Symbolism In The Birthmark

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Perfection vs. Morality In the short story “The Birth-Mark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne the writer tells the twisted story of Alymer who aims for ultimate perfection for his wife Georgina. Alymer a scientist and philosopher experiments on his beautiful wife Georgiana, when he finds a particularly flawed red birthmark on her cheek shaped like a tiny-hand. The story provides the reader with the thoughts of each character and contrasts them with each others views of perfection and morality while adequately using symbolism throughout. Not only does Hawthorne conceal symbolism in the text but he clearly states that the birthmark is symbolic and that every living thing is flawed in some way or another while also hinting that the description of the birthmark symbolizes and foreshadows the hand of death in Georgiana’s life. Furthermore,…show more content…
Found in many pages the narrator describes all the trouble Alymer is going to, to get rid of it. Through the many tests and concoctions the birthmark disappears only to be followed by death. To interpret in a more symbolic way, Alymer wants Georgiana to become something no living being can become, perfect. In return he overlooks all the sins and faults of his own while doing so. On one page Alymer is describing to his wife what exactly is wrong with her and says that she displays a defect, again reiterating the fact that he does not at all look at the mistakes he makes. “No, dearest Georgiana, you came so nearly perfect from the hand of nature, that this slightest possible defect, which we hesitate whether to term a defect or a beauty, shocks me, as being the visible mark of earthly imperfection.” (Hawthorne 352) Alymer, comes off highly ironic and does not realize that Georgiana’s inner beauty is what is actually important, not just her physical appearance. This quote emphasizes Aylmer's lack of wisdom not just of good morals but ultimately life
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