Humanity In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Birthmark

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Humanity possesses innate flaws that define our existence. Failure to recognize and understand the significance of these imperfections would be degrading to our very existence as human beings. This is prevalent Nathaniel Hawthorne’s work, where he demonstrates his disdain with the Puritan rationale and promotes a society-wide communal tolerance, one directly conflicting with Puritanical structure. Hawthorne expresses his utter revulsion with the theological foundation of Puritanism and their reprehensible intolerance for sinners. Directly in conflict with Hawthorne’s beliefs, Jonathan Edwards, a Puritan cleric, coerced fear into his congregation through his vast imagery portraying doom for the non-converted, escalating the abhorrence felt for…show more content…
In the beginning of the story, Georgiana’s hand is described in a peculiar manner. “Its shape bore not a little similarity to the human hand” (Hawthorne 1). This quote not only describes the shape of her birthmark as a hand, but alludes to the hand of God, who fashioned her existence, and what Aylmer sees as a predicament, marks her mortality and humanity. Hawthorne suggests a complexity to Georgiana’s being to further support to his idea that imperfections hold significance. "And then, most beloved what will be my triumph when I shall have corrected what Nature left imperfect in her fairest work” (4). Aylmer expresses his desire to correct an error at the hands of nature. He becomes obsessed with achieving perfections, engrossed within his “God complex”, that he ultimately causes his wife’s death. “With her whole spirit she prayed that, for a single moment, she might satisfy his highest and deepest conception. Longer than one moment she well knew it could not be; for his spirit was ever on the march, ever ascending, requiring something that was beyond the scope of the instant before” (17). This quote is perhaps the most significant in this story, for it elaborates on the ill-fated goal of perfection. The narrator describes this perfection Aylmer sought after, although would be theoretically be instantly gratifying, would not provide a long term satisfaction and lead to more greed. It seems as if the birthmark was not there in the first place, Aylmer’s obsession for perfection would persist. This shows that perfection is an unrealistic goal that is conceived of greed. We must not seek perfection, or we would be stripping ourselves of our flaw, which defines our imperfect

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