Nathaniel Hawthorne 's The Birthmark Essay

Nathaniel Hawthorne 's The Birthmark Essay

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Nathaniel Hawthorne was part of the Romantic movement during the Gothic time period. Romanticism tends to include some type of interpretation of nature and its beauty. Hawthorne takes this characteristic and contrasts it in view of light versus darkness. In his writings, the audience can see the nature and beauty in terms of light being the good, while man’s sinful nature is looked upon in an opposite and dark way. In “The Birthmark” Nathaniel Hawthorne shows the battle between accepting one’s true, natural beauty and man’s inability to perceive it and appreciate what nature has bestowed. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “The Birthmark” portrays the foolishness of chasing perfection to create the perfect being, and by doing so, intruding into the realm of mortality and nature itself. Hawthorne transfers this message to his audience through the story of the scientist Aylmer and his wife Georgiana. Within the story, every character carries a symbol that leads to the theme of how chasing perfection only leads to a catastrophe of other imperfections. There is also a lot of symbolism and foreshadowing to get the point across to the reader. In the short story “The Birthmark,” Nathaniel Hawthorne demonstrates a meaning through characters, foreshadowing, and symbolism to further prove to his audience that physical perfection cannot be achieved through science and technology.
Hawthorne uses the characters in his short story as instruments to accomplish his aim in this short story. Although the characters are not very complex, they stand as archetypes. The characters present larger meanings and themes. The main character that mainly proves Hawthorne’s point that perfection cannot be achieved through science and technology is Aylmer. In t...


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... chasing many different other immortal and unrealistic subjects. The perfection of physical appearance was nothing but a trophy to Aylmer. If he were to succeed in this action he would have broken nature itself. It is a possibility that is what he wanted all along and sadly Georgiana had to become a casualty in Aylmer’s disaster. In the end, Hawthorne further proved his point to his audience that physical perfection cannot be achieved through science and technology through characters, foreshadowing, and symbolism. Aylmer’s desire to make his wife perfect was doomed to failure because perfection, Hawthorne suggests, is the exclusive province of heaven and can’t be found on earth. “The Birthmark” can be relevant to people today by letting the audience understand about not only the dangers of immortality, but to be courageous and flawed like the ever-loving Georgiana.

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