Essay On Religion And Science In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Birthmark

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The Birthmark as a Religion and Science Story
Hawthorn’s short stories of the 1800s not only bring the past colonial times in America to the present but also touches on the contemporary life. Through his life’s experience, he has explored essential themes for example religion, science and nature. These themes are comprised of the society of today and thus the need to examine them. The Birthmark is a story written in the mid-19th century where Hawthorn portrays thoughts on life, beauty, and science that have significant impacts today despite the numerous advancements. It speaks of a scientist or an inventor called Aylmer, a perfectionist in nature. He married a beautiful woman who had a birthmark on her cheek that was in the form of a small
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Scientists were thought to have control over the force of creation and nature itself. Because God is the ultimate creator, a scientist’s work seems to infiltrate God’s realm. Aylmer thinks of his wife’s birthmark as a bad omen, sadness, and death (Hawthorne). He considers it a link to the original sin. He is not contented with his wife’s spiritual perfection through her words but wants her taint removed. His love for science has become his religion and has gone beyond the logic of rationale. In his attempt to make the physical defect spiritual he considers himself more of a god and fails to recognize that spirit and matter cannot be distinct (Hawthorne). His success in removing the birthmark equals that of reigning over God’s power. Aylmer’s obsession to find perfection at the moment robbed him of a lifetime of happiness. Georgiana’s death was a clear indication that mortality runs earth. Nothing is perfect on earth, and it’s the flaws that make us human. Removing the birthmark meant that she couldn’t exist anymore on earth but in heaven, as it was the link between her body and spirit (Hawthorne). His failure to see the bigger picture and see so little of time and life made him miss a chance at joy and
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