Literary works have many literary devices in them and can include examples like themes, tones, plots, and symbols. Symbols specifically are a literary device that are very prominent in literary works and provide great meaning to the work. Symbolism can include objects, actions, or people in a story and they represent ideas that the author is trying to convey. In “The Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the birthmark is a symbol that represents sin in life and the fact that no matter how hard people try to be perfect, they will always have flaws. This idea is seen in “The Birthmark” by the birthmark because both sin and the birthmark cannot be hidden despite attempts at doing so. Perfection for humans is impossible and no matter how perfect a person may seem, he or she will have sin or flaws in their life. Trying to remove these flaws and sin by our own doing will lead to death because there is only one solution to those issues.
“The Birthmark” is a story about Aylmer and Georgiana. Georgiana has a birthmark on her face which Aylmer despises. Georgiana is a beautiful woman that many men would die for but Aylmer is distraught over her facial blemish. Aylmer wants to remove the birthmark from her face, but the procedure is risky because her blemish is “deeply interwoven” into her face. The story ends with the confident scientific enthusiast Aylmer giving Georgiana a potion to remove the birthmark. She drinks it and the birthmark fades away. Georgiana wakes up but dies soon after. Before passing away, Georgiana assures her husband to not feel bad for what he has done.
Firstly, the birthmark in “The Birthmark” represents the flaws in our lives despite some people having seemingly perfect lives. Humans try so hard t...
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...ion by his own works. We can take this symbol to show the story of Jesus and how He is the only way to removing our imperfections. Imperfect humans should not rely on themselves to eliminate flaws in their life. Christ is the one to go to for help in life. Sin’s presence keeps us from God and we cannot free ourselves from its penalty alone. Although multiple meanings can come from the birthmark symbol, sin is the most influential meaning because of the application it has to life. Symbols provide great meaning to a story and this symbol of sin is what Nathaniel Hawthorne is trying to convey through his literary work.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “The Birthmark.” Rpt. in Michael Meyer, ed. The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature. 9th. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2012, pp. 344-354
New International Version. Bible Gateway. Web. 04 Dec. 2013.
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