Essay on The Birth Mark By Nathaniel Hawthorne

Essay on The Birth Mark By Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birth-Mark” is a short story about mankind’s rocky journey for perfection. The story analyzes the relationship between Aylmer, an educated scientist, and his nearly flawless wife, Georgiana. Unfortunately, no matter how beautiful Georgiana is, Aylmer continuously strives for her to be even more beautiful regardless of consequences. Stuck on a single imperfection, Aylmer cannot look past one blemish on her face, ultimately ignoring the beauty Georgiana still has. Nathaniel Hawthorne uses symbolism, irony, and point of view within “The Birth-Mark” to portray the negative effects of gaining absolute perfection and science versus nature.
There is an immense amount of symbolism within “The Birth-Mark”; a prime example of this is the birthmark on Georgiana’s face. ‘“Georgiana," said he, "has it never occurred to you that the mark upon your cheek might be removed?"’ (Hawthorne 291). The reason Aylmer says he wants her birthmark removed is because it symbolizes mortality and thus imperfection. Aylmer believes that if he can use his potion to remove the birthmark the process will result in Georgiana becoming perfectly beautiful. Aylmer believes that when she becomes aesthetically perfect she will be granted eternal life. Aylmer’s utter hatred towards the birthmark symbolizes his fear of death. Furthermore, hand-shaped birthmark disappears when she blushes, however, when she is pale or surprised the birthmark stands out. The narrator states “As he led her over the threshold of the laboratory, Georgiana was cold and tremulous. Aylmer looked cheerfully into her face, with intent to reassure her, but was so startled with the intense glow of the birthmark upon the whiteness of her cheek that he could not restrain a...


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...'s liability to sin, sorrow, decay, and death...” (Hawthorne 292). The narrator explains to the reader what the crimson hand on Georgiana’s face means to Aylmer. That in Aylmer’s eyes the crimson hand means death and decay and furthermore the mortality of his wife. As a scientist and perfectionist, Aylmer feels compelled to exterminate his wife’s natural birthmark.
All in all Nathaniel Hawthorne uses symbolism, irony, and point of view within “The Birth-Mark” to portray the themes of perfection and science versus nature. Hawthorne uses symbolism in the shape of a crimson hand shaped birthmark to show Georgiana’s possible future mortality caused by science. As well as irony in his quotes that foreshadow Georgiana’s future caused by her own husband. Further on, Hawthorne utilizes a third person narrator to make sure the reader understands the abundance of symbolism

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Essay on The Birth Mark By Nathaniel Hawthorne

- Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birth-Mark” is a short story about mankind’s rocky journey for perfection. The story analyzes the relationship between Aylmer, an educated scientist, and his nearly flawless wife, Georgiana. Unfortunately, no matter how beautiful Georgiana is, Aylmer continuously strives for her to be even more beautiful regardless of consequences. Stuck on a single imperfection, Aylmer cannot look past one blemish on her face, ultimately ignoring the beauty Georgiana still has. Nathaniel Hawthorne uses symbolism, irony, and point of view within “The Birth-Mark” to portray the negative effects of gaining absolute perfection and science versus nature....   [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Short story, Narrator]

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