wilson Sullivan in “Nathaniel Hawthorne” in New England Men of Letters states that Nathaniel Hawthorne’s tale, “The Birthmark,” depicts the efforts “of a deranged scientist to obtain total perfection” in  his wife by removal of a facial blemish. In this story the scientist operates on the superficial level of the physical world, while the woman, the truly heroic woman, functions on the level of the heart and soul, the more significant level....   [tags: Birthmark Essays]
:: 10 Works Cited
2410 words
(6.9 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
The Birthmark: A Psychological Short Story Essay - “The Birthmark” – a Psychological Short Story          Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark” may require a psychoanalyst to properly interpret because it is indeed a “psychological” short story in its themes and approach to character portrayal - and this essay will amply demonstrate these assertions. Henry Seidel Canby in “A Skeptic Incompatible with His Time and His Past” talks about the value of Hawthorne’s “literary psychology”: This irreverent generation [of the 1950’s] has mocked at Hawthorne’s struggling souls who torture themselves over peccadilloes like adultery and are morally wrecked by obsessions that (so it is assumed) any good psychoanalyst could remove....   [tags: Birthmark Essays]
:: 12 Works Cited
3335 words
(9.5 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
The Birthmark Essay: The Theme - “The Birthmark” – The Theme                 In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s tale, “The Birthmark,” the dominant theme is love conquering self, though there is also present the theme of alienation resulting from the evil within mankind. This essay intends to explore, exemplify and develop this topic.   Hyatt Waggoner in “Nathaniel Hawthorne” states:   Alienation is perhaps the theme he handles with greatest power. “Insulation,” he sometimes called it – which suggests not only isolation but imperviousness....   [tags: Birthmark Essays]
:: 6 Works Cited
2079 words
(5.9 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]