The Unsuccessful Experiments in Nathaniel Hawthorne's
"Rappaccini's Daughter" and "The Bithmark"
How are experiments done without the use of guinea pigs to help us learn and understand what is being studied? Everyday lab animals, such as mice, are used in experiments as guinea pigs because they provide similar reactions in comparison to the human body. Thus, mush knowledge of science is gained through guinea pigs. However, in Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic stories "Rappaccini's Daughter" and "The Birthmark" rather use humans to test their scientific studies. The stories show two families of science-based backgrounds caught between a passion for success in their scientific studies and love between a father and a daughter and a husband and a wife. Throughout the stories the scientist feel they are coming closer to success in their experiments, but in reality success is lost to tragedy in the end.
In "Rappaccini's Daughter", Rappaccini is the scientist and father of Beatrice. He is devoted to his scientific studies and to his daughter's well-being. Rappaccini is the creator of plants with poisonous extracts thus only Beatrice can attend to. Her father had altered her touch and made it deadly to protect her from the evils in the world. She is forced by her father to live in his world without any human contact, instead she can only embrace her "sister" plant in Rappaccini's garden. Beatrice's sister plant is the only one that she can handle and embrace without it dying in her hands. As Hawthorne shows her closeness to her plants "Approaching the shrubs, she threw open her arms, as with a passionate ardor, and drew its branches into an intimate embrace,--so intimate that her features were hidden in its leafy bosom and her glistening ringlets all intermingled with the flowers. "Give me breath, my sister," exclaimed Beatrice; "for I am faint with common air." Rappaccini is an overprotective father who tried to succeed on behalf of his daughter's life...
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