Hawthorn The Birthmark

Essay by kate08742University, Bachelor'sA+, April 2004

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In the Christian religion the Lord took the ability to obtain perfection away with the first sins of Adam and Eve. In the Birthmark, however, by Nathaniel Hawthorn, the main character Alymer refuses to accept the fact that imperfection is a natural part of life. After marrying a beautiful woman he begins to notice nothing but a small birthmark on her cheek, detesting it, and her for bearing it, more and more each time he looks at it. Throughout the course of the story Georgiana becomes increasingly more insecure with herself as a result of Alymer's disgust with her face. We see her transform from a strong, self secure person, to a pitiful mess of a human being all too quickly. Her character brings to light a conflict between God's intolerance of human beings who long to reach a godlike plateau of perfection and societies un acceptance of those who noticeably lack that perfection

When beginning the story, Georgiana seems a somewhat admirable character.

She takes pride in her small hand shaped birthmark. When Alymer asks her if she had ever considered removing it she says it was so often referred to as a charm she had come to believe it might be so. The birthmark represents our inner human being. We, the people who bear the birthmark, as Georgiana is in the story, have accepted ourselves. That is until someone or thing, Alymer in the story, society in life, affects us in a way that persuades us to change our minds and conform, turning away from what we originally believe in.

Georgiana begins obsessing over her birthmark until finally Alymer creates a possible way to remove it. Despite constant failures in testing the method Georgiana decides to undergo the procedure anyway, claiming she'd rather die than live with...