Essay PreviewMore ↓
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 seemingly beautiful one, too. Aylmer expresses deep affection towards his wife, but it is hinted from the beginning that his two passions in life will eventually have to come in conflict. The meaning of the birthmark shifts suddenly in the end, but in the beginning, it is viewed as Georgiana’s ability to be imperfect and to sin. It is in the shape of a human hand because an angel supposedly has a grip on her, linking her to the other world. That is most men’s reactions, but some women viewed it as disastrous to her beauty. Although Aylmer is not initially concerned with it, it eventually gets to him, obsessively occupying himself with it. He would stare at it whenever he had a chance, and tried to be candid about it. When it became apparent that Aylmer was quite concerned with this, Georgiana asked him to elaborate. He was more disgusted by the mark than Georgiana assessed. Her most significant reply to him was “You cannot love what shocks you!”
She is indeed compromising, offering her life in exchange for her husband’s contempt. The bandwagon effect modifies Georgiana’s thinking towards the mark. She then becomes critical of it, begging her husband to remove it in the name of their well being. He devises a plan, and he compares himself to Pygmalion, because he is one historical figure that succeeded in his quest for beauty, and the gods approved of it. I think that this meddling will not be readily approved of by any god. What they did not know, but what she hinted at, was that this mark may be her link to life and spirits.
How to Cite this Page
"Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Birthmark: Understanding The Birthmark." 123HelpMe.com. 17 Aug 2018
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- “The Birthmark” – Women “Everything he has to say is related, finally, to ‘that inward sphere.’ For the heart is the meeting-place of all the forces – spiritual and physical, light and dark, that compete for dominance in man’s nature. . . .” (McPherson 68-69). McPherson’s “heart” is the key to understanding the role of women in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s tale, “The Birthmark.” Only imperfection is what nearsighted Aylmer sees in the birthmark on Georgiana’s cheek. But he is unfortunately oblivious to the virtue in her soul, the deep beauty contained in the depth of her love for him.... [tags: Birthmark Essays]
2061 words (5.9 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)
- “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)
- Noble Love in The Birthmark Often billed as a story of an unsuccessful attempt to beat Nature at her own game, “The Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne certainly lends itself to a somewhat deeper interpretation. Over the years many scholars have noted that the story of Aylmer and Georgiana is riddled with traditional Hawthorne themes such as the evils of selfishness and pride, coupled with an element of solitariness (Arvin xvi). However, we are want to consider whether Aylmer’s motives in this story are purely selfish. Does this man perhaps deserve a touch of human sympathy? With blazingly obvious symbolism, clearly defined by the author himself, the reader can choose to take t... [tags: Birthmark Essays]
1723 words (4.9 pages)
- Throughout the nineteenth-century great strides were being made in the medical field, including exposition of “natural” remedies and responses the body had to coming in contact with certain plants or chemicals. These advances sank into the lifestyles and minds of those who were exposed to these findings and resonated throughout the writings and reasoning of literary artists of the time. One such writer was none other than the infamous Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hawthorne made use of these scientific breakthroughs as vital elements in several of his pieces, including Rappaccini’s Daughter and The Scarlet Letter.... [tags: medical field, science, Chillingworth, Dimmesdale]
949 words (2.7 pages)
- The discovery of electricity opened the door to many mysteries that challenged scientists of the nineteenth century. Nathaniel Hawthorne writes of some challenges that man could run into during the exploration and application of new technology in The Birthmark. These challenges are not entirely physical but they are more so about an internal struggle within Victorian mindsets. In The Birthmark there are only three characters: Aylmer, a scientist, Georgiana, Aylmer’s wife, and Aminadab, Aylmer’s lab assistant.... [tags: electricity, innocence, evil]
1138 words (3.3 pages)
- Darwin and Gamble's Debate Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Birthmark" gives a human face to Darwin and Gamble's academic debate concerning natural selection. In the story, Georgiana has a birthmark on her cheek that has been visible her entire life, but was just starting to agitate her husband, Aylmer. He used science to successfully rid his wife of the birthmark, but the procedure was fatal. The process that the couple went through appears to be a response to the theory of natural selection, with her death as the ultimate conclusion.... [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne The Birthmark Essays]
1168 words (3.3 pages)
- Overall, medical practice is performed when physicians identify health concerns, including diseases, mental disorders, and physical injuries, and provide a treatment for their patients in order to properly cure them of their maladies. The appropriate basis for medical practice is a combination of physicians’ knowledge acquired from scientific research and education, and ethical considerations regarding the wellbeing of patients. Additionally, if no scientific support is available, patients must rely on intuition and experience in order to make a proper diagnosis.... [tags: Health, The Birthmark, Hawthorne]
1615 words (4.6 pages)
- The Spiritual and Physical Dimensions in The Birthmark Fred Allen Wolf notes in Taking the Quantum Leap that it was not until the 20th century that scientists realized that “to observe is to disturb, for observation breaks the wholeness of nature.” If observing disturbs, then when a scientist tampers and tries to perfect nature the result can only be disastrous. The goal of most scientists is to observe and understand the mysteries of nature. Nathaniel Hawthorne realized that the scientists of the 19th century were beginning to challenge the traditional views of science and man.... [tags: miscellaneous]
1202 words (3.4 pages)
- 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]
884 words (2.5 pages)
At the entrance to Aylmer’s laboratory, Georgiana feels cold, scared, and tremulous. If this story had a conscious and unconscious part, the laboratory would be the very conscious, and very sinful. She is the creature of nature that is ready to be altered. The birthmark protests in convulsions, as if warning her of the danger ahead. He smiles at her to assure her, because he is in his domain now, and he is growing restless. Finally, she faints under the pressures.
In the laboratory, it is obvious that Aylmer is obsessed with creating perfection. The many things flashed before Georgiana’s eyes mildly interested her. The flower presented, I think, is symbolic of his inability to maintain perfect objects. The flower quickly dissipated before their eyes. He made mistakes, and this should have been a sign to Georgiana that she should not trust his ability or his plan.
Aylmer is the forever seeking, forever blind man of science attempting to learn Nature, and to taste the apple of knowledge. This kind of man will continue to be born, will continue to seek, and will continue to be punished. His ultimate goal is to be master, and perhaps create his own little humans, his own little worlds, and to be crowned God. Unfortunately, he is doomed to be blind forever. Georgiana has the reverse role of Adam, whereas she would apprehensively accept the offer of the apple compelled by her companion, and receive the compounded punishment for her lapse in judgement. Aminadab is the slave, the brute peasant, deceptively unknowing, but fundamentally correct. This is communicated by the author in his description. He is earthly, and would represent man’s physical nature, rather than cerebral. His one line is highly significant, in that it describes him. He says, “If she were my wife, I’d never part with that birthmark.” He would rather behold the beauty of Nature’s work, than attempt to modify it in any way. His brief reaction to his master’s failure is his hoarse chuckle, as if contempt with the punishment this damned sinner received. I probably would have done the same.