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First Paper The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Jesse Chan February 27, 2003 Professor Norman Lewis Spring 2003 English 120 First Paper - "The Birthmark" by Nathaniel Hawthorne As human beings, we are NOT perfect! It is part of our nature to be flawed one way or another. But there are some who choose to believe the opposing view. The theme of Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "The Birthmark" is how humans fight forcefully against Nature for perfection. It is those humans who, eventually, learn that Nature cannot be changed or revised. Aylmer was a famous scientist and philosopher who achieved great wonders. All his life, he has made remarkable discoveries and won numerous awards. His life revolved around two deep passions - the love for Nature [perfection] and the love for his wife, Georgiana [imperfection]. He believes the world is perfect, but little does he realize his life is rather imperfect. Georgiana is a very beautiful woman who loved her husband dearly. She was indeed beautiful with the exception of one flaw - her birthmark. This single mark lied on her left white cheek that resembled the shape of a hand. This mark is known as the "crimson hand". Her beauty is imperfect because of this "fatal mark". ...read more.


The "bloody hand" destroyed her beauty and makes her imperfect rather than perfect. It is very ugly to the point that it strongly hinders her beauty. In his eye, the mark took away her beauty. The quote [p. 310] "If she were my wife, I'd never part with that birthmark" shows that there are those who will leave the birthmark on Georgiana since she is still very pretty with it. People, such as Aminadab, are satisfied with how she looks with the birthmark. He understands nothing should be pushed beyond the limit. In other words, nothing should be taken granted of. And this is what Aylmer lacks. The quote [p. 308] "I am convinced of the perfect practicability of its removal" and [p. 309] "I feel myself fully competent to render this dear check as faultless as its fellow; and then, most beloved, what will be my triumph when I shall have corrected what Nature left imperfect in her fairest work!" illustrates Aylmer's thoughts before the he mixed up the concoction for Georgiana. He believes she will be perfect if the mark is to be removed. He also believes it is his duty to finish up what Nature didn't and that is Georgiana's beauty. ...read more.


I guess that is because I put too much bleach and Clorox. I was so upset with myself. I couldn't believe I ruined my favorite shirt only because I tried too hard for it to be perfect. Yes, humans do indeed have conflicts with Nature, but never try to perfect things. We should learn to accept things the way they are. In Aylmer's case, he didn't accept Georgiana's beauty mark. His selfishness and arrogance cost him his wife's life. Knowing that the concoction is dangerous, he proceeds with it instead of accepting his wife's beauty. He took his wife's beauty for granted and he paid for his consequences. In a sense, Nature is just like fate. It has been already set up and there is no point to try to change it. Nature cannot be changed and shouldn't be attempted to be changed. Of course, there are always consequences in trying to change something that has already been set up. The more one tries to alter Nature, the more they will hurt themselves and others around them. In another sense, Nature is like God. Nature is similar to God because it is a concept one must comprehend. Nobody can take the place of God and the same mentality should be understood for Nature as well. Nature cannot be changed nor can God be replaced. Nature and God are things one can just accept. ...read more.

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