Analysis Of Nathaniel Hawthorne's Short Story 'The Birth-Mark'

Better Essays
Francisco Villegas
Dr. Richard Coronado
English 2326
September 29, 2014
Perfection Is Not A Goal Worth Pursuing

In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, “The Birth-Mark,” Aylmer apparently after getting married with Georgiana noticed the birthmark Georgiana had in her left cheek. Aylmer is very troubled how the birthmark resembles in Georgiana’s face. He proclaimed that it is a natural flaw that has affected her vivid human perfection. Since Aylmer is a scientist he propose to Georgiana to get rid of her birthmark once and for all. At first she angrily questions Aylmer’s proposition, but her love for him changes her thoughts and she accepts to permanently get rid of the birthmark. After intensive research and hours in his laboratory also
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Since the beginning of the story it is clear that Aylmer’s passion for science is incredible, but the love for Georgiana is not. Hawthorne comments, “… it was not unusual for the love of science to rival the love of woman” (645). According to Hawthorne, “He had devoted himself, however, too unreservedly to scientific studies, ever to be weaned from them by any second passion. 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, and uniting the strength of the latter to its own” (645). As you can see evidence suggests that Aylmer has love for both science and Georgiana, but his love for science exceeds more greatly than his love for Georgiana. Immediately after getting married Aylmer asked Georgiana to get the birthmark removed, and of course by the use of science. It seems that he wants to treat her like a simple experiment nothing more. Aylmer states that it shocks him that something so little ruined her appearance, and tries to convince Georgiana to scientifically get rid of the mark. Hawthorne provides proof by writing, “No, dearest Georgiana, you came so nearly perfect from the hand of Nature, that this slightest possible defect----which we hesitate whether to term a defect or a beauty----shocks me, as being…show more content…
The birthmark in Georgiana’s cheek symbolizes that she is a mortal being, and its nature’s way of showing it. Nathaniel comments, “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 very brutes, like whom their visible frames return to dust” (646). Nobody gets away from the hands of death; everybody in this world is destined to die at some point. Again Hawthorne provides evidence that her birthmark is the symbol of mortality by writing, “With the morning twilight, Aylmer opened his eyes upon his wife’s face, and recognised the symbol of imperfection; and when they sat together at the evening hearth, his eyes wandered stealthily to her cheek, and beheld, flickering with the blaze of the wood fire, the spectral Hand that wrote mortality, where he would fain have worshipped” (647). Mortality is written all over Georgiana’s birthmark, if taken away it would resemble nothing else than death itself. According to Hawthorne, “Aylmer now remembered his dream. He had fancied himself, with his servant Aminidab, attempting an operation for the removal of the birth-mark. But the deeper went the knife, the deeper sand the Hand, until at length its tiny grasp appeared to have caught hold of Georgiana’s heart; whence,
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