Of Perfectionism In 'The Birthmark And Rappaccini's Daughter'?

Good Essays
The world around us has different views of what humans must look like or be. All of us have different sized feet, hairstyles, and clothes. Truly this idea of perfection can lead to terrible choices and horrible outcomes. Nathaniel Hawthorne two short stories “The Birthmark” and “Rappaccini 's Daughter” Hawthorne gives us a better understanding of perfection as two men try to make their life perfect and everything around them perfect. As we read “The Birthmark”, Aylmer tries during the whole story to perfect his wife who is already a beautiful creation and cannot recognize what he has. In the story “Rappaccini’s Daughter” Rappaccini developed a poison that gives his daughter powers in order to protect the beauty that she has in the story and…show more content…
Going through “Rappaccinis’s Daughter” gives us an example that is described by an action of the gardener, “Nothing could exceed the intentness with which this scientific gardener examined every shrub which grew in his path; it seemed as if he was looking into their innermost nature, making observations in regard to their creative essence, and discovering why one leaf grew in this shape, and another in that, and wherefore such and such flowers differed among themselves in hue and perfume” (Rappaccinis’s Daughter 1). Flowers are like us as humans in that we are all unique and cannot be changed we each have something that was given to make us different and unique. Understanding Hawthorne’s second short story helps us see that we are all unique in nature. Hawthorne states, “It was the fatal flaw of humanity which Nature, in one shape or another, stamps ineffaceably on all her productions, either to imply that they are temporary and finite, or that their perfection must be wrought by toil and pain” (The Birthmark 1). Being able to see that Nature will put its footprint on us lets us better understand we are all different and that is okay. Reading “The Birthmark” helps us understand nature a little more, “[Nature] is yet severely careful to keep her own secrets …She permits us, indeed, to mar, but seldom to mend, and,…show more content…
In the “Rappaccinis’s Daughter” Giovanni visits with someone, “In the course of the day, he paid his respects to Signor Pietro Baglioni, Professor of Medicine in the University, a physician of eminent repute, to whom Giovanni had brought a letter of introduction” (Rappaccinis’s Daughter 1). Throughout the story we can see that much of it is involved with the idea of science of how Rappaccinis is a doctor himself and that his poison involves science which led to her death. Right at the start of, “The Birthmark” we can see what year this happens, “In the latter part of the last century there lived a man of science, an eminent proficient in every branch of natural philosophy” (The Birthmark 1). We can see that he must be referring to the late 1700s. Hawthorne states, “it was not unusual for the love of science to rival the love of woman in its depth and absorbing energy” (The Birthmark 1). With this in mind we are able to see that much of the story is involved around science due to the fact that around in the setting of 1700’s science was beginning to become big. Being able to see this gives us a understand of that both of these short stories were based on the same time period as to when it must of
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