Intro: Nathaniel Hawthorne’s fictional short story “The Birthmark” and The Twilight Zone’s darkly romantic episode “Eye of the Beholder” both use gothic elements and delve into the realm of science to explore concepts of beauty and perfection. Through their contrasting characterizations of the scientist and employments of irony and allusions, each work comes to its own conclusions about how to define and treat beauty.
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
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.
Written almost two centuries ago, “The Birthmark” is an early form of our present-day obsession with a flawless, perfect physical state. Our society has numerous ways of showing just how far they will go to show their passion for physical perfection. Like in “The Birthmark” our society makes physical changes through plastic surgeries because for one reason or another they are not happy with themselves. While most of the time people make their own decisions about changing their look, it was Aylmer who convicted Georgina to let him change her look.
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
In the story “The Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, he uses several techniques to help build his story. Hawthorne tells a story of a man of science whose name was Aylmer. He married a beautiful women named Georgiana, although she was quite beautiful she had a birthmark on her face which, in Aylmer’s eyes was an imperfection. Aylmer tries to perfect Georgiana, but in the end Aylmer’s attempts to change Georgiana causes him to lose her. Aylmer does not accept the idea of imperfections in people. Aylmer believed that if people really had the desire to be perfect they would strive for it, but they don’t and in result Aylmer cannot accept the reality that people are imperfect. Hawthorne uses a number of techniques such as, setting, foreshadowing, imagery, tone, etc. With each of these different techniques he uses them to contribute to the story to create the theme or idea of the
The Birthmark is a short story about a married couple named Aylmer and Georgiana. Aylmer was a very skilled scientist who struggled to love both the science and his wife. After
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”, Aylmer is bothered in seeing a birthmark on his wife Georgiana’s cheek. I believe that Aylmer was truly evil in the way he manipulated Georgiana in thinking he truly cared about her. Aylmer’s ideas of perfection were the most dangerous thing about him and even led him to kill.
Through Hawthorn’s story the main emphasis is the birthmark located on Georgiana’s face. This birthmark is something that Aylmer wants to get ride of, he takes it upon himself to fix his wife. Rosenberg states, that Aylmer’s lifelong search through science is that he will finally have control over nature
In the short stories “The Birthmark” and “Rappaccini’s Daughter”, failed attempts to gain perfection are a frequent subject. They both have male protagonist who have fascinations to recreate a woman into their own view of perfection. Yet at the end the women are completely destroyed. The two stories teach a moral lesson. That moral lesson is to accept things the way they are and value them, people should be satisfied with what they are given by nature, not try to change anything because trying to change things to the way we would like them to be, can often destroy them.
Impending Tragedy Disguised by Goals of Perfection: Analysis of Hawthorne’s “The Birth-Mark” An English proverb says, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birth-Mark” portrays the human struggle of valuation as Aylmer, a scientist driven in his pursuit of perfection, relentlessly goes about making his wife acceptable. He
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
Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts, the infamous town where a very significant historical event occured. Hawthorne was the great-great-grandson of John Hathorne, one of the three judges over the Salem witch trials nearly a century ago. After the death of his father in 1808, Hawthorne’s uncle Robert Manning, prominent pomologist of that time, took Hawthorne into his care in Raymond, Maine. As a young man Hawthorne attended Bowdoin College in Brunswick with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Franklin Pierce. After obtaining his degree in 1825, Hawthorne moved back to Salem for twelve years and wrote many novels, sketches, and short stories that are still very popular today, including
The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne is centered around Aylmer, a mad scientist, and the birthmark on his wife’s, Georgiana, face. His obsession with perfection drives him to create an elixir that ends up serving its purpose and more. However, this story is actually about Aylmers attempt to use science to create the perfect human being, one lacking sin. Hawthorne implies this throughout the story by hinting towards the ideas that the birthmark on Georgiana’s face is really the embodiment of human sin and that Georgiana is, in reality, an angel.