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Analysis of The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

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Analysis of The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Although “The Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne was written in the mid-1800s, its themes and ideas are still a part of society today. The 19th century was a time of change, just as this, the millennium, is a time of great change. Hawthorne’s ideas about science, beauty, and life still play a major part in our lives, despite many improvements. Even today, people try to play “God” and change things that nature has put in place. It’s human curiosity; how much can be changed, how many things can be perfected? The themes in this short story-- religion, gender, and science--were relevant in Hawthorne’s day, and still are many years later. The theme of religion is hidden in the desire to erase the birthmark. In trying to “perfect” Georgiana, Aylmer is testing God’s creation. He doesn’t believe that how God created Georgiana is perfect, and he is obsessive about making her his idea of perfection. Aminadab, Aylmer’s servant, tries to tell his master to leave the birthmark alone. He tells Aylmer that if Georgiana were his wife, he wouldn’t worry about something so trivial. However, the scientific ideas on Aylmer’s mind won’t let him forget the birthmark. He believes he can remove it with the help of science. Even so, science has no part in creation, according to Hawthorne, and Georgiana’s death after the removal of the birthmark signifies that theory. Her death is Hawthorne’s way of showing that judgment and perfection are God’s duti...


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