Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology
Professor Steven Homan
15 December 2017
Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Birthmark" focuses on how dangerous or even deadly love can be if it turns into an obsession. Both of the main characters, Aylmer and Georgiana, allowed their love to turn into an infatuation and as a result it cost Georgiana her life. The story highlights the human nature and how we are designed to be flawed; yet we still try to reach the unattainable, perfection. Hawthorne achieves his purpose through the use of foreshadowing and allusion to help the reader better understand how human emotion and drive work. The main character of “The Birthmark”, Aylmer, decides to step back into his past life of being a scientist and attempts to create the ideal women. He ultimately fails because perfection only exists in God’s world, not on earth.
To begin with, the author executes his purpose through the use of foreshadowing to convey the message that if you try to strive for perfection, you will fail no matter how close you think you are. During the short story, Aylmer has a dream that he attempted to remove his wife’s birthmark by drilling it out, apparently the birthmark ran so deep inside her that when he drilled it out she died. Later on in the story he approached the same unachievable goal a different way. He gave Georgiana a potion which indeed removed her only flaw and as a result killed her. Hawthorne’s use of foreshadowing in his short story portrays the concept of immediate failure when trying to play God. Looking further into Aylmer’s dream, the reader can view Georgiana’s birthmark as a symbol that represents her and who she is. “To explain this conversation, it must be mentioned that in the centre of Georgiana's left cheek there was a singular mark, deeply interwoven, as it were, with the texture and substance of her face” (7). Since the birthmark ran so deep inside her it makes the reader think if she would even be the same without it. Another example of foreshadowing is when Hawthorne includes Aylmer’s past experiments and how even though they were all so close to achieving its purpose, somehow, they always failed; proving that being and attaining perfection is not possible.
The author also illustrates how love can easily turn into obsession multiple times in the story. One clear example is Aylmer’s love for science and fixing things. In the short story Hawthorne adds how Aylmer wound spend an excessive amount of time in his lab with his assistant. Even the way Aylmer described his assistant planted the idea that Aylmer might have a thing for his assistant into the reader’s head. The author mentioned that Aylmer would spend more time playing with science than spending time with his own wife. Leading onto the next idea that Aylmer might of never love Georgiana to begin with. He might of just been in love with the idea of removing her flaw and...