Barn Burning

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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"The Birthmark" "The Birthmark" by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a story about the strive for perfection.

Aylmers obsession with his wives perfection blinds him to her beauty, and ultimately consumes both of their lives entirely. In the end Aylmers questionable psychological state and his obsession with his wives imperfection leads to her death.

When looking at the story from a psychological standpoint, it can be said that Aylmer is troubled with some type of psychological problems. The behavior he exhibits throughout the story seems to be characteristic of obsessive compulsive disorder. The symptoms of this particular disorder can be seen in how the small mark of imperfection upon his wives cheek seems to completely consume his every thought, and it seems his obsession has turned his love for his wife into repulsion.

It has been suggested that the motives behind such compulsive behaviors is often some personal problem with which one has trouble dealing with, or even recognizing.

The particular dilemma Aylmer may be facing could be his failure as a scientist in his own mind. While reading his journal his wife observes that "Much as he had accomplished, she could not but observe that his most splendid successes were almost invariably failures," and it is said, "and felt to be so by himself". Aylmer seems to be obsessed with the perfection of his wife. This dose not seem to be the only motivation behind his search for a cure to his wives imperfection. Through his success, he hopes to achieve perfection as a scientist. I believe it is this poor psychological state is what prevented Aylmer from putting his wives safety before his own need for perfection.