The Birth Mark

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Critical Essay 4
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“The 'Birthmark” that was written a little over a century ago by Nathaniel Hawthorne, seems to be an early story of our modern fascination with physical flawlessness. In looking at today's society, it is simple to see that humans are fascinated with perfection. This fascination may be for physical perfection, emotional perfection, or career perfection. Unlike today's society, where flawlessness is wanted by the person directly involved, the character in this story looks for flawlessness in the one he should love without condition. The character becomes so obsessed with wanting perfection that he gives up true happiness. Thus, we can say that "The Birthmark" expresses a very profound meaning; men make an effort to change nature in order to make it more flawless than it already is.

Even though “The Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne was written in the mid-1800s, its subject and ideas still play a part in today’s society. “In the late eighteenth century, where the story took place, science was still somehow associated with magic.”(1) And Aylmer's 'science', could be called alchemy, which is somewhere between science and magic. It can be stated that Aylmer, the scientist in "The Birthmark," is very much a result of this age of invention. Aylmer could have been a scientist or maybe even a magician. But we can definitely say he was in pursuit of control. He seeks control. The story starts off with a scientist who finds a bride. As the story continues on the freshly married couple starts to make discoveries about each other. Aylmer who is a man of perfection bases his decision to marry Georgiana believing that she is nothing but perfect. Nevertheless, his bride, Georgiana, appears to have a birthmark on her face that Aylmer wants to remove. Aylmer believes that the birth mark is a symbol of flawlessness on a beauty; On the other hand, Georgiana believes it is a blessing. To me Aylmer made the mistake of marrying Georgiana because of...
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