Essay about The Symbol of Sin: The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Essay about The Symbol of Sin: The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Length: 883 words (2.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Symbol of Sin
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...


... middle of paper ...


...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.


Works Cited
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.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Nathaniel Hawthorne's Use of Symbolism

- Nathaniel Hawthorne is a prominent writer who uses many different elements in his works. He uses elements such as symbolism, figurative language, metaphor, irony and etc. to make his work prominent. In the works by Nathaniel Hawthorne, he uses symbols for secret sin in The Scarlet Letter, “The Minister’s Black Veil,” and “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment.” As seen in The Scarlet letter, the symbol for secret sin is the Scarlet letter “A.” The “A” represents the sin in which Hester commits adultery with the town’s minister, Dimmesdale....   [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Symbolism, ]

Better Essays
479 words (1.4 pages)

Essay on A Perception of Sin: Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter

- Through out the course of history, those who were considered sinners were often out casted from the society. This is much the case with Hester Prynne in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. After a public trial, Hester is considered a sinner due to her birthing of a so called “devil child”. Hester is convicted to the life long bearing of a scarlet letter on her chest. The Scarlet Letter that Hester Prynne wears symbolizes the change in perception of sin through out the novel. Due to the revelations of the governor Winthrop and the reverend Dimmesdale, the way sin is perceived changes from one of shame to the idea that every one is a sinner in their own right....   [tags: sin, religion, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Scarlet Letter]

Better Essays
878 words (2.5 pages)

Veiled With Sin Nature Of Nathaniel Hawthorne 's The Minister 's Black Veil

- Veiled With Sin Nature “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (King James Version, Rom. 3.38 ). This Bible verse appears to encompass Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “The Minister’s Black Veil”. As with many of his works, Hawthorne draws from his puritan heritage and New England childhood. The setting is in a small puritan village by the name of Milferd. The main character, Reverend Hooper, appears one Sunday with a black veil completely covering his face. Thereafter, he never takes it off, despite gossip and judgement from his parish....   [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Short story, Sin]

Better Essays
961 words (2.7 pages)

The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- ... His tortuous life ended in 1864 at New Hampshire. (Biography.com Editors). Hawthorne’s work is imaginative and well structured. He not only analysis people’s psychological, but also the use symbolism to show for his future reader. His idea of sophisticated imagery, deepen his surface purpose and create an obscure meaning of different books. This outstanding writer left many interesting books for the future generations and let them to fumble ancient people’s mind. “The Scarlet Letter” used two main guideline with symbolism and romanticism, delicate display his thoughts of human nature and the corruption of Puritan society....   [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter]

Better Essays
1006 words (2.9 pages)

The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- ... His tortuous life ended in 1864 at New Hampshire. (Biography.com Editors). Hawthorne’s work is imaginative and well structured. He not only analysis people’s psychological, but also the use symbolism to show for his future reader. His idea of sophisticated imagery, deepen his surface purpose and create an obscure meaning of different books. This outstanding writer left many interesting books for the future generations and let them fumble ancient people’s mind. “The Scarlet Letter” used two main guideline with symbolism and romanticism, delicate display his thoughts on human nature and the corruption of Puritan society....   [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter]

Better Essays
1008 words (2.9 pages)

The Scarlet Letter, By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, like many romantic novels, opens the reader 's mind to many different views on the ideal life. The key details of the novel 's plot and character diversity are strategically used to show many different aspects to life. Two aspects that are repeatedly shown in the novel are the contrasts between nature and society. Hawthorne highlights several romantic ideas to emphasize the effect of nature’s purity and freedom on people in contrast with the corruption of community....   [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]

Better Essays
1268 words (3.6 pages)

The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- Literature and language is a powerful tool. It has the capabilities to move audiences, transform and mold societies, and give insights to a civilization’s thoughts. The feminist and transcendentalist movements occurred nearly simultaneously in history and pushed each other with their growing popularity. Feminism and transcendentalism boiled down to major components is the equality of women and men in society and individual thoughts, respectfully. The Scarlet Letter can be considered a feminist novel through the author, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s, use of transcendentalist ideals to highlight universal women equality through the lead female characters’ actions....   [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]

Better Essays
982 words (2.8 pages)

The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- Nathaniel Hawthorne of Salem, Massachusetts was a descendant of a distant line of Puritan ancestors; however, his antecedent family history was not one he was proud of, as he persisted to be bedeviled with guilt, most notably from the renown John Hathorne of the Salem witch trials. He, as a consequence, wrote The Scarlet Letter to articulate his message on the extreme and austere type of Puritan legalism, society’s outlook of an adultery child, the individual reconciliation of a sinful act in the Puritan society, and, all from the perspective of Hester Prynne....   [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]

Better Essays
930 words (2.7 pages)

The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- Throughout the infamous novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the reader is met with a lot of symbolism, from the rosebush to the scaffold and of course the most obvious symbol of them all, the scarlet letter “A”. While the most evident meaning or symbolism behind the scarlet letter “A” is that it stands for adultery, the scarlet letter can actually represent a lot more depending on the context it is placed in. Throughout the novel, the scarlet letter “A” morphs in meaning. The letter goes from standing for adultery, to strength, growth, ableness, power and much more....   [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]

Better Essays
752 words (2.1 pages)

Imperfections in The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- 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]

Better Essays
884 words (2.5 pages)