Essay on Obsessing About Perfection in The Birthmark

Essay on Obsessing About Perfection in The Birthmark

Length: 999 words (2.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The birthmark is a compelling story of one man’s obsession with his scientific ability to produce perfection. Aylmer, a scientist, is married to a Georgiana who is a very beautiful woman. Not long after getting married Georgiana’s birthmark, which is in the shape of a tiny handprint on her check, really begins to bother Aylmer. He sees it as a flaw in an other wise perfect woman. Georgiana knows that her birthmark disgusts him and, having grown up not bother at all by it, begins to hate it herself. He asks if she has ever considered having it removed. This is not something she has considered since other people in her life, especially men, have always seen it as a “charm”. Aylmer being an amazing scientist almost sees himself as god and feels that he has the power to remove this imperfection. Georgiana, bothered by her husband’s reaction to her birthmark, agrees to let him try to rid her of it. She is taken to his laboratory and he immediately begins to experiment. After she finds Aylmer’s book of experiments, which all end in failure, she for the first time, has some doubt about how this will work and confronts him. He reassures her and begins to try a multitude of methods, with the help of his assistant Aminadab, which do not work. At one point, there are several experiments going on and he even refers to himself as a “sorcerer” (Hawthorne 232). Finally, he produces a potion, which she drinks, and the birthmark begins to disappear! Slowly though, even as the experiment is working, Georgiana is fading away. He finds that ultimately, the birthmark was connected to her very soul and in his trying to act god like he actually kills her. Really this short story just proves that science has its limits and no man should try to act like G...


... middle of paper ...


...in his trying to act god like he actually kills her. The Birthmark is a story of how one man can think a little too highly of himself when he tries to change what is not meant to be changed.




Works Cited
1) Hawthorne, Nathaniel. "The Birthmark." Literature and the Writing Process. compiled. Elizabeth McMahan, Susan X Day, Rober Funk, Linda Coleman. Boston: Longman, 2011. Print.
2) "NameMeanings." Name-Meanings.com. N.p., 2004. Web. 26 Mar 2011. http://www.name-meanings.com/.
3) Hall, Michael. "Generation Cobweb." Review of The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne. N.p., 12-29-2011. Web. 27 Mar 2011. .
4) "shmoop." The Birthmark The Birthmark Summary. N.p., 2011. Web. 27 Mar 2011. http://www.shmoop.com/birthmark/detailed-summary.html.
5) "From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." The Birth-Mark. N.p., 03-06-2011. Web. 27 Mar 2011.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Birthmark By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark”, is the story of a crazed scientist whose strive for perfection not only leads to the death of his beautiful wife, but the attempt of man to have power over nature. It follows the story of Aylmer and his obsession with removing the birthmark off his beautiful wife, Georgiana. “His unnatural fixation to his wife’s birthmark even consumes him in his sleep as he dreams of cutting it off much like scraping an apple off its skin.” (Snodgrass 29). This narrative explores the themes of perfection, and the conflict between science and the natural world....   [tags: Science, Experiment, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Nature]

Better Essays
745 words (2.1 pages)

Cinderella. by Anne Sexton and The Birthmark, by Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- Anne Sexton’s “Cinderella” and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark” deal strongly with the concept of perfection. Both works have a focus on the unattainability of perfection, yet their authors view this fact in different lights. For Sexton, the ease with which Cinderella obtains her so called “happily ever after” is sickeningly unrealistic. For Hawthorne’s Aylmer, it is the pursuit of total perfection that causes him to ignore just how perfect his life really is and the ruin to which his pursuits bring him....   [tags: Perfection, Unattainability, Thematic Analysis]

Better Essays
702 words (2 pages)

The Birthmark, By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- The Birthmark, 1843 is a story written by Nathaniel Hawthorne an author who has written several well-known literary classics. This author is known for his excellent use of literary elements. In the story, The Birthmark, Hawthorne does a great job of capturing symbolism throughout its entirety. The author is able to incorporate everyday things into his story and give them a meaning beyond their everyday definition. The biggest and most important example of this would be the birthmark. The birthmark is on the lead female’s character face, Georgina....   [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Short story]

Better Essays
1057 words (3 pages)

Essay about Perspectives of the Obsession with Imperfections

- A perfect person does not obsess, does not fail, does not sin, and does not exist. The whole universe is imperfect. We fall, rise, and learn. Imperfections are traits that characterized human beings. Flaws make us mortals and imperfect, and we must accept them as part of who we are. Because of our humanity, we cannot change the course of life or actions of our nature. Most of the time, we think of our flaws and imperfections as things we want to get rid of but instead, we must see them as divine gifts of what God gave us....   [tags: puritans, utopia, perfection]

Better Essays
1212 words (3.5 pages)

Aylmers Sin and Guilt Essay

- The sin that Aylmer shows throughout the story is in relation to Georgina’s birthmark, which dramatically and suddenly grabs hold of his character. Aylmer becomes egotistic in the ways of his actions and thoughts, not considering that he himself has a problem but that his wife’s imperfection is the problem. By Aylmer’s immoral and obsessive desire for perfection, he took Georgina’s liberty and self-confidence away, which reveales his sins. First, before the marriage, Aylmer had not been bothered by the birth-mark on Georgiana’s cheek....   [tags: Character Analysis, Georgina's Birthmark]

Better Essays
2321 words (6.6 pages)

Aylmer's Struggle for Perfection in Nathaniel Hawthome's, The Birthmark

- Aylmer's Struggle for Perfection in Nathaniel Hawthome's, The Birthmark Aylmer's struggle for scientific perfection transcends human possibility in Nathaniel Hawthome's "The Birthmark." He attempts to perfect that which nature rendered imperfect. When the quest for human achievement opposes divine design it has no chance of succeeding. This key element in Aylmer's twisted love leads to the demise of what he seeks so desperately to perfect, his beautiful wife. Georgianna's "fatal flaw of humanity" (Hawthorne 167), the birthmark, blocks her from perfection in his eyes, and thus blemishes Aylmer's prideful ideals....   [tags: Birthmark Essays]

Better Essays
1996 words (5.7 pages)

Human Imperfection Illustrated in Hawthorne's The Birthmark Essay example

- It is hard to say that one is human and perfect at the same time. Human beings are not capable of achieving perfection; if that would be so, humans would stop being humans. By nature the human race is full of flaws, some appearing as early as in the womb. From defects in the body, to defects in the mind, to the mistakes that one makes in quotidian life, it is impossible to deny that human imperfection exists. To try to manipulate humans into perfection is not only impossible, but it takes away the very essence of being a human being....   [tags: The Birthmark]

Better Essays
900 words (2.6 pages)

The Death Of The Birthmark A Quest For Perfection Essay

- The Death of the Birthmark-A Quest for Perfection In the short story, “The Birthmark” Nathaniel Hawthorne uses the characters, foreshadowing, symbolism, and other rhetorical devices to alert people of the consequences of man having the power to control and alter nature. Additionally, through his skillful usage of diction, Hawthorne warns of the effects of seeking perfection through science. In “The Birthmark”, Aylmer, a man devoted entirely to science, marries Georgiana, a beautiful young woman with a single imperfection....   [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Short story, Nature]

Better Essays
1416 words (4 pages)

Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Birthmark: Understanding The Birthmark Essay

- The story’s tone is one of romantic controversy, a dilemma at a high level of existence.  The scientist’s love for his craft competes very intensively with his newfound love for his wife.  It is also very psychological, strictly dealing with the raw mind of its subjects as if the ominous narrator told the story from inside their mind, rather than observe it from the outside.  He describes the processes that one may take to reach a certain degree of knowledge and to find the elixir of life, which is described in this story as the ultimate goal of the scientific community.  Also, the narrator is very opinionated about events in the story.              Georgiana is a fine wife, and a seemin...   [tags: Birthmark Essays]

Free Essays
846 words (2.4 pages)

Women in The Birthmark Essay

- “The Birthmark” – Women                “Everything he has to say is related, finally, to ‘that inward sphere.’ For the heart is the meeting-place of all the forces – spiritual and physical, light and dark, that compete for dominance in man’s nature. . . .” (McPherson 68-69). McPherson’s “heart” is the key to understanding the role of women in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s tale, “The Birthmark.”   Only imperfection is what nearsighted Aylmer sees in the birthmark on Georgiana’s cheek. But he is unfortunately oblivious to  the virtue in her soul, the deep beauty contained in the depth of her love for him....   [tags: Birthmark Essays]

Better Essays
2061 words (5.9 pages)