Main Themes in the Birth-Mark Novel

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In the short story The Birth-Mark Nathaniel Hawthorne brought to us several themes in this story, but the main theme we can see here in the passage is submission and sacrifices. The blindness obedience of women in the past to their husbands. Here the main idea of this passage is the wife’s wishes of being perfect as possible through her husband eyes, even if it means that to be perfect in his eyes might cause her own death. In the nineteenth century, the Christian household would obey their house leader or the father as close as God. Aylmer plays a good role in recognizing this fact and he acts as God. Aylmer knows that his wife will die but he doesn’t care at all his foolishness was a blinding his eyes. Adding Georgina’s reaction to Aylmer’s idea, Aylmer’s foolishness becomes bigger and bigger.

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        At the beginning of the story, Aylmer mentions his dream to Georgina of cutting of the birthmark that Georgina has on her check. As a result of this, the petty Georgina encourages her husband Aylmer to give it a try and make her flawless. This reaction of Georgians to Aylmer’s dream appeals because of her infinite obedience to her husband, not because of her agreeing to be flawless. The idea of being the house leader and get all the enthronement and obedience was controlling a lot of the Christian household in the nineteenth century. This is one of the main causes that affect Georgina’s actions toward her husband.

        In this passage, Aylmer brings Georgiana and immediately she faints in his laboratory. Aminadab appears in the story, as Aylmer’s assistant, he represents the nature of the acceptance of the things as they are (nothing is perfect, everyone has flaws). Which is the concept that Aylmer cannot stand it or see? When Georgiana wakes up and amazed by the beauty and the smell of the room that Aylmer prepared for her. It took Georgiana a moment to realizes where she is, and immediately she covers her birthmark with her hand while she is lying on the bed. She asks Aylmer to not look at her birthmark because she prefers to die instead of Aylmer looking at her with flaws. Aylmer starts to cheer her up by showing her some of his scientific experiments, these experiments turn out to be illusions that Aylmer’s mind has created. These illusions make Aylmer feels like he has some supernatural power over the world and nature. While Aylmer working, Aylmer start to talk about alchemy (the scientific branch that changes things into gold) Aylmer has faith in it and thinks that it is possible, but he also believes that it needs a huge moral sense for using it. Also, he believes that he could create another a life elixir that could change someone mortal, but to consider that, it could lead to a violation of nature and the misery of the drinker’s life. Georgina is surprised of Aylmer’s thoughts about these kinds of power, but Aylmer persuades her that he will never actually do these types of discoveries. He is just comparing these discoveries to the birthmark experiment as nothing compared to them. Aylmer is blind to the fact that his birthmark experiment has some moral consequences too. The life elixir and alchemy both have moral issues regarding it to the drinker, but Aylmer can’t see the moral effect of his experiment on his pride.

        While Aylmer is working, Georgiana’s eyes fall on the books placed on Aylmer’s lab, these books mention the history of other scientists who have some famous discoveries. All of these scientists have the same belief of having some kind of supernatural power over nature. These books demonstrate the long journey of the conflict between nature and science. In addition, of Aylmer who is trying to follow the same steps that the previous scientist has stepped. Georgiana as well starts to read some of Aylmer’s articles and realizes that he failed most of his goals of what he aimed for. The journal represents here the imperfection of Aylmer, he is totally far away of what he imagines of himself, despite the fact of requesting perfection from his pride. After reading Aylmer’s journals that are full of failure, Georgiana loves Aylmer more and more with is imperfection, even though he loves her less for who is she. Aylmer ger upset when he finds Georgiana reading his journal, Georgiana explains for his that nothing has changed the only thing that might change is her admiration of him will increase. The fact that Aylmer becomes very upset of Georgiana reading his journal, it might explain the reason why he wants to succeed in the birthmark experiment, he will have a perfect wife, which will make him close to perfection as well. Georgiana enters the inner room of the laboratory and gets amazed by the machines and instruments that she saw. Aylmer sees Georgiana in the inner room and become mad and suspect her of not trusting him enough. Georgiana replies that he is not confident about the experiment and he is just pretending, and she asked Aylmer to be honest with her because she will do anything he asked even if he asked her to drink poison. Here we can see again total submission of Georgiana to her husband. Furthermore, Georgiana’s feelings about her birthmark, she prefers to drink poison rather than having it on her face the rest of her life.  Aylmer says that he tried to treat the birthmark before but there was no result, and there is only one option which is dangerous. Georgiana starts to think about her husband and get amazed by him more, for searching for perfection rather than accepting something less. Which appears here that more Aylmer’s imperfection the more submission Georgiana has for him.

        Aylmer enter the room with a colorless liquid which is the medicine, Aylmer pours the liquid into a plant that has blemishes on its leaves, and the plants become totally pure green. All of this is just to assure to Georgiana that the cure is perfect. Georgiana tells Aylmer that he didn’t need to do that because she has a complete trust of him. She takes the liquid and drinks it, she loved the liquid and she says that he satisfies a dehydration she felt for a couple of days. After that falls into deep sleep, Aylmer starts writing down every in details all changes in his wife, he kissed Georgiana on her birthmark, even though he is disgusted from it, but all the sudden he feels connected to it. Slowly, the birthmark starts to fade like a shadow and disappear. Aylmer is enjoying his success, so he is finally meeting his goal. At the same time, the narrator explains that while the mark disappears there is also something beautiful is taken away from Georgiana’s face. Aylmer open the curtains and the sunlight goes through the windows to fall on Georgiana’s face, Aminadab starts congrats Aylmer on their success. The appearance of sunlight and nature together represents the power of nature. Georgiana opens her eyes and sees her reflection on the mirror, she felt glad burthen she started to worry and express her emotion to Aylmer, but he didn’t understand her, he felt that she must be glad because she is perfect now. Aylmer is in an unaware moment of happiness that he finally could’ve to make science and nature work together, and he believes that he just created a perfection.

        At the end Georgiana starts telling Aylmer that while he tries to get his high ambitions he rejected the best the earth could offer and she tells him that she is dying, her soul is connected to the birthmark, and now as the birthmark disappeared her soul is talking away from her body going up to heaven. While Georgiana is dying, she didn’t start blaming her husband on losing her life instead she comforts and praises him. Even though Aylmer has succeeded in his experiment, he didn’t but into account that perfection can’t exist on earth. Aylmer didn’t appreciate the best he had he was insatiable searching for perfection.

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Main Themes In The Birth-Mark Novel. (2020, Feb 26). Retrieved December 10, 2022 , from
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