The Birth-Mark by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Topics: Short story, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Science Pages: 4 (1337 words) Published: December 9, 2013
Jesus Freak
Dougey Houser
ENC 1102
26 November 2013
Research Paper on The Birth-Mark

Nathaniel Hawthorne is one of the greatest short story writers of his time. His uniqueness in his writing makes him a talented writer. He never directly comes out and says exactly what he means, instead he incorporates different symbols, characters, and themes throughout his stories that the reader has to analyze and figure out. In his short story, “The Birth-Mark”, he uses an intriguing plot and unique characterization in order to teach lessons about the imperfectability of humans by looking at the power and misuse of science. The character, Aylmer who is a scientist, marries a gorgeous woman, Georgiana, who has a birthmark on her face. The story gives a detailed account of how Aylmer uses his scientific knowledge as power to rid Georgiana’s face of her birthmark. The plot of story emphasizes the misuse and power of science. The story describes a marriage that is completely isolated from society. The character Aylmer has a love for science as well as love for his wife Georgiana. These two loves rival each other. During the time the story took place, love of science was very common. Many new discoveries were being made that frightened people, such as the discovery of electricity. Aylmer tried to withdraw himself from his scientific studies to prove that his love for his wife was much greater. However, Aylmer was not able to do that for long, and he somehow intertwined science with his wife. “Aylmer cleanses himself of the marks of his laboratory only to resituate them on the body of Georgiana” (Quinn). Hawthorne states in the story, “his love for his young wife might prove the stronger of the two; but it could only be by intertwining itself with his love of science” (Hawthorne 291). This means that Aylmer could never stay away from his scientific studies and instead he determined how he could join his two loves together. Aylmer used the...

Cited: Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “The Birthmark”. The Norton Introduction to Literature. 11th edition Kelly J. Mays New York. Norton, 2011. 290-301. Print.
Napier, Elizabeth R. "Aylmer as 'Scheidekunstler ': The Pattern of Union and Separation in Hawthorne 's 'The Birthmark. '." South Atlantic Bulletin 41.4 (Nov. 1976): 32-35. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism. Ed. Rachelle Mucha and Thomas J. Schoenberg. Vol. 89. Detroit: Gale, 2006. Literature Resource Center. Web. 7 Nov. 2013.
Quinn, James, and Ross Baldessarini. " 'The Birth-Mark ': A Deathmark." Hartford Studies in Literature 13.2 (1981): 91-98. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism. Ed. Rachelle Mucha and Thomas J. Schoenberg. Vol. 89. Detroit: Gale, 2006. Literature Resource Center. Web. 7 Nov. 2013.
Rosenberg, Liz. " 'The Best That Earth Could Offer ': 'The Birth-Mark, ' A Newlywed 's Story." Studies in Short Fiction 30.2 (Spring 1993): 145-151. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism. Ed. Rachelle Mucha and Thomas J. Schoenberg. Vol. 89. Detroit: Gale, 2006. Literature Resource Center. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.
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