The Birthmark, By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

The Birthmark, By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

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The Birthmark and Symbolism
Cloudy headed and conflicted describe Georgina, one of the main characters in Nathaniel Hawthorne 's “The Birthmark.” In this eerie short story Georgina, who is seemingly perfect, is convinced by her husband, Aylmer who is a scientist obsessed with perfection, that the small birthmark on her face is her only source of imperfection. While others have told her that this birthmark is a sign of magical endowments, Aylmer is disgusted by the sight of the birthmark, referring to is at a defect (Hawthorne 304-5). Georgina is taken aback by this comment and resents her husband for it. As the story progresses Aylmer convinces Georgina to allow him to try and rid her of the mark. Out of love for her husband, Georgina agrees to go on with the experiment. Aylmer shows her that the elixir will cure her of her imperfection by putting it on a plant that was covered in spots and before their eyes, the spots on the plant disappeared. Right away Aylmer gave his wife the elixir and like magic the birthmark disappeared. As the two were looking at what the elixir did to Georgina they neglected to see the plant dying. Before they knew it, Georgina started to slowly die right in front of her husband 's eyes. After Georgina eventually passed , Aylmer was left to deal with what his obsession for perfection had brought upon his wife who was thought to be the closest thing to perfection. Hawthorne uses many different literary devices throughout this story with the most prevalent being his use of symbolism. By looking at the way Hawthorne uses symbolism throughout this story, we can see that both Georgina and Aylmer were told not to try and change what nature had created and faced the consequences when they tried to c...


... middle of paper ...


...ture and it would not have the reader 's attention due to the inability to understand the story 's purpose. The symbols are the main components that keep the paper together and makes the paper more reader friendly and understandable.
Works Cited
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “The Birthmark.” Literature to Go. 2nd ed. Ed. Michael Meyer. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin 's, 2014. 304-316. Print.
Newman, Stuart A.. “The Hazards of Human Developmental Gene Modification.” Council for Responsible Genetics. N.p., 2015. Web. 20 April. 2015.
Perkins, Kenneth. Symbolism in Hawthorne. Berkeley: n.p., 1914. 24+. Print.
Thompson, W. R.. “Aminadab in Hawthorne 's The Birthmark.” Modern Language Notes 70.6 (1955): 413-415. JSTOR. Web. 20 April. 2015.
Zanger, Jules. “Speaking of the Unspeakable: Hawthorne 's The Birthmark.” Modern Philosophy. 80.4 (1983): 367-371. JSTOR. Web. 20 April. 2015.

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