To understand the message of “The Birthmark”, we must first understand the events and circumstances that took place in Hawthorn’s time period which most likely prompted him to write this short story. Nathaniel Hawthorn was a 19th century novelist who is perhaps best known for writing The Scarlet Letter. In Hawthorn’s time, a new belief system called positivism was on the rise. Positivism exalted science. This ne...
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...ection. By removing the birthmark from Georgiana’s face, Aylmer has taken away her humanity thus leading Georgiana to her death. Georgiana cannot live anymore because she is no longer a human being. Therefore claiming that science has its limits over nature and if those limits are crossed the consequences could be fatal.
It would be no surprise if the uprising of positivism in Hawthorne’s time influenced him to write this story. The reader must keep in mind that Hawthorne wrote this story in a time where many perhaps frowned upon scientific research. If he would have written the story in this current time period, it might have been written differently. “The Birthmark” attacks science in a way by presenting it as an unstoppable force determined to find a solution and perfection to everything. Science cannot completely perfect nature but it can try to improve it.
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