The Birthmark

Topics: Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Birth-Mark, Human Pages: 3 (1171 words) Published: May 2, 2012
“The Birthmark”
What is a birthmark? Webster’s Dictionary states: A birthmark is a blemish or new growth on the skin formed before birth and is usually brown or dark red in color. There is no need to say that it is not a normal part of one’s body, a birthmark is just a part of being a human. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s famously known short story, “‘The Birthmark’, tells of a scientist’s passion to overcome what he deems to be the imperfection of nature” (Cassill) and uses the birthmark its self, Aylmer’s dream, the laboratory and boudoir as symbols of the different ideas of how one gets their selves away from humanity and into a different, more perfect life.

Aylmer’s wife is a beautiful woman with pale white skin. Georgiana’s nearly perfect beauty is flawed with the hand on her cheek. It is a birthmark deeply interwoven within her face. It is in the shape of a tiny hand, such as one of a fairy. The mark on her face was of the color crimson red. Her birthmark also demonstrates the power of nature because it captivates and intoxicates almost everyone who sees it. The birthmark had not previously bothered her or her prior lovers but to “Aylmer, however, it is a symbol of imperfection” (May). Hawthorne even tells the reader, that her birthmark was a symbol in the story. In paragraph 8, he [Hawthorne] stated: “The crimson hand expressed the ineludible gripe in which mortality clutches the highest and purest of earthly mould, degrading them into kindred with the lowest, and even with the very brutes, like whom their visible frames return to dust. In this manner, selecting it as the symbol of his wife's liability to sin, sorrow, decay, and death.”

In the paragraph above, Hawthorne is telling the reader right away that the birthmark represents Georgiana's humanity. Hawthorne also indicates that it is equivalent to representing her flaws. It is man's nature to be mortal and imperfect, which is just what it means to be a human. Aylmer “simply fails to see the object...
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