The Demise of Georgiana in the short story "The Birthmark" by Nathaniel Hawthorn

Essay by nikkay5vHigh School, 11th gradeA+, March 2003

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Essay Question: "The Birthmark"

When first reading "The Birthmark," Georgiana presents herself to be a somewhat admirable character. Unfortunately, as the story progresses, there are more and more things I can find that lead me to dislike her, along with the rest of the characters in this story. The source of all of Georgiana's unfavorable actions was merely her small, crimson, birthmark on her left cheek, which was far from her worst character flaw.

In fact, in the beginning of the story, Georgiana takes somewhat of a pride in her mark. Many lovers had told Georgiana that her the mark indicated how special and unique she was, and that led her to be fond of the little "fairy hand" she possessed. Her opinion is quickly changed as soon as Aylmer, her scientifically-driven husband shows disgust in the mark. What bothers me about this, is that Georgiana is so influenced by what people think of her, that she can really hold no opinion of her own.

Even about her self image. She develops into nothing but a weak, mindless woman.

Georgiana's esteem is also brought so low by Aylmer that towards the end of the story she says, "...I am of all mortals the most fit to die." I find it pathetic that because of a solitary (and potentially flattering) mark Georgiana is willing to risk her life to rid of it. It goes to show my second point and that is how shallow Georgiana is. With some thanks given to her husband, she began to believe that her looks dictated her place in life. That belief eventually evolved into the thought that her looks were more important than her life itself. And this morbid frame of mind led to her untimely death.

As soon as her...