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The Birthmark Critical Analysis and Research Paper

Autor:   •  November 29, 2011  •  Essay  •  958 Words (4 Pages)  •  2,755 Views

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The Birthmark Critical Analysis and Research Paper

Would you change yourself for the one you love? Many would argue that one's lover should accept them as they are. We are imperfect individuals, it would be a vain pursuit to change oneself for another's satisfaction. However, love can be blind and make our actions seem quite unclear to those around us. In The Birthmark, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses plot and conflict to demonstrate that in trying to achieve perfection Alymer becomes a neglectful husband who causes ill effects to his wife Georgiana who idolizes him.

In the beginning of the story, Alymer discovers a new pursuit of perfection in the idea of ridding his wife of a birthmark. Alymer is a dedicated scientist, who briefly gave up his scientific endeavors to pursue Georgiana. The more intimate the story becomes, we being to see that Alymer tends to need a fascination to experiment with, or perfect. His first fascination was Georgiana, whom he was obviously intrigued with to step away from his laboratory for. Once he obtained her hand in marriage though, he began to have a new fascination with removing her birthmark. He grew to hate the sight of it, and as time increased, he devised a plan to make his imperfectly human wife into the perfect woman. After mentioning his idea to remove her birthmark, he says "you came so nearly perfect from the hand of Nature that this slightest possible defect… shocks me, as being the visible mark of earthly imperfection" (Hawthorne ). Alfred Reid also proposes the same idea of Alymer's idiosyncrasies in Hawthorne's Humanism when he states "The more nearly perfect in mind and body the beloved is, the more obvious is one slight perfection. Since one cannot go directly to God, who is the greatest perfection, one must do the next best thing and love the most perfect soul possible, who is the true image of God" (Reid 343). Although it is unknown if Alymer was religious in this story, he was trying to fulfill something that only a deity could obtain; perfection. It is the downfall of man, to be flawed. Yet Alymer could not accept this fate for himself or Georgiana. He relied on his studies and experiments to create a solution for this perfect desire but consistently came fell short when it came to results. However, Alymer is not the only character in The Birthmark who strived for perfection.

After the mention of removing her Birthmark, Alymer convinces Georgiana that she deserves perfection, and the thought overtakes her. Before they were married, it seems that many men pursued Georgiana. There are no indications that Georgiana was dissatisfied with her birthmark so much to remove it before her marriage to Alymer. However, the more that Alymer mentions it, and the more she sees his disgust with

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