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.
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. It is the opposite of that “osmosis of being” that Warren has written of, that ability to respond and relate to others and the world. . . . it puts one outside the ‘magic circle’ or the ‘magnetic chain’ of humanity, where there is neither love nor reality (54).
Waggoner’s theme of alienation does play a part in the tale, but the theme which dominates is that of love conquering self as exemplified in Georgiana’s growing love for Aylmer. Her love transforms her very soul. “Everything he has to say is related, finally, to ‘that inward sphere’” (McPherson 68-69). “When he desired to build the kingdom of God, he looked for the pattern of it, not in history nor in the fortunes of those about him, but in his own heart (Erskine 180).
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...
... middle of paper ...
Erskine, John. “Nathaniel Hawthorne.” In Leading American Novelists. New York: Books For Libraries Press, 1968.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “The Birthmark” Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
McPherson, Hugo. “Hawthorne’s Use of Mythology.” In Readings on Nathaniel Hawthorne, edited by Clarice Swisher. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1996.
Waggoner, Hyatt. “Nathaniel Hawthorne.” In Six American Novelists of the Nineteenth Century, edited by Richard Foster. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1968.
Williams, Stanley T. “Hawthorne’s Puritan Mind.” In Readings on Nathaniel Hawthorne, edited by Clarice Swisher. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1996.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Individual reactions to situations of external or internal conflict are reflected in much of literature. In the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare, the character of Hamlet must deal with both external and internal conflict. He faces the death of his father, the knowledge that his uncle Claudius is his father's murderer and the knowledge that he must take revenge. Hamlet's responses to these external conflicts and his own internal views proclaim his nature and character. Hamlet is very distraught and grief stricken for the death of his father, the King of Denmark.... [tags: Shakespeare, Analytical Essay]
780 words (2.2 pages)
- In the drama script ‘Hamlet’, written by William Shakespeare, conflict, both internal and external, was important to the text in a variety of ways. Internal conflict enabled the character development of Hamlet to take place, showing his nature rich in procrastination as he developed from a cowardly griever to a confident man no longer fearful of the unknown. This character development illustrates the main themes of revenge, good vs. evil, and more. Conflict in this text provides the main protagonist (Hamlet) with various catalysts that move the plot along and allow peace to be restored, completing the cycle of the narrative structure.... [tags: Shakespeare, Literary Criticism]
523 words (1.5 pages)
- Internal and External Violence Specific time periods, such as World War II, and the Post-Civil War era bring to mind images of hate, death, and violence. Not solely external violence or violence that is carried out, such as murders, war, or blatant displays of violence such as those in Ellison’s Battle Royal, but internal violence as well. Internal violence is more about the mind, a violence of emotion, though internal violence is closely linked to external violence. They are linked not only because external violence causes internal violence, but also because of the reverse.... [tags: Violent Violence Internal External Essays]
1473 words (4.2 pages)
- External and Internal Factors There are many external and internal factors that impact the planning functions of management. We must all be mindful of these factors because they could have an enormous impact on organizations productivity. The process of assessing the external and internal factors that an organization will face can be vital to the planning function of management. One must determine a set of issues and constraints and then list the assumptions that will impact the implementation of the plan.... [tags: External Internal Factors Management Essays]
1045 words (3 pages)
- ... The internal conflict continues with Willy’s dreams. The beginning of the play tells us that it is about dreams (Eisinger 2). Willy dreams of the American dream and family dreams. Willy characterizes the American dream as success, which creates conflict within himself. Willy longs for the dream so much that he focuses solely on achieving this goal that he loses desire for anything less. Willy interprets his desire for success when he defines Dave Singleton: And he was eighty-four years old and he’d drummed merchandise in thirty-one states.... [tags: Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman]
1177 words (3.4 pages)
- External, Internal Conflict of “Young Goodman Brown” Hugo McPherson in “Hawthorne’s Use of Mythology” comments on the “reason and passion” conflict which he sees in this writer: “Those who read him as a Christian moralist recognize instantly an opposition between Head and Heart, reason and passion which is related not only to Puritan theology but to the Neo-Classical view of man….” (69) Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “Young Goodman Brown”contains both an external and an internal conflict, which this essay will explore.... [tags: Young Goodman Brown YGB]
2005 words (5.7 pages)
- “The Minister’s Black Veil”– External, Internal Conflict Based on the evaluations of literary critics, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, “The Minister’s Black Veil,” contains both an external and an internal conflict, about equally treated in the tale. It is the intent of this essay to explore both types of conflict as presented in the story. R. W. B. Lewis in “The Return into Rime: Hawthorne” implies internal and external conflict in his statement: “Finally, it was Hawthorne who saw in American experience the re-creation of the story of Adam and who .... [tags: Ministers Black Veil Essays]
2732 words (7.8 pages)
- External, Internal Conflict of “The Minister’s Black Veil” Hugo McPherson in “Hawthorne’s Use of Mythology” comments on the “reason and passion” conflict which he sees in this writer: “Those who read him as a Christian moralist recognize instantly an opposition between Head and Heart, reason and passion which is related not only to Puritan theology but to the Neo-Classical view of man….” (69). Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “The Minister’s Black Veil” contains both an external and an internal conflict, which this essay will explore.... [tags: Ministers Black Veil Essays]
2871 words (8.2 pages)
- External and Internal Conflict in “The Minister’s Black Veil” Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “The Minister’s Black Veil” manifests a duality of conflict – both an external conflict and an internal conflict. It is the purpose of this essay to explore both types of conflict as manifested in the story. In the opinion of this reader, the central conflicts – the relation between the protagonist and antagonist (Abrams 225) - in the tale are an internal one, a spiritual-moral conflict within the minister, the Reverend Mr.... [tags: Ministers Black Veil Essays]
2529 words (7.2 pages)
- External and Internal Conflict in “Young Goodman Brown” Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “Young Goodman Brown” manifests a duality of conflict – both an external conflict and an internal conflict. It is the purpose of this essay to explore both types of conflict as manifested in the story. In the opening lines of the tale there is a compulsion, representing internal conflict, indicated on the part of both the protagonist and his wife Faith: "Dearest heart," whispered she, softly and rather sadly, when her lips were close to his ear, "pr'ythee, put off your journey until sunrise, and sleep in your own bed tonight.... [tags: Young Goodman Brown YGB]
1546 words (4.4 pages)