Nobody is perfect and no one ever will be. This theme shows up often in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, The Birthmark. In this story, a scientist named Aylmer becomes obsessed with removing a hand-shaped birthmark from his wife’s, Georgiana, visage. After a series of tests, he is successful, but Georgiana becomes perfect and can no longer stay in the mortal world, so she dies. The Birthmark demonstrates how foolish it is to strive for perfection and this is revealed throughout the story using narration.
This overriding confidence makes him blind to his past failures and logical sense. Georgiana pointes out the faults Aylmer’s past experiments by saying, “His brightest diamonds were the merest pebbles, and felt to be so by himself, in comparison with the inestimable gems which lay hidden beyond his reach.” (Hawthorne, 217). This shows that Aylmer always reached for the unreliable and impossible overcomes when experimenting. This raises concern when Aylmer focuses on using his own wife as an experiment rather than the love of his life.
Equally Aylmer and Dr. Rappiccini, both characters in Hawthorne’s works causes destruction of human life with selfish aims to perfect the woman of their choice. In the case of Aylmer’s love interest in science, just as with the case of Beatrice’s father, blinds him to the true beauty and humanity of the woman before him. Aylmer views Georgiana’s birthmark as a symbol of imperfection and tries to remove it. At the end of the story, Georgiana say, "My poor Aylmer," she repeated, with a more than human tenderness, "you have aimed loftily; you have done nobly. Do not repent that with so high and pure a feeling, you have rejected the best the earth could offer. Aylmer, dearest Aylmer, I am dying" (Hawthorne 350). Unfortunately, the cost of getting rid of the birthmark was connected to her heart and the dangerousness was not understood until it was too
The short story “The Birthmark” was written by Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1834. The story follows a brilliant, yet insane scientist named Aylmer. He creates so many brilliant inventions in hoping to improve his life; his wife is just as perfect, despite a small hand shaped birthmark on her cheek. While Georgiana is considered gorgeous and beautiful by hundreds of men, only Aylmer sees the fault in the birthmark and deems it as a flaw that only he can fix with science. Nathaniel Hawthorne uses symbolism and figurative language to help convey the meaning of the short story to readers.
Unfortunately for Georgiana, he continued to go through with the procedure. Georgiana was still quite frightened by what Aylmer was about to do to her and she faints as soon as she enters the room. It is very clear the fear she has for Aylmer when she says, “Pray do not look at it again. I can never forget that conclusive shudder”. (Hawthorne 295) This shows that she could not get out of her head the way Aylmer would looked at her birthmark. It scared her to she would continue to have to deal with the ridicule from him. No Matter how many times Georgiana hints at not wanting the procedure done, Aylmer continues to reassure her that she would not be harmed. Aylmer is so overjoyed about the birthmark being gone that he barely realizes his wife is in distress. He was overcome with joy as his wife still laid unconscious on the table; “By Heaven it is Well-nigh gone, I can scarcely trace it now”. (Hawthorne 301) Georgiana eventually dies after Aylmer thinks it is all over. Georgiana stayed true to her husband before her death but I still believe she knew she had made a mistake and that Aylmer was not the man she thought he was.
Some think of science as advantageous, while others believe it can be immoral. Acts of science can lead to manipulation of the natural world and cause those performing the experiments to “play God.” Nathaniel Hawthorne 's short stories “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment,” “Rappaccini’s Daughter,” and “The Birthmark” each incorporate characters that attempt to alter a natural aspect of life and in turn are met with failure. It is through his short stories that Nathaniel Hawthorne reveals opinion of science: Men should not engage in scientific studies that require them to act as God.
In the short story “The Birthmark”, Nathaniel Hawthorne writes about a scientist, his wife, and the unhealthy relationship they share. The story follows Aylmer, a scientist, who is determined to remove his wife Georgiana’s birthmark. One aspect of their unhealthy relationship is Georgiana’s sole dependance on Aylmer. Furthermore, Aylmer does not view Georgiana as his equal. Not only this, but Aylmer frequently belittles her, continuously pointing out her flaws, which drives her to do something dangerous. Georgiana’s dependance on Aylmer, the inequality of the relationship and Aylmer’s disregard for her feelings, are the main ingredients of Aylmer and Georgiana’s unhealthy relationship.
In “The Birthmark” Nathaniel Hawthorne gives us a story that is telling us on some level to accept your own, as well as other people's imperfections or it could destroy not only your relationship with them, but also your relationship with yourself. In this story Hawthorne uses symbolism to show us exactly how this kind of behavior can lead to not just ruining relationships, but in this case even death. In “The Birthmark” Hawthorne uses a wide variety of objects and people such as a withering flower, a birthmark, poison, Aylmer's dream and Georgiana's death, and even a character named Aminidab to symbolize that nobody is in fact perfect and we all must accept each others flaws in order to have good and healthy relationships.
“Good fiction creates empathy. A novel takes you somewhere and asks you to look through the eyes of another person, to live another life”. (Barbara Kingsolver) Fiction is an imaginary thing or event, postulated for the purposes of argument or explanation as defined by Dictionary.com. There are many literary devices that writers incorporate into their works. The main reason literary devices are used is to connect with the reader. When we read, we want to truly enjoy what is written we need to become a part of the story. And literary devices help us to better see and feel the storyline. A good storyline captures all of our senses, these devices draw the reader in, paint a picture, heighten the senses, and pull at us emotionally. Throughout Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story The Birthmark, some of the key literary devices used were irony symbol and theme.
The true essence of “The Birthmark” is infiltrated through the hidden structure of the strength of a woman. As we unpack the passion behind the obsession that Aylmer presents with his genius in science, on the surface, one may recognize his obscenity and categorize it as a reflection of masculine control. Though, this is in fact true, what strikes as an unbeknownst strength is the hidden sacrifice that Georgiana represents as she succumbs to her spouse and his desire to make her “perfect”. As Hawthorne structures this sacrifice as a mere testament of how women of the late 1700’s - 1800’s valued the perspective of their spouse, it is necessary to extract how this act of selflessness attributes to the amount of love and respect Georgiana has for
Georgiana “could not but observe that his most splendid successes were almost invariably failures, if compared with the ideal which he aimed” (222). Even Aylmer’s most successful experiments were considered failures because of his desire for perfection. Aylmer is so consumed by perfection, he does not see the accomplishments he has made. Aylmer posses a potion that he deems “the Elixir of Immortality” (221) which he describes as being able to remove freckles but is not strong enough to remove the mark from Georgiana. Aylmer remarks “this is merely superficial. Your case demands a remedy that shall go deeper” (221). This continues to reinforce the flawed nature of
Which leads him to the point of using science to remove the birth mark. Aylmer’s obsession of removing the birth mark led to the death of his wife, Georgina. Hawthorne uses Aylmer to present a common issue that individuals have. Furthermore, each scholar help better understand the theme of obsession and achieving a goal that leads individuals to a path of negativity because of individuals’ foolishness to achieve perfection, science vs naturality, and mental isolation.
From the very first paragraph, Hawthorne’s story revolves around Aylmer, a scientist who supposedly gives up his career to marry the beautiful woman of his dreams, Georgiana.
Two tragedies, two stories of women who were in otherwise normal marriages. The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a short story about scientist named Aylmer who becomes obsessed with perfecting the beauty of his wife Georgiana (Nathaniel Hawthorne 113). Georgiana has a small birthmark on her cheek that resembles a small hand. Over time Aylmer’s negative reactions to the sight of the birthmark pushes Georgiana emotionally to give in and go through the dangerous process of it’s removal, which ultimately cost Georgiana her life. The story of an Hour by Kate Chopin is about a woman Louise who has a heart condition and is married to a man named Brently Mallard. She learns of her husband’s death in an accident and falsely finds a renewed joy for life as she is free from the burden of marriage. Tragically she goes to the front door as it is being opened with a key, to find Mr. Mallard still alive, causing her to die of heart
Georgiana’s birthmark represents her grasp on humanity as shown in its shape as a hand. The hand symbolizes humanity’s role in nature and the continuous struggle between nature and science. Georgiana is someone who Aylmer sees as created “nearly perfect from the hand of Nature” (Hawthorne 1). Her birthmark is an imprint left by nature and is representative of humanity’s ties to it. Altering nature isn’t something that humans should be able to do because it is more powerful than any creation made by man. Aylmer believes that he can correct “what Nature left imperfect in her fairest work!” (4). Aylmer, who stands as a symbol for science, obsessively seeks to remove Georgiana’s birthmark and make her ideal. When mankind attempts to change nature in the pursuit of perfection, it never ends well as seen in Aylmer’s attempts at