Essay about Birthday Mark by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Essay about Birthday Mark by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Length: 1138 words (3.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The discovery of electricity opened the door to many mysteries that challenged scientists of the nineteenth century. Nathaniel Hawthorne writes of some challenges that man could run into during the exploration and application of new technology in The Birthmark. These challenges are not entirely physical but they are more so about an internal struggle within Victorian mindsets. In The Birthmark there are only three characters: Aylmer, a scientist, Georgiana, Aylmer’s wife, and Aminadab, Aylmer’s lab assistant. Hawthorne isolates the characters in their caste to present individual viewpoints of a tragic flaw. Each character promotes innocence but they are caught up in traditional values. Hawthorne writes of an honest but fatal mistake made through an evil obsession, a symbolic caste, and an irony on multiple levels to challenge the reader’s view of good and evil through the innocent façade.
Obsession can bring about both innocence and evil. Aylmer discovers its evil aspects but only when it was too late. Hawthorne describes him as “a man of science, an eminent proficient in every branch of natural philosophy” (289). His motive to discover, power, and create nature took over his life. Although he persuades Georgiana to marry him and he seems nothing short of a loving husband, his interest in her is not of the norm intentions. Aylmer’s motives show that he is more interested in “…a perfect god-like power” for himself more than anything else (Keetley 18). When he first met Georgiana, he fell in love with an idea. He saw a perfect bride with the exception of a hand shaped birthmark on her cheek. Aylmer became obsessed with the idea of removing it. Shortly after they were married he first reveals his thoughts on the bi...

... middle of paper ...

...rch 2014.

Not used in Works Cited:
Weinstein, Cindy. “The Invisible Hand Made Visible: “The Birth-Mark.” Nineteenth-Century Literature 48.1 (1993): 44-73. JSTOR. Web. 18 June 2012.
Fetterley, Judith. "Women Beware Science: 'The Birthmark.'." Critical Essays on Hawthorne's Short Stories. Ed. Albert J. von Frank. Boston, Mass.: G. K. Hall & Co., 1991. 164-172. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism. Ed. Rachelle Mucha and Thomas J. Schoenberg. Vol. 89. Detroit: Gale, 2006.Literature Resource Center. Web. 18 June 2012.
Thompson, W. R. “Aminadab in Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark.” Modern Language Notes, 70.6 (1955): 413-415. JSTOR. Web. 25 June 2012.
Lawson, Kate, and Lynn Shakinovsky. "A Frightful Object." Marked Body: Domestic Violence in Mid-nineteenth-century Literature. N.p.: State University of New York, 2002. 23-39. EBook Collection EBSCOhost. Web. 17 June 2012.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

The Puritans Of Today 's Society Essay examples

- ... L. Mencken). It 's safe to say that we still have the same judgmental and worried attitude today as the puritans did back in 1600’s. One of the major fears that we (puritans and modern Americans) share is the fear of contamination. We fear contamination of all varieties, food, health, as well as our conscience. We can find examples of this in the article An example of this in today 's society is in an article written by Mark Oppenheimer called “The New Puritans”. In this article Mark talks about the new alleged “liberals” are actually just modern purists....   [tags: Puritan, The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]

Strong Essays
929 words (2.7 pages)

Essay on The Birth Mark By Nathaniel Hawthorne

- ... 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 strong convulsive shudder” (Hawthorne 294)....   [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Short story, Narrator]

Strong Essays
801 words (2.3 pages)

Essay on The Birth Mark By Nathaniel Hawthorne

- In the short story, “The Birth-Mark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, we get to experience the lengths of which someone will go to achieve perfection. But, in the case of this story, this perfection is not a goal for themselves but in someone else. Aylmer is a highly respected man that has delved into many regions of science and his wife, Georgiana, would be considered a classically ideal woman except for one thing, the birth-mark that stains her left cheek. Aylmer’s obsession with his wife’s perfection leads the couple down a very dangerous path intermingling loving devotion and the misuse of science for one’s selfish desires....   [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Short story, Perfection]

Strong Essays
827 words (2.4 pages)

The Birth Mark By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- Nathaniel Hawthorne (born July 4, 1804, Salem, Mass. — died May 19, 1864, Plymouth, NH) is an American novelist and short-story writer who was an expert of the allegorical and symbolic story. One of the best fiction essayists in American writing, he is best known for "The Scarlet Letter" (1850) and "The House of the Seven Gables" (1851). "The Birth-Mark" is a mental thriller short story composed by Nathaniel Hawthorne. (Reference book Britannica. 2016) It was distributed first in 1843 in the March version of The Pioneer literary journal....   [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Short story, The Old Manse]

Strong Essays
1215 words (3.5 pages)

Nathaniel Hawthorne 's The Birth Mark Essays

- In the short story written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, “The Birth-Mark,” describes a conflict going on between a husband and his wife. A man by the name Aylmer has a burning passion for science, but has managed to put his experiments aside long enough to marry a young, beautiful woman named Georgiana. Georgiana has a little birth-mark on her cheek, which bothers Aylmer enough to the point where he wants to remove it, with the help of his under worker Aminadab. Aylmer will do anything in the name of science, although Aminadab disapproves, leading to the death of his wife Georgiana....   [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Short story, Nature, Fiction]

Strong Essays
1088 words (3.1 pages)

Emotional Challenges in Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlett Letter" and Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"

- The authors of the amazing books The Scarlett Letter (Nathaniel Hawthorne) and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain) both take the reader through a journey of how society plays such a huge role in the everyday life of the people living within these time periods. Both authors give you clips of the emotional challenges which the characters encounter throughout the entire story in order to give you a feel of being placed in their shoes and overcoming the obstacles which they are confronted with....   [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Scarlett Letter, Mark Twain, ]

Strong Essays
608 words (1.7 pages)

Symbols Of The Birthmark By Nathaniel Hawthorn Essay

- Miranda Kellerhals ENG: 13091 Fiction Analysis 8 April 2016 Symbols for Everyone In every story, poem, play, and movie symbolism is present. Symbols help the reader understand the story and their characters. Often times the symbols bring a deeper meaning to a story or poem. In The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorn there are many symbols that bring the reader to the deeper meaning of the story. This story is about a man and woman who get married. The woman is perfect except for the small birthmark on her cheek....   [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Symbol, The Birth-Mark]

Strong Essays
1678 words (4.8 pages)

Nathaniel Hawthorne 's Rappaccini 's Daughter And The Birth Mark Essay

- Microcosm and allusion are both exceedingly important in writing even today, and Nathaniel Hawthorne was able to execute this greatly in many of his short stories. In this essay we will be focussing on two of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short stories, “Rappaccini’s Daughter” and “The Birth-Mark”, in which there is a multitude of examples of both microcosm and allusions. In “Rappaccini’s Daughter” the main microcosm is that Rappaccini’s garden represents the garden of Eden. Nathaniel Hawthorne presents this both literally and figuratively within the text....   [tags: Short story, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Garden of Eden]

Strong Essays
902 words (2.6 pages)

The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- Throughout the infamous novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the reader is met with a lot of symbolism, from the rosebush to the scaffold and of course the most obvious symbol of them all, the scarlet letter “A”. While the most evident meaning or symbolism behind the scarlet letter “A” is that it stands for adultery, the scarlet letter can actually represent a lot more depending on the context it is placed in. Throughout the novel, the scarlet letter “A” morphs in meaning. The letter goes from standing for adultery, to strength, growth, ableness, power and much more....   [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]

Strong Essays
752 words (2.1 pages)

Essay on The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne

- The Scarlet Letter As written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Be true. Be true. Be true!” (Hawthorne, 254). In a world full of corruption and deceit, the light of truth always finds a way to shine through, even in the darkest of places. It may be argued that forests and prisons, cloaked with gloomy ambience, are unlikely places to find this ray of honesty. However, in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, the author reinforces the rawness of truth and forgiveness, the destructiveness of secrets and revenge, and the evolving symbolism of light by the use of contrasting settings presented by the forest and prison....   [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]

Strong Essays
1855 words (5.3 pages)