Essay on Hawthorne's Quest for Perfection

Essay on Hawthorne's Quest for Perfection

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Women in today’s world use many scientific measures to look young, beautiful, and perfect. Some women even undergo surgeries to perfect their bodies. True natural beauty comes from within one’s self and not what is on the outside. While critics argue that Hawthorne’s “The Birth Mark,” “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment,” and “Rappaccinni’s Daughter” stand as an overt commentary on nature vs. science, Hawthorne actually uses these works to explore personal familial connections.
First of all, these three short stores deal with nature and science, but when one delves deeper into the stories, it becomes apparent that Hawthorne actually explores relationships among family members. These three works of writing portray Hawthorne’s thematic writing pattern of the past affecting the present and the future. In “The Birth Mark,” the fear of isolation is clear, and while certain decisions can be made (nature vs. science), any path the character takes will affect familial connections. The theme of “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” is quite similar except that it deals with old age. Usually people in their old age are considered wiser, while younger people are considered folly or foolish. The main character in this story struggles with the relationships created and destroyed by age. In “Rappaccini’s Daughter,” Dr. Rappaccini is a scientist that commits his life to transforming plants into medicine. Yet the theme of the story actually revolves around the relationship that the doctor’s daughter and Giovanni Guasconti form. As the strange relationship escalates the ambitions of both her father and Giovanni eventually lead to her death. Life’s lessons can be gained from reading about the traumatic relationships in these three stories. It seems as if Hawthorn...


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... The Norton Anthology
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Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment.” Gutenberg
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Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “Rappaccini’s Daughter.” Gutenberg EBook.
Mosses From An Old Manse And Other Stories, EBook #512,
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Marshall, Megan. “Sophia’s Crimson Hand.” Nathaniel Hawthorne
Review 37.2 (2011): 36-47. Literary Reference Center. Web.
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Rosenberg, Liz. “The Best That Earth Could Offer’: The Birth-
Mark,’ A Newlywed’s Story.” Studies In Short Fiction 30.2
(1993): 145. Literary Reference Center. Web. 11 Nov. 2013.
Wachtel, Albert. “Rappaccini’s Daughter.” Masterplots, Fourth
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