Perfection In The Birthmark And Eye Of The Beholder

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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.

Body #1: The Birthmark
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.
But Aylmer is almost immediately characterized as obsessive, as Hawthorne explains “He had devoted himself, however, too unreservedly to scientific studies ever to be weaned from them by any second
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Bernardi even goes so far as to question the idea of visual beauty, confessing that he has looked past her face to “her real face” and has seen that it’s a good one, “a human face.” This distinguishes Bernardi from Aylmer’s obsession with appearance, showing the belief that, perhaps, beauty and humanity are more than skin-deep.
Similar to “The Birthmark”, this episode uses allusion to send a poignant message about the standardization of beauty.
It portrays a porcine dictator who insists on “glorious conformity,” alluding to Korean dictators who force their citizens to conform to the image of ideal member of society. This allusion to America’s enemies intends to strike fear into the audience’s hearts, sending a negative message about orthodoxy and the idealization of appearance.
Finally, the climax of the episode began with the revelation of the characters’ faces, including Janet Tyler.
When the darkness disappears, the irony of Tyler’s face operation is apparent: Tyler is the traditional image of perfection and beauty, while the rest of society has grotesque features, but Tyler is the one being outcast for her
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