The Importance Of Nature In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Birthmark

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Man has always had a desire to obtain knowledge in order to improve his standard of living, and society as a whole. It has allowed the development of glorious civilizations and the discovery of tools that allow us to survive efficiently. Without the attainment of knowledge, man would still be in a primitive state. Accessing it comes with the responsibility to not surpass our limits, which can lead us to lose our humanity and become unnatural. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark” depicts the tale of a scientist, Aylmer, whose life revolves around his scientific inquiries. His scientific obsession is placed on hiatus and is substituted with his union of a beautiful woman, Georgina. Aylmer’s love for science and his wife are in constant battle,…show more content…
Aylmer loses his sense of self, devoting his time to lab work and observing any unusual differences in Georgina. In turn, he loses the natural ways of behaving and the physical attributes. He now has a “ slender figure, and pale, intellectual face, were no less apt a type of the spiritual element” (1025). Aylmer is no longer a human,but an entity that supersedes humanity for his obsession to remove the birthmark. On the other hand, his assistant Aminadab is described as a man with “vast strength, his shaggy hair, his smoky aspect, and the indescribable earthiness that incrusted him, he seemed to represent to man’s physical nature” (1025). These two characters represent different ends of a spectrum. Aylmer portrays an individual who lacks a natural outlook on life, always striving to surpass nature. While Aminadab depicts man as raw, with brute strength and an earthly physique. There is a stark contrast between Aylmer and Aminadab’s belief on what to do with the birthmark. Aminadab, states “If she were my wife, I’d never part with that birthmark” (1025) showing us how nature is meant to have imperfections within it, while Aylmer believes it is best to rid his wife of such a monstrosity that taints her near perfect
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