Imperfections in The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

Imperfections in The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

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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.

In this short story, Hawthorne uses symbolism to emphasize the strange shape of the 'earthly imperfection' (204) and his desperate need to change it. The shape of the birthmark 'bore a little similarity to the human hand' (204). Here, Hawthorne?s use of symbolism clearly illustrates a distinct connection between the shape of the birthmark as a human hand and the need to remove it by the same means. In Aylmer?s quest for perfection, he simply ignores the fact that he is tampering with an incredible force: Nature. The ?crimson hand? (206) symbolizes man always trying to change something natural: something that need not be changed. Aylmer?s subconscious obsession with science quickly becomes apparent when he realizes that he has the knowledge to potentially change something that nature has brought. At one point in the story Aylmer becomes so infatuated with removing this birthmark he dreams about how he will do so. He goes a...

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Commentary on The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- The things in life he didn’t understand fascinated Nathaniel Hawthorne. He wrote a few stories in a literary journal called The Pioneer, one of them being “The Birthmark”. Time significantly influenced Hawthorne in creating this short story (Wheeler). Aylmer, the main character, uses the scientific experimentation throughout the story to remove the birthmark from his wife’s, Georgiana, face which results in him killing her. “The Birthmark” has attempting for perfection, the battle between science and nature, and the earthly love....   [tags: Imperfections, Scar, Marriage]

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- In the short story, “The Birthmark”, Nathaniel Hawthorne tells the story of Aylmer, a man devoted entirely to science, who marries Georgiana, a beautiful young woman with a single imperfection. Georgiana’s imperfection is merely a birthmark on her cheek that bears the resemblance of a tiny crimson hand. Still, this mark becomes the object of Aylmer’s obsession, and he resolves to use his scientific prowess to correct “what Nature left imperfect in her fairest work.” Aylmer succeeds in removing the birthmark; however, he unfortunately causes his wife’s death in the process....   [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Short story, Science]

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