Imperfections in The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

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Imperfections in The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Too often in this world does man attempt to perfect nature. Tampering with this sort of element most commonly leads to a disaster to come extent. Because man is never satisfied, he is constantly vying for perfection, regardless of the outcome. Such is the case in Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story, 'The Birthmark.' Aylmer's persistent attempt to perfect nature is the cause of Georgiana's demise and the affirmation that when man tampers with such a powerful component terrible things may occur.

In this short story, Hawthorne uses symbolism to emphasize the strange shape of the 'earthly imperfection' (204) and his desperate need to change it. The shape of the birthmark 'bore a
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He simply continues on his way to perfect nature?s imperfections.

Aside from Hawthorne?s use of symbolism, his extensive use of imagery also contributes to the notion that man cannot perfect nature. Aylmer?s true goal in this story is to force Georgiana to believe that her birthmark is ?a symbol of [her] liability to sin, sorrow, decay, and death? (204) and she must rid herself of it. He creates this image in order to brainwash her into believing that it is a ?dreadful hand? (207), and she, too, should wish it away. Finally, after gazing at, and studying the birthmark, this horrible image in which Aylmer had implanted in the mind of his lovely wife has become all too unbearable. Georgiana, feeling unworthy of her husband, freely surrenders herself to Aylmer and his science. ?Either remove this dreadful hand, or take my wretched life,? (207) she tells him, while rationalizing the validity of science on such a thing. Another image Hawthorne makes use of, in order to potentially change the mind of Georgiana, is that of the geranium, once diseased with yellow spots of death, is now full of life. The diseased flower symbolizes, in the eyes of Aylmer, a diseased Georgiana.

Another tool that Hawthorne brings into use in ?The Birthmark? in order to show difference between the two characters is conflict. Throughout this short story, both Georgiana and Aylmer are at

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