In the nineteenth century, woman had no power over men in society. They were limited in their freedom, as their lives were controlled by their husbands. Some women did not mind this lifestyle, and remained obedient, while some rebelled and demanded their rights. “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and “The Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, are short stories that exposes the lifestyle women lived in the nineteenth century. The protagonists from both stories, Jane and Georgiana, similarly lived a male dominated lifestyle. Although both Georgiana and Jane lived the same era, in which their husbands dominated them, their behaviors, social reputation, and tolerance differed.
A character having an ability to be an influence of fatality is a dangerously powerful trait to have. The victim’s life is placed into the hands of the influencer. This power of fatality can be seen within Robert Frost’s poem, “Out, Out,” when a personified buzz saw cuts the hand off the boy using it. This injury causes him to die. This power of fatality can also be seen in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, “The Birthmark,” a scientist, named Aylmer creates a risky and unreliable potion that was expected to remove his wife’s birthmark but, it ultimately kills her. The saw and Aylmer’s power can be defined as the difference between life and death, in other words fate deciding. With this power also comes intimidation because being the cause
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.
When Georgiana learned of her husband’s disdain towards her birthmark she was devastated. Slowly, Aylmer manipulated Georgiana into believing that this mark would need to be removed. When Georgiana saw Aylmer looking at her she “shuttered at his gaze and her cheeks changed into a death-like paleness”. (Hawthorne 292) It seemed that Georgiana had a fear of Aylmer that made her extremely uneasy. Aylmer knew that staring at Georgiana would make
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.
She is considered by everyone to be perfect, but to Aylmer she isn't perfect because of her small birthmark on her cheek. This imperfection soon causes Aylmer to no longer see her beauty, but now he only sees flaws or the “crimson hand” on her cheek(Myriad). Georgiana didn't see her birthmark as an imperfection until Aylmer had mentioned it, ”To tell you the truth it has been so often called a char that I was simple enough to imagine it might be so.”(Hawthorne 1), and now Georgiana cannot be comfortable around her husband and wants him to remove the birthmark and never look at it again “Oh, spare me!, sadly replied his wife. “Pray do not look at it again. I never can forget that convulsive shudder”(Hawthorne 5).We see how Aylmer is controlled by obsession of the birthmark and Georgiana has become his project to achieve perfection, but in dark romanticism nature is not meant to be perfect. Aylmer also has a assistant named Aminadab who can be seen as “nature” or “earthiness” because he says “If she were my wife, I’d never part with that birthmark.”(Hawthorne 4). At the end of the story after Georgiana has died, laughter is heard and is a representation of nature laughing at sciences failure(Myriad). Hawthorne uses Aminadab to again show how nature won't allow perfection and his experiment is a warning to how science can go too
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.
Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote the short story “The Birthmark” in 1843 and it is set at a time when science was an emerging field. Science at that time was unexplainable and mysterious to the common person which lead to it being referred to as magic. One of the themes that is common in Hawthorne's work is the sinful nature and impurity that is at the heart of each person. Hawthorne shows the dilemma of the flawed nature of a person and the ultimate price of perfection that will be paid.
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.
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “The Birth Mark” shows readers the foolishness and selfishness of trying to create a perfect being and defying our creator. Nathaniel shows an example of this act by publishing this story of Aylmer and his non-perfect wife, who has a birth mark in the shape of a hand on her cheek. Aylmer is so disgusted with this mark that he soon begins to use science to take care of the problem. Throughout “The Birth Mark” Hawthorne performs different symbols that indicate Aylmer is just a human being and challenging God to make a perfect human will always lead to death.
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.
Without imperfections, there is no reason to live and the consequences following a quest for perfection can have immense consequences. Aylmer learns that perfection is an impossible feat when he attempts to remove his wife’s birthmark and in turn is responsible for her death. His obsession with perfection is the fatal flaw that many people possess and in his case leads to the loss of love and life, a lesson Hawthorne chose to prove within his writing of this
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