The psychological dimension of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s writing, typical of his best short stories, is well demonstrated in his tale “The Birthmark.”
Frederick C. Crews in “The Logic of Compulsion in ‘Roger Malvin’s Burial’” explores the psychological drama that prevails in Hawthorne’s short stories:
. . . I chose this one tale to analyze because it illustrates the indispensability, and I should even say the priority, of understanding the literal psychological dramas in Hawthorne’s fiction. Like all of his best tales, this one is packed with symbolic suggestions and invite a moralistic reading, and the problem it explores appears to be a problem of ethics. Yet a scrupulous examination of the main character’s motives reveals that Hawthorne has approached his subject on a deeper level than the ethical – that he has not asked what someone in a certain predicament should do, but rather how a man may become the victim of unconscious hypocrisies over which he has no ethical control at all (111).
Peter Conn in “Finding a Voice in an New Nation” explains Hawthorne’s mix of psychology and theology.
His chosen terrain lay between the realms of theology and psychology, and allegory provided the means of his explorations. . . .He was a secularized Puritan symbolist, who recovered the dramas enacted in cases of conscience by tracing the lines that bound men and women to their motives. Concerned with individuals as specimens or types, he endowed his characters with solemnly stylized features and then studied their anxiety, or doubt, or guilt. He placed them amid settings and objects that gave symbolic expression to their inward states (83-84).
... middle of paper ...
...y A.N. Kaul. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1966.
McPherson, Hugo. “Hawthorne’s Use of Mythology.” In Readings on Nathaniel Hawthorne, edited by Clarice Swisher. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1996.
Melville, Herman. “Hawthorne and His Mosses,” The Literary World August 17, 24, 1850. http://eldred.ne.mediaone.net/nh/hahm.html
Peckham, Morse. “The Development of Hawthorne’s Romanticism.” In Readings on Nathaniel Hawthorne, edited by Clarice Swisher. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1996.
Swisher, Clarice. “Nathaniel Hawthorne: a Biography.” 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.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- “The Birthmark” Is a Psychological Story The psychological dimension of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s writing, typical of his best short stories, is well demonstrated in his tale “The Birthmark.” Frederick C. Crews in “The Logic of Compulsion in ‘Roger Malvin’s Burial’” explores the psychological drama that prevails in Hawthorne’s short stories: . . . I chose this one tale to analyze because it illustrates the indispensability, and I should even say the priority, of understanding the literal psychological dramas in Hawthorne’s fiction.... [tags: Birthmark Essays]
3614 words (10.3 pages)
- The Psychological Dimension of “The Birthmark” This essay will analyze Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark” in order to demonstrate that it is a “psychological” short story both in its themes and in its emphasis on the moral-psychological aspect of the main characters. There is probably unanimity among literary critics that Hawthorne is a “psychological” writer. Consider some of their statements chosen at random from various critiques of Hawthorne’s literary works: Stanley T. Williams in “Hawthorne’s Puritan Mind” says: What he wrote of New England was .... [tags: Birthmark, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
3155 words (9 pages)
- Angel of a Woman in “The Birthmark” 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.... [tags: Birthmark Essays]
1758 words (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 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)
- Ambiguity of “The Birthmark” There are numerous instances of ambiguity in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark”; this essay hopes to explore critics’ comments on that problem within the tale, as well as to analyze it from this reader’s standpoint. In New England Men of Letters Wilson Sullivan relates Hawthorne’s usage of opposites in his tales: He sought, in Hamlet’s telling words to his palace players, “to hold the mirror up to nature,” and to report what he saw in that mirror.... [tags: Birthmark Essays]
3228 words (9.2 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)
- Synopsis On an afternoon, in the quarters of the sakadas, Mang Sixto is playing a guitar with the chords of an emotional song, "Walay Angay", while her daughter, is playing outside the quarters. They were indifferent of each other for a while, but there is a sudden change in the mood of the two. The daughter of Mang Sixto finally notices the chords that her father was playing and along with the music is her father's very emotional presence. They were then engaged in a sudden conversation. The daughter interrogated her father of the about the sad song he was playing along with his guitars.... [tags: Short Story]
1037 words (3 pages)