The Birth-Mark

The Birth-Mark, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne and first published in 1843, is a short story that has a very meaningful message behind it. It is even still read to this very day and age. In this story, the narrator introduces us to one of the main characters, Aylmer, and tells us that the time period is taken place around approximately the late seventeen hundreds. Aylmer is a extremely intelligent scientist an a philosopher. Eventually, Aylmer marries a beautiful lady who went by the name Georgiana, who is another main character in this. On Georgiana’s left cheek, there is a tiny red handprint. Majority of the people she had encountered had viewed this birth-mark as a charm, but to Aylmer, not so much. He started obsessing over this and it eventually starts to become repulsive. This leads him to ask his wife if she ever thought about removing it. Eventually, Georgiana agrees to have the birth-mark removed. Aylmer made up a potion to get rid of it, unaware of the consequences and repercussions that he is doomed to face. The birthmark slowly begins to fade. At last, the birthmark has made a disappearance but so did her life.
One of the main messages of this story beauty. Hawthorne analyzes the desires of perfection and flaws. He does this by making the character Aylmer foolish for striving for perfection. Aylmer could not overcome the one flaw that his wife Georgiana had. He finds himself obsessing over it which causes him to lose her in the end by destroying her. Everyone has their imperfections and since her one flaw was removed, it caused her to be unable to exist in the world. Also, Aylmer is also very egotistical in this story. He is very confident that he can remove the hand-print on Georgiana’s face. She convinces herself that she needs to go through with the procedure due to the fact that her husband is so determined and ambitious that he can be successful and defy mortality. Although he is a little fearful that the experiment will fail, he still comforts Georgiana, which is just another way of him trying to prove that he is brilliant scientist he wants to be.
The birth-mark is the main focus of the story and is very symbolic. The birthmark is a symbol of mortality – being subjective to death. It also symbolizes the fatal flaw of humanity. This is the idea of imperfection of human nature; that every little thing is flawed one way or another. In other words, this is saying that to be perfect is to be non-human. This is the reason on how Georgiana is mortal. Although Aylmer is a genius, he misinterprets this blemish, and believes that removing it will cause her to be perfect and be everlasting. Aylmer naively kills her by dehuminizing her, trying to cure her of her human nature that he also dreams about. The cure to death is just simply impossible and Aylmer is consumed with too much pride that he has no realization to what he is about to do to his own wife.
This story addresses the issues of imperfection which is still is significant now a days. Society and men are both very egotistical and expect women to be perfection. You must have a slim waist, perfect, pearly, white straight teeth, clear skin, and if you do not meet those standards then you are ugly, just like Aylmer thought of Georgiana and her birth-mark. At the end of the day, it does not matter how hard you try to be, being perfect is inevitable. You can try and you can go to the mortician and go through all the surgeries, and you will still never be flawless. It’s a shame that Aylmer could not comprehend this before it was too late.