Birthmark By Hawthorne Essay Research Paper How

Birthmark By Hawthorne Essay, Research Paper

How does Hawthorne in the "Birthmark" use Irony, Ambiguity, Paradox,

and Symbol? Ambiguity: Two different interpretations can be used to describe

Georgiana?s character. At first she seems to be a strong confident women who

is very self assured. Only after the constant focus of her husband?s attention

to her birthmark, does she begin to willow away. When Aylmer gives her the

elixir to drink, Georgiana has submitted to doing whatever in necessary to

relieve her husband from his misery caused by her birthmark. Irony: The removal

of the birthmark was an event in irony. Aylmer and Georgiana did not know that

the mark provided the life blood to his wife. After the removal of the

birthmark, Aylmer?s wife was perfect for a short few moments, only to die.

Paradox: A statement that seems contrary to common sense. Georgiana states

during a discussion with her husband "let the attempt be made at whatever

the risk. Danger is nothing for me; for life, while this hateful mark makes me

the object of your horror and disgust…" Common sense would allow

Georgiana to tell Aylmer that if he did not like the beauty mark, he should

leave her for a women who would be perfect in her eyes. Instead, Georgiana is

demanding he do whatever necessary to remove the birthmark no matter what the

consequences. Symbol: The actual birthmark is one of the most prominent uses of

symbol in his story. The birthmark has references to life, death, beauty and

disgust. In much of his fiction Hawthorne treats "Pride" as an

"evil". Is an evil type of pride evident in the "Birthmark"?

Following are two examples of where I found a reader could interpret Aylmer?s

pride as evil. Aylmer states "Even Pygmalion, when his sculptured woman

assumed life, felt not greater ecstasy than mine will be." Aylmer is

already feeling the evil pride of his upcoming "sculpture", regardless

of the consequences. His confidence could be interpreted as a cocky pride. I am

sure if the removal of the birthmark was successful, he would have opened a

circus type show to display his great work. The other reference to Aylmer?s

evil is Is the "Birthmark" morally ambiguous? "The momentary

circumstances was too strong for him; he failed to look beyond the shadowy scope

of time, and, living once for all in eternity, to find the perfect future in the

present" This statement could be interpreted morally in many ways. The most

commanding part of this sentence to me was "to find the perfect future in

the present." This sentence alone has a powerful meaning. If only Aylmer

had followed his own thought, the story would have had an entirely different

ending. Hawthorne writes "I have sometimes produced a singular and not

unpleasing effect…by imagining a train of incidents in which the spirit and

mechanism of the fairyland should be combined with the characters and manners of

familiar life." What fantastic elements does Hawthorne use in the

"Birthmark"? Hawthorne uses many magical words a few are listed with

definitions below. Spectral – supernatural alchemists – wizard elixir – magic

potion There is many references to a "fairyland" in the reading,

especially when referencing the elixir Aylmer was preparing for Georgiana. When

Georgiana noticed the liquid inside of the globe, she said " It is so

beautiful to the eye that I could imagine it the elixir of life." The

beauty of the potion?s color was strong enough to attract attention and

curiosity. Another reference to the fantasy world in the "Birthmark"

was Aylmer?s statement to Georgiana when he caught her reading his large folio

containing all of his potions. Aylmer said "It is dangerous to read in a

sorcerer?s books.


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