Misguided Beliefs In The Birthmark By Nathaniel Hawthorne

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In the short story “The Birthmark” the author Nathaniel Hawthorne gives the readers a quite cliché ending of a science experiment gone awry even in the mid 1800’s. The story zooms in on a young married couple; a vibrant scientist named Aylmer and his lovely wife Georgiana. Aylmer confesses to Georgiana that he isn’t fond of a small hand-like figure birthmark on her face. Aylmer believes he can remove the birthmark in a science experiment and make her as beautiful as nature intended her to be. Georgiana agrees to remove the birthmark in this experiment which ultimately leads to the removal of the birthmark, but also brings death to Georgiana. In “The Birthmark” Nathaniel Hawthorne creates the fictional character Aylmer whose misguided beliefs …show more content…
Throughout Hawthorne’s short story there are numerous nature and spiritual references throughout the story this may lead readers to believe that Aylmer was obsessed with nature and its creations. In one instance Hawthorne states, “Aylmer possessed this degree of faith in man’s ultimate control over nature” (613). Some readers may even go to the extreme and say Aylmer considered it a way of living. Likewise literary critic Liz Rosenburg author of “The Best the Earth Could Offer” states, “The struggles of the protagonist, an idealist who searches for control over nature, is portrayed in terms of alchemy, animism and transcendentalism” (par.1). Moreover Aylmer confesses that the birthmark is the cause of his agony, but in reality it could be the fact that nature had created such an imperfection on a near perfect face he felt obliged to correct it. I believe Aylmer uses Georgiana as a sort of substitution to fix what is wrong with nature. For example Aylmer states, “Georgiana you have led me deeper than ever into the heart of science. I feel myself fully competent to render this dear cheek as faultess 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!”(616). According to Aylmer, Georgiana is the reason that he is led deeper into the heart of science, but not the inspiration way as a wife should be more as a participation and focal point in a science experiment . If it wasn’t for Georgiana and her imperfection Aylmer would have probably concocted another experiment to relieve the world of yet another one of nature’s imperfections, however for now Aylmer used Georgiana as just another science experiment resulting in her

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