Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, “The Birthmark,” contains a wonderful example of the perfect wife. This essay will develop that theme.
In the opening paragraph of “The Birthmark” the narrator introduces Aylmer as a scientist who “had made experience of a spiritual affinity more attractive than any chemical one.” Hawthorne’s description of the scientist’s love for Georgiana is apt, for love is just that – spiritual. And the theme of this tale is a spiritual one. Through the course of the story Aylmer declines spiritually, while Georgiana advances spiritually.
Even after Aylmer has “persuaded a beautiful woman to become his wife,” he is not capable of loving her properly, unselfishly, because he “had devoted himself, however, too unreservedly to scientific studies ever to be weaned from them by any second passion.” The narrator seeks to justify this error or lack in Aylmer by explaining that “it was not unusual for the love of science to rival the love of woman in its depth and absorbing energy.” Already at the outset of the tale, the reader perceives that Georgiana is going to be shortchanged in this marriage. She is exposed to the problem initially when her husband asks whether “it never occurred to you that the mark upon your cheek might be removed?'' Aylmer is in quest of physical perfection in his wife; unfortunately he discounts her inner, spiritual value so clearly manifested in her comment: ``To tell you the truth it has been so often called a charm that I was simple enough to imagine it might be so.'' In using the word “simple” she is being honest and not sarcastic; she is being humble and respectful of others’ (parents?) evaluation of herself. T...
... middle of paper ...
...dab: “Laugh, thing of the senses! You have earned the right to laugh.'' But there is no success, for with great tenderness and concern for her husband’s happiness, Georgiana softly says, “I am dying!” The narrator’s beautifully poetic way of expressing the demise of the wife is memorable: “The fatal hand had grappled with the mystery of life, and was the bond by which an angelic spirit kept itself in union with a mortal frame.” The soul of this angelic, loving woman, “lingering a moment near her husband, took its heavenward flight.” A true angel of womankind is ascending to heaven.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel . The Birthmark Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Imperfections in The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne Too often in this world does man attempt to perfect nature. Tampering with this sort of element most commonly leads to a disaster to come extent. Because man is never satisfied, he is constantly vying for perfection, regardless of the outcome. Such is the case in Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story, 'The Birthmark.' Aylmer's persistent attempt to perfect nature is the cause of Georgiana's demise and the affirmation that when man tampers with such a powerful component terrible things may occur.... [tags: The Birthmark Nathaniel Hawthorne Essays]
884 words (2.5 pages)
- Every relationship is different. Weather one may be in a relationship with a boy, or just a friend, it is different. Even though they are different, the characters in “The Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne and “IND AFF” by Fay Weldon are in similar relationships. That is, the male is dominant over the female, and the woman thinks the man is her knight in shining armor. In the beginning of “IND AFF” the unnamed woman thinks her professor, Peter, who she is having an affair with, is her ticket to creating a good thesis and higher standings.... [tags: Comparison and Contrast, Hawthorne]
883 words (2.5 pages)
- Woman Protagonist in “The Birthmark” In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, “The Birthmark,” the reader finds an excellent example of a woman who is so superior to her male counterpart that she has to be labeled the protagonist of the tale. This essay will demonstrate why this designation is deserved by the female character, Georgiana. In the opening paragraph of “The Birthmark” the narrator introduces Aylmer as a scientist whose love for Georgiana is “more attractive than any chemical one.” And indeed, he is such a passionate scientist that everything meaningful in his life has to be related to science.... [tags: Birthmark Essays]
1859 words (5.3 pages)
- 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.... [tags: The Birthmark]
999 words (2.9 pages)
- 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]
900 words (2.6 pages)
- 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]
846 words (2.4 pages)
- “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]
2061 words (5.9 pages)
- External and Internal Conflict in “The Birthmark” This essay will analyze Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark” to determine the external and internal conflicts in the tale. In the opinion of this reader, the central conflicts in the tale – the relation between the protagonist and antagonist usually (Abrams 225) – are the external one between Aylmer and Georgiana over the birthmark on her cheek, and internal ones within Georgiana between love and self-interest and alienation, and within Aylmer regarding scientific good and evil, success and failure.... [tags: Birthmark Essays]
2095 words (6 pages)
- The Fate of Women in “The Birthmark” Wilson Sullivan in “Nathaniel Hawthorne” in New England Men of Letters states that Nathaniel Hawthorne’s tale, “The Birthmark,” depicts the efforts “of a deranged scientist to obtain total perfection” in his wife by removal of a facial blemish. In this story the scientist operates on the superficial level of the physical world, while the woman, the truly heroic woman, functions on the level of the heart and soul, the more significant level.... [tags: Birthmark Essays]
2410 words (6.9 pages)
- “The Birthmark” – The Theme In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s tale, “The Birthmark,” the dominant theme is love conquering self, though there is also present the theme of alienation resulting from the evil within mankind. This essay intends to explore, exemplify and develop this topic. Hyatt Waggoner in “Nathaniel Hawthorne” states: Alienation is perhaps the theme he handles with greatest power. “Insulation,” he sometimes called it – which suggests not only isolation but imperviousness.... [tags: Birthmark Essays]
2079 words (5.9 pages)