The Birthmark Symbolism Essay

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Nathaniel Hawthorne named one of his short stories based on the main symbol within the plot. Of course the short story being discussed is “The Birthmark.” Why would a story about a birthmark be filled with symbolism in regards to motives and actions? Hawthorne based his story around a couple who decide to take a risk to try and remove a birthmark. What is so special about a birthmark? Well according to Aylmer the birthmark is “deemed an almost fearful distinctness.” Aylmer goes into great detail in providing the location, size, shape, and color of the birthmark. Readers may wonder why does he worry about the mark so much, and Hawthorne provides Aylmer’s thought process. “It was the fatal flaw of humanity which Nature, in one shape or another,…show more content…
“‘Noblest dearest, tenderest wife,’ cried Aylmer, rapturously, “doubt not my power. I have already given this matter the deepest thought --- thought which might almost have enlightened me to create a being less perfect than yourself.” “I feel myself fully competent to render this dear cheek as faultless as its fellow; and then, most beloved, what will be my triumph when I shall have corrected what Nature left imperfect in her fairest work!” The story takes these two opposing symbols and creates the theme of Nature versus action against nature. “Man playing God,” is a common example, and in this story, Aylmer tries to remove the birthmark. Aylmer is trying to change something that Nature has produced, and in most cases, man loses when playing God. The birthmark fades as the wife dies. Hawthorne wrote a story injected with symbols about the dangers of symbols. Why would he do that? Examples are often times the best ways to teach and learn. The reader can examine the symbols in the story and understand that they are following the same path. “The Birthmark” is a complicated read, but it is a story that can be analyzed and used in
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