The Birthmark is a short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne that was first published in 1843. The story’s protagonist, Aylmer, is a scientist who is obsessed with eliminating all imperfections from his life – including his wife Georgiana’s birthmark, which he sees as a blemish on her otherwise perfect skin. Aylmer’s obsession leads him to experiment on Georgiana in an attempt to remove the birthmark, but the results are disastrous.
The story is full of symbolism, and the birthmark itself is symbolic of the imperfection of human beings. The fact that Aylmer is willing to risk his wife’s life in order to remove a small blemish from her skin shows the lengths to which he will go in order to achieve perfection. The story ends with Georgiana’s death, and Aylmer’s realization that he has lost the one thing that was most important to him in his quest for perfection.
There have been several novelists who have astounded the literary world with their anthologies of brief tales, but no one has mastered the art as well as Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hawthorne lived in a period when Frederick Douglas was paving the way for racial freedom, Ralph Waldo Emerson sought to see the world through glass rather than dogma, and Henry David Thoreau was living an unbridled life.
The Birthmark is one of Hawthornes best known stories, and with good reason. The story addresses issues such as science and its dangers, mans obsession with perfection, and gender roles. The Birthmark is a story that will be read and analyzed for years to come because of its excellent use of symbolism.
The most obvious symbol in The Birthmark is the birthmark itself. The birthmark is a small red mark in the shape of a hand on Georgiana Chesters cheek. The birthmark is seen as a flaw by both Georgiana and her husband, Aylmer. To Aylmer, the birthmark is a sign that nature has not been perfected and he must fix it. Aylmer sees his wife as a science experiment that he can perfect.
Georgiana, on the other hand, views the birthmark as a physical manifestation of her husbands low opinion of her. The birthmark comes to represent the different ways that Aylmer and Georgiana view themselves. For Aylmer, it is a sign of imperfection that needs to be corrected while for Georgiana it is a part of herself that she cannot change.
Another important symbol in The Birthmark is the laboratory where Aylmer works on his experiments. The laboratory is seen as a place where nature can be controlled and perfected. It is also a place where Aylmer feels most at home. The laboratory represents mans attempt to control nature and make it perfect. The laboratory is also a symbol of mans inhumanity.
The laboratory is where Aylmer works to create a potion that will remove the birthmark from Georgiana. In the process, he neglects Georgiana and she dies. The laboratory is a place where Aylmer put his obsession with perfection above everything else, even his own wife.
The last important symbol in The Birthmark is Aylmers garden. The garden is a place where nature is beautiful and perfect. The garden represents what Aylmer wants for Georgiana. He wants her to be perfect and free from any flaws. The garden is also a symbol of death. Georgiana dies in the garden after taking the potion that Aylmer made for her. The garden represents both Aylmers obsession with perfection and his ultimate failure.
The Birthmark is a story that is rich in symbolism. The symbols in the story represent the different themes that Hawthorne is exploring. The birthmark represents mans obsession with perfection, the laboratory represents mans inhumanity, and the garden represents Aylmers ultimate failure. The symbols in The Birthmark help to create a complex and intriguing story that will be remembered for years to come.
The short story, The Birthmark, is a perfect illustration of Hawthorne conveying contemporary concerns through the use of symbols and themes. Through his employment of symbolism, Hawthorne addresses humanity’s fatal flaw: that nature imposes upon everyone. The theme of the tale deals with man influencing nature.
The symbol of the birthmark shows how even though nature is flawed, it should be accepted. The theme of the story speaks to the idea that humans are flawed and that accepting those flaws is part of what makes us human. The use of these symbols and themes allows Hawthorne to create a modern tale that speaks to issues that are still relevant today.
The birthmark itself is a symbol for many things throughout the story, such as natures imperfections, Georgiana being a victim to Aylmers obsession, and also science being put ahead of nature. The birthmark is used by Hawthorne as a way to contrast Aylmers obsessions with perfection and Georgiana accepting her natural state. The birthmark represents the flaw in human nature and how we are all imperfect.
Georgiana was a beautiful woman, who was almost perfect in every way. The one thing that marred her beauty was a small red birthmark on her cheek. The birthmark was in the shape of a hand and was said to be “the fatal handiwork of Nature” (Hawthorne). The birthmark was a symbol of the imperfection of human nature. Georgiana was a victim of Aylmer’s obsession with perfection.
He was so obsessed with removing the birthmark that he was willing to put her life in danger. The birthmark also represented science being put ahead of nature. Aylmer was so focused on his experiment that he was willing to sacrifice Georgiana’s life for it. The birthmark is a symbol of the flaw in human nature and how we are all imperfect.
She is a creature who, in his eyes, lacks nothing and hence has no flaws. Returning to her after she had been gone for many years, he was astonished by what he found. Aylmer can’t abide the concept of finding a way to get rid of Georgiana’s blemish since it makes her seem practically perfect in his opinion. My dearest Georgiana, you came so close to ideal form Nature’s hands that this minor possible fault-which we debate if to term a flaw or beauty-shocks me as being the visible sign of earthly imperfection.
The birthmark is a physical embodiment of Georgiana’s human imperfection, which Aylmer finds so abhorrent. The fact that it is in the shape of a small hand only furthers Aylmer’s obsession with removing it, as he sees it as a symbol of Georgiana’s mortality.
Aylmer is not the only one who views the birthmark as a negative symbol. When Georgiana first shows her husband her birthmark, she interprets his reaction through the lens of her own insecurity: Did you not remark a singular expression in Aylmer’s eye when he beheld the hand-like impression? I fancied that there was more trouble in it than admiration (2224). To Georgiana, the birthmark is a symbol of her own inadequacy, an physical imperfection that she must hide from the world.
The birthmark itself is not necessarily a negative symbol; in fact, Hawthorne uses it to represent the duality of human nature. The birthmark can be seen as a symbol of Georgiana’s mortality, as Aylmer views it, or it can be seen as a symbol of Georgiana’s humanity, as Georgiana herself views it. The birthmark is also a physical embodiment of the conflict between Aylmer and Georgiana’s different view of perfection.
To Aylmer, perfection is something that can be achieved through science and technology; to Georgiana, perfection is something that comes from within. The birthmark is a symbol of the different ways that Aylmer and Georgiana view perfection, and ultimately, it is a symbol of the different ways that they view life.
With each breath that Georgiana took, the birthmark dissipated and her life returned. Aylmers’ devotion to manipulating nature was the undoing of his real love. Hawthorne demonstrates how nature will always triumph in the end using symbols to illustrate contemporary problems. Man may have control over nature, but man will never come out ahead. Hawthorne not only expresses current issues through his story’s thema, but he also employs symbols to do so
The birthmark itself is a symbol for Aylmers obsession with science and his inability to accept anything less than perfection. The birthmark is also a symbol of Georgiana’s human imperfection, which Aylmer cannot accept. The overall theme of The Birthmark is that man should not try to control nature, because nature will always find a way to win in the end. The symbols in The Birthmark help to express this theme and show the reader the contemporary issues that Hawthorne was exploring.