Georgina's Submissive Code In The Birthmark By Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Georgina’s Submissive Code Georgiana learns shortly after marrying Aylmer that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder in “The Birthmark” written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The hand shaped birthmark on Georgiana’s cheek has a chokehold on Aylmer. He believes this physical mark is the hideous flaw of mortality. Georgiana is devastated by his opinion, and would rather die than be a nuisance to Aylmer. He has confidence that he can exterminate the birthmark, but in doing so he kills his innocent wife (Mays). “The Birthmark” was published in 1843. Hawthorne is very reliant on social structures of the time period in this short story. Women were believed to be the second sex placed on this earth to please men. Georgiana could not do the one thing women were supposed to with the…show more content…
Men constantly attempt to idealize women, but simply fail in transcendence just as Aylmer did (Fetterley). There are two common roles of women used in literature in western societies: Mary, mother of Jesus, and Eve, Adam’s partner. Mary and Eve both receive their identities from masculine figures in their lives. Hawthorne creates Georgiana as a combination of these women (Skredsvig). The sinful nature of Eve is represented in Georgiana through the birthmark, the symbol of original sin. Also Eve’s curiosity is displayed in Georgiana when she is impelled to follow Aylmer to the laboratory. Aylmer is offend by her intrusion, and orders her back to the boudoir. Although this room is decorated and perfumed, it serves as limit of space in Aylmer’s realm (Mays). Men often dictate women’s place in the world, similar to Aylmer in his laboratory (Skredsvig). Georgiana also personifies Mary by accepting her female role to be supportive, submissive, and gentle to her husband. Georgiana takes responsibility and feels guilty for her sin. She puts herself up for sacrifice as a form

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