The Birthmark and Its Themes

841 Words4 Pages
Alex Boyles Mr. Imms English 102 5 February 2015 The Birthmark and Its Themes Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote the short story “The Birthmark” and centered the entire story on symbolism. The story has many different themes and does not hide the fact that it shows symbolism. "The Birthmark" is a short story centering on an eighteenth-century scientist's obsession with removing a birthmark from the cheek of his extraordinarily beautiful wife. The story can almost be categorized as a dark romance. It is a very descriptive story that compares human perfection with obsession. There is a quote from the story that basically gives away the fact that there is symbolism throughout the entire story and really helps to explain what it all means. “The crimson hand expressed the ineludible gripe in which mortality clutches the highest and purest of earthly mould, degrading them into kindred with the lowest, and even with the very brutes, like whom their visible frames return to dust. In this manner, selecting it as the symbol of his wife's liability to sin, sorrow, decay, and death.” (8) OK, so the birthmark represents Georgiana's humanity, which Hawthorne indicates is equivalent to representing her flaws. It is man's nature to be mortal and imperfect, he argues in this story – that's just what it means to be a human. Another quote from the story is a paragraph which describes even more symbolism about certain characters. “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. In the usual state of her complexion — a healthy though delicate bloom — the mark wore a tint of deeper crimson, which imperfectly defined its shape amid the surrounding rosiness. When she blushed it gradually became more indistinct, and finally vanished

More about The Birthmark and Its Themes

Open Document