Perfection In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Birth Mark

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As in all of Hawthorne 's writings when one finishes reading his stories you come up with more questions than answers. No other writer makes you question like Hawthorne. The philosophical question of what is true perfection and can it be achieved through physical means or is it a state of the spirit is the heart of Nathaniel Hawthorne 's story The Birth-Mark.

Aylmer, the main character of the story is a brilliant scientist/alchemist. He posses a belief in "man 's ultimate control over nature", and thinks there is nothing man can 't master or achieve. His obsession with his wife 's small imperfect birth mark, which resembles a hand, begins shortly after they become married. Aylmer is fixated with his wife Georgiana 's perfection; he believes that in order for him to experience perfect love, he must have a perfect woman to love. His obsession gradually becomes Georgiana 's obsession at which point she becomes so distraught that she tells Aylmer "Remove this dreadful hand, or take my wretched life". Aylmer sits down and tells his wife that
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The Christian parallel is clear here; none of us are perfect and the only way to become perfect is to become one with God, in death, which results in our going to heaven. This goes back to what makes us who we are; we are not pure flesh and blood, our psyches and our true selves go so much further beyond that.

Nathaniel Hawthorne 's short story The Birth Mark touches on philosophical and ethical issues valid in his time, as well as ours. His work makes us think about what is perfection and is it desirable in the physical state. In the end we discover that if we overstep our bounds and try to make perfect that which is imperfect, death will be the final result, for only in death through God, can we achieve perfection

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