Hawthorne Reader Response Paper

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Disturbing, Anger and A Little Bit of Happiness
Nathaniel Hawthorne, a great American gothic writer, wrote many different, amazing stories including the classic novel, “The Birthmark”. The Birthmark is about Aylmer, his wife Georgiana and the birthmark that lays upon her cheek. One day, Aylmer asks his wife whether she has ever thought about removing the birthmark on her cheek. She cheerfully says no but grows serious when she realizes that he asked the question seriously. Many people have told her the mark is a charm, and she has always thought maybe they were right. Aylmer says, because her face is almost perfect, any mark is shocking. Georgiana is angry at first, and then she weeps, asking “how he can love her if she is shocking to him”(Hawthorne pg. 1). Aylmer obsesses about the birthmark. For him, it symbolizes mortality and sin and comes to tower over Georgiana’s beauty in his mind. Franz Kafka, another great gothic novelist, wrote one of his most famous pieces of literature, “The Metamorphosis”. Gregor Samsa, a traveling salesman, wakes up in his bed to find himself transformed into a large insect. He looks around his room, which appears normal, and decides to go back to sleep to forget about what has happened. He attempts to roll over, only to discover that he cannot due to his new body. He is stuck on his hard, convex back. He tries to scratch an itch on his stomach, but when he touches himself with one of his many legs, he is disgusted. Later on, Gregor grows more comfortable with his changed body. He begins climbing the walls and ceiling for amusement. Gregor’s family decides to remove some furniture from the room to create more space for Gregor to move around easier. For many people, they will have different emotions towards these two stories like for me, they are disturbing, angry and have a little bit of happiness.

“The Birthmark”, I think, is one of the most disturbing stories I have ever read in my life. “The crimson hand expressed the...
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