Perfection In Rappaccini's Daughter And The Birthmark

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Nathaniel Hawthorne, in his two short stories, Rappaccini's Daughter and The Birthmark, highlights the theme of imperfection and humanity’s obsession with perfection. He goes to great lengths to highlight certain imperfections, and then explores the ramifications of obsessing over it. Aylmer can’t help but notice and react with disgust to his wife’s mark. His mad rage to fix it ends up costing his new wife her life, and leading him to lose more than he thought he had. Rappaccini disrupts the purity of his daughter’s humanity by poisoning her until the poison had incorporated itself into her very being. He does this to his own daughter as an experiment and for his own practicality without regarding her own well being. These two people react…show more content…
“‘Georgina,’ said he, ‘has it ever occurred to you that the mark on your cheek might be removed?’” Georgina assumes he is joking at first, but upon realizing the seriousness of his inquiry, becomes embarrassed by it. When Aylmer goes on to say that it is shocking that such a mark ruins an otherwise perfectly gorgeous face, she becomes momentarily irate, then deeply saddened. She asks him why he married her if such a mark bothered him the way it did, and then declared, “You cannot love what shocks you!” Hawthorne goes in to describe the mark in great detail. He depicts it as a touch of red on an otherwise clear face, and says it is as if a fairy had dropped by and delivered the mark with its touch while she slept as an infant. Aylmer pushes the issue of the birthmark so hard Georgina finally breaks down and agrees to let him try and remove. They both know going into it that there is a chance of failure or death. Aylmer is not deterred due to his obsession with it, and Georgina does not want to live with a marriage where he does not consider her to be beautiful anymore. Aylmer spends a lot of time creating his cure, and eventually uses it on her. It works and she awakes without a birthmark. She tells him she does not feel good, and dies shortly

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