What Is The Moral In Washington Irving's The Birthmark By Nathaniel Hawthorne

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The heart of a story lies in the moral. Once a story has been read, the reader must understand the moral, in order to appreciate the story. Sometimes a story 's moral can be explained with a cliché. Washington Irving 's Rip Van Winkle, can be captured by the cliché, you reap what you sow. Rip 's life was not fruitful, as many years were wasted, causing him to not reap any rewards. The Birthmark, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, follows a man plagued by the obsession to remove his wife 's birthmark, in order to achieve perfection. This story 's moral is easily explained by the cliché, don 't look a gift horse in the mouth. Both The Birth-Mark and Rip Van Winkle can be well summarized by the use of clichés.

Rip Van Winkle, a man living in the Kaatskill
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Rip finds contentment in assisting others, or letting days pass, just living in the moment. He does not find his lifestyle a setback, since "he was a great favourite among all the good wives," and "the children of the village, too, would shout with joy" whenever they saw him (Irving). Winkle has many fans, however his family does not appreciate all the time spent helping everyone else. His family life suffered as they were poor, and his wife endlessly nagged her husband to shape up. Already, it is easy to see how, you reap what you sow, applies to this story. Rip "would never even refuse to assist a neighbour in the roughest toil," placing all his energy on other people 's problems. The community receives Rip with open arms, since he is so willing to help, providing Rip with a distraction from his failing farm. Whenever life became unfavorable, Rip would "take gun in hand, and stroll away into the woods." Rip did not appreciate his family, his farm, or his ability to work. His negligence, allowed these aspects of his life to fail. In order to escape his responsibility, Winkle would wander into the woods and drink. "One taste provoked another", and "he fell into a deep sleep." Rip describes his life for 20 …show more content…
Aylmer is a scientist who has been given the gift of a graceful, as well as, beautiful wife named Georgiana. He becomes transfixed with a birthmark on her cheek, and believes it takes away from her beauty. Georgiana explains to Alymer that, the birthmark had "been so often called a charm." Alymer disagrees, calling it a "visible mark of earthly imperfection." Georgiana 's family and friends tell her that "some fairy, at her birth-hour, had laid her tiny hand upon the infant 's cheek," which in turn would make others love her even more. Many men would have "risked their life for the privilege of pressing his lips on the mysterious hand." It is plain to see, to most people, that this hand print birth mark is nothing other than a gift. The imperfection only makes Georgiana more alluring, and more unique. Alymer, however, can only regard the mark, as a curse. Over time this mark just bothers him more. He states that she is "otherwise so perfect," that "he found this one defect grow more and more intolerable." His obsession with the mark took away from his love for his wife. She loved him enough, to allow him to go through with the process of removing this birth mark. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, amounts to how people can often find fault in everything, even a gift. Georgiana was a gift to Alymer, loving and caring for him, although his

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