The Birthmark Symbolism

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The powerful story of “The Birthmark” takes us back in the latter part of the 19th century (Hawthorne,1843,327). This short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne, ironically, is perfected on lessons of imperfection. Moreover, Hawthorne illustrates his story of unavoidable earthly sin through the use of different symbols that are represented in “The Birthmark.” Yet, this story can be viewed in various ways by equally varied readers. Let us take for instance the impeccable lesson of philosophy on life, nature, and the conflicts in between. If you take the circumstances and outcomes of our beautiful character Georgiana and our opposing character Aylmer, her husband, one can walk away from this story with a renewed outlook on life. The lesson Aylmer learns translates to modern issues that young people go through on an everyday basis—for instance wanting to change something physical about them and doing anything in their power to do so no matter what the cost. Aylmer could learn a lesson or two about loving what nature gives no matter how he views it; flaw or no flaw. It is already noted that “our creative mother” (Hawthorne,1843,327) does wonders out of our realm of thinking, and for reasons one could never have any comprehension of. Despite multiple interpretations, Hawthorne’s symbolism lends universal truths across despite the reader’s perspective. Hawthorne, a truly notable 19th this Puritan way of living in his stories. He is also dually noted for writing about the sins of the world; good and evil. Hawthorne represents these themes with symbolism that was recognized throughout the story, most notably the birthmark itself representing earthly sins, natural imperfections, and mortality. century American wr... ... middle of paper ... ...l be concealed.” (Hawthorne,1843,329) Even though the birthmark and use of color are obvious symbols, Hawthorne’s settings can be interpreted as symbolic. The special room that Aylmer’s lovely wife was placed in for the corrective surgery can be interpreted as a humanly constructed heaven, and when in this room, Aylmer is God. The description of the divine room was expressed by the narrator as “being a pavilion among the clouds.”(Hawthorne,1843,330) LITERARY ANALYSIS OF “THE BIRTHMARK” 5 Many lessons may be interpreted from Hawthorne’s tale of caution based on the reader’s perspective. However, Hawthorne’s genius in crafting symbols through not only just Georgiana’s birthmark, but use of color and setting helps readers quickly indicate his primary lesson—earthly perfection is impossible and creating a false God-like perfection is the ultimate sin.
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