The Birth Mark By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

1141 Words Sep 25th, 2015 5 Pages
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “The Birth-Mark” is a story symbolic of society’s tendency to put pressure on an individual to conform. Georgiana is an ideal wife; she is beautiful, jubilant, and, most of all, prioritizes her husband’s happiness above her own. She is shocked to learn that her husband, Aylmer, finds her birthmark appalling, and when he proposes to experiment on it, she is willing to subject herself to the tests to please him. Eventually, though Aylmer is able to eradicate the mark he feels disfigures her face, he loses the woman he claims to love because he refuses to accept her slight imperfection. In the same sense, humanity is a vast and beautiful combination of charm, wit, and, most essentially, diversity; attempting eradicate that diversity would end only with the eradication of the world as we know it- vibrant, motley, and proud of self-expression.
The setting and symbolism of “The Birth- Mark” create allegory by the subtle changes in atmosphere and the character’s interactions and reactions. Setting is a very integral part in this story. The noticeable changes of setting drastically affect the mood of the piece overall. Multiple times the characters are influenced by their atmosphere, and the story would have lacked a dark edge if the setting had not been adequately adapted to this mood (Weinstein 45). When the setting changed, the experiments typically became increasingly more intense and life threatening to Georgiana, who never said a word to stop…

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