Hawthorne's "The Birthmark" within the Time Book Review by scribbler

Reviews Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "The Birthmark", published in 1843, which presents an archetype of appropriate behaviors.
# 151810 | 2,240 words | 8 sources | APA | 2012 | US
Published on Sep 27, 2012 in Literature (American) , English (Analysis)

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This paper discusses the plot, symbolism, philosophical context and political subtext of Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "The Birthmark". Next, the author compares this work to Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein". The paper concludes that, even though Hawthorne believed that perfection was possible and attainable, the beauty of the human spirit does not come through in his selection of either a venue or cast of characters for "The Birthmark".

Table of Contents:
Plot Review - "The Birthmark"
Symbolism in "The Birthmark"
Nature, the Natural Order, and Society
Natural Rights as a Consequence in "The Birthmark"

From the Paper:

"The short story was first published in 1843, and is primarily and examination of the obsession with human perfection by both the individual and society (culture). It tells of Georgiana, a beautiful woman who has a birthmark on her cheek. Men are quite attracted to Georgiana, but her husband, an analytical man and scientist named Aylmer, focuses upon the birthmark and begins a long evolutionary process of detesting the symbol on her face.
"Eventually, this negativity transfers to Georgiana, causing her to ask Aylmer to remove it. They are helped by Aylmer's assistant, Aminadab, who believes he would not have the birthmark removed. After several days of "testing," Aylmer prepares a liquid medicine for Georgiana. She drinks the potion, and the birthmark fades, but also does her corporeal life, she dies calmly - and certainly without a birthmark. Thus, Aylmer loses a precious part of his life because of his seeking one moment of pure perfection which, taken reasonably, was neither perfect nor lengthy - it was fleeing and sparse, and therefore not worth the price of a life."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Berlant, L. (1991). The Anatomy of National Fantasy: Hawthorne, Utopia and EverydayLife. University of Chicago Press.
  • Cassier, E. et. al. (1968). The Philosophy of the Enlightenment, Princeton University Press.
  • Crew, F. (1989). The Sins of the Fathers: Hawthorne's Psychological Themes. UniversityOf California Press.
  • Gay, P. (1996). The Enlightenment: The Science of Freedom. Norton.
  • Gee, Ellen, (2007), "Life Expectancy," cited in www.deathreference.com.

Cite this Book Review:

APA Format

Hawthorne's "The Birthmark" within the Time (2012, September 27) Retrieved May 18, 2021, from https://www.academon.com/book-review/hawthorne-the-birthmark-within-the-time-151810/

MLA Format

"Hawthorne's "The Birthmark" within the Time" 27 September 2012. Web. 18 May. 2021. <https://www.academon.com/book-review/hawthorne-the-birthmark-within-the-time-151810/>