Symbolism In 'The Birth-Mark' By Nathaniel Hawthorne

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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. Hawthorne’s use of foreshadowing, irony and symbolism help to show the contrast between Aylmer, Aminadab, and Georgiana. Hawthorne uses foreshadowing to show Aylmer’s connection to science and to show man in a spiritual sense. Aylmer…show more content…
Hawthorne describes Georgiana’s birth-mark as, “the symbol of … [her] liability to sin, sorrow, decay, and death” (292). In the story, Georgiana’s birth-mark is directly stated to be a symbol; a symbol of Georgiana’s humanity. Her birth-mark is a representation of her flaws, as said by Hawthorne, “that sole token of human imperfection” (301). When Aylmer removes Georgiana’s birth-mark her humanity is no longer there. In effect, Georgiana dies because Aylmer could not accept the one attribute that made her human. The reader can note this when Georgiana exclaimed, “you have rejected the best the earth could offer. Aylmer, dearest Aylmer, I am dying” (301). Aylmer could not embrace what nature had given Georgiana; he failed to seek what was there and physical, instead hoping for perfection in the future. Hawthorne shows the reader that Aylmer could not accept the one part of Georgiana that made her human, that gave her life; and in effect she dies. Hawthorne’s use of symbolism assists in describing Georgiana and brings out what type of person Aylmer really
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