Essay about The Birthmark

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 A Story of Love and Science A Story of Love and Science      Nathaniel Hawthorne is a nineteenth century American Novelist whose works are deeply concerned with the ethical problems of sin, punishment, and atonement (Adams 168). The New England writer also handles the romantic theme very well and is a master of historical fiction. Hawthorne was a descendant of one of the judges at the Salem witch trials, and he set many of his works in Puritan New England and during early crises in American history (Encarta).      “The Birthmark,” like many of Hawthorne’s stories deals with the relationship between men and women. It is a love story …show more content…

Her only defect is a birthmark, shaped like a tiny reddish hand, on her cheek. Aylmer is obsessed with this imperfection and longs to get rid of it. He would sooner have Georgiana dead than impure (Jones 194). When he sees the birthmark Aylmer cannot restrain “a strong convulsive shudder.” He thinks it is “intolerable” and it “shocks” him. It is a “frightful object,” (Hawthorne 204-205). Not long after the wedding day, Aylmer comes to a haunting awareness of “his wife’s liability to sin, sorrow, decay and death” (Hawthorne 205), symbolized by the tiny birthmark on her cheek. This mark becomes to him “the spectral Hand that wrote mortality, where he would fain have worshiped” (205). Aylmer’s personality resists this: His lifelong search, Hawthorne suggests, has been for “ultimate control over nature” (203).      Aylmer is unable to reconcile himself to this imperfection, and Georgiana, made unhappy also by his dissatisfaction, urges him to use his esoteric powers to try removing it (Adams 169). He succeeds in doing this, but when the birthmark fades away, and her beauty is flawless, she dies. She does not blame her husband for his doings. “My poor Aylmer,” she says, “‘you have aimed loftily; you have done nobly. Do not repent that with so high and pure a feeling, you have rejected the best earth could offer. Aylmer, dearest

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