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The Birthmark In this passage, excerpted from "The Birthmark," Nathaniel Hawthorne explains the essential cause that led to Georgiana's death.

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Introduction

The Birthmark In this passage, excerpted from "The Birthmark," Nathaniel Hawthorne explains the essential cause that led to Georgiana's death. Through his description of the characters and the symbols portrayed in the passage, we become familiarized to comprehend the true meaning of how greed can lead to disaster and destruction. Aylmer's ways of thinking show that he disapproves of the birthmark on Georgiana's face. Aylmer thinks that if the birthmark did not exist, his marriage with his wife "should have been the happiest." He finds it "disastrous" to even look at her face, and when he does, his mind fills up with "innumerable trains of thought" of ways he can get rid of the birthmark. ...read more.

Middle

Georgiana becomes weakened by the attention she receives from her husband. As Aylmer's eyes "[wander] stealthily," she "shudder[s] at his gaze." She notices that it is difficult to feel love from his "glance[s]." Just a look from her husband holds the authority to erase "the rose of her cheek into a deathlike paleness," and she "learn[s]" to adjust to the way she is treated. The self-confidence Georgiana has become entirely destroyed by her husband, and her actions are controlled even by the simplest expressions she receives from him. The more she adjusts to Aylmer's attitude towards her one negative trait, the more she desires to satisfy her him. Georgiana's belief causes her to go beyond the extreme, which eventually leads her into making a choice that destroys her life. ...read more.

Conclusion

Aylmer's stubbornness in not accepting Georgiana the way she is lures him to change who she is. Attempting to change another for one's benefit is wrong and the birthmark reminds us that nothing can be perfect. The more efforts we make into being perfect only leads us to want and desire more than what we need. Aylmer's selfishness is clearly shown, which gradually degrades Georgiana's self-worth. Hawthorne informs us from the beginning the dissatisfaction of Aylmer toward Georgiana. If Aylmer did not have such a strong influence on Georgiana, she would have never put her life in the line just to make him happy. Through this passage, we discover the cause of Georgiana's choice to drink Aylmer's remedy is to satisfy him and without this passage we would not be aware of how much influence Aylmer had on Georgiana. ...read more.

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