Symbilism in the Birthmark

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Symbolism Symbolism is very effective in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, “The Birthmark”. Georgiana is portrayed as a very beautiful woman, but Aylmer, her husband, can only focus on her only flaw. She has a red, hand-shaped mark on her left cheek. This birthmark is the basis of symbolism for the entire story. One, it symbolizes imperfection and morality. Two, it is the symbol of death. Three, the color of the birthmark represents passion and sexuality. First, the birthmark shows that every human cannot achieve imperfection and morality. Although Georgiana was the most beautiful woman in the story, the birthmark proved to be her one imperfection. “No, dearest Georgiana, you came so nearly perfect from the hand of Nature that this slightest possible defect, which we hesitate whether to term a defect or a beauty, shocks me, as being the visible mark of earthly imperfection” (Meyers 402). Even though Georgiana was very attractive, the birthmark shows that she is still human. Aylmer wanted to rid his wife of the birthmark, but no human is capable of being portrayed as perfect. Since she cannot obtain perfection, Georgiana cannot be immortal. However, Aylmer cannot bring himself to accept his wife as she is, showing that he does not fully understand the human body. Second, death is inevitable in every human’s life. Georgiana’s birthmark shows that none is perfect. With that being said, death is just a normal part of human life. However, Aylmer does not seem to comprehend this. He can only focus on bringing his wife to perfection. “By ridding Georgiana of her imperfection, however, he also rids her of her humanity. Once she is perfect, once she is no longer flawed, Georgiana can no longer live, because she is no longer a person” (Schmoop Editorial Team). As her birthmark fades away, her life goes with it. Third, the birthmark is red, which is also the color of

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