He was a Puritan and was the first of the family to emigrate from England, settling in Dorchester, Massachusettsbefore moving to Salem.
A fine example of Hawthorne's contribution to the genre of Dark Romanticism. It was published inseven years before John Collier, The Laboratory, John Collier, The Laboratory, In the latter part of the last century there lived a man of science, an eminent proficient in every branch of natural philosophy, who not long before our story opens had made experience of a spiritual affinity more attractive than any chemical one.
He had left his laboratory to the care of an assistant, cleared his fine countenance from the furnace smoke, washed the stain of acids from his fingers, and persuaded a beautiful woman to become his wife.
In those days when the comparatively recent discovery of electricity and other kindred mysteries of Nature seemed to open paths into the region of miracle, it was not unusual for the love of science to rival the love of woman in its depth and absorbing energy.
The higher intellect, the imagination, the spirit, and even the heart might all find their congenial aliment in pursuits which, as some of their ardent votaries believed, would ascend from one step of powerful intelligence to another, until the philosopher should lay his hand on the secret of creative force and perhaps make new worlds for himself.
We know not whether Aylmer possessed this degree of faith in man's ultimate control over Nature. He had devoted himself, however, too unreservedly to scientific studies ever to be weaned from them by any second passion.
His love for his young wife might prove the stronger of the two; but it could only be by intertwining itself with his love of science, and uniting the strength of the latter to his own.
Such a union accordingly took place, and was attended with truly remarkable consequences and a deeply impressive moral. One day, very soon after their marriage, Aylmer sat gazing at his wife with a trouble in his countenance that grew stronger until he spoke. 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.
You cannot love what shocks you! In the usual state of her complexiona healthy though delicate bloomthe 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 amid the triumphant rush of blood that bathed the whole cheek with its brilliant glow.
But if any shifting motion caused her to turn pale there was the mark again, a crimson stain upon the snow, in what Aylmer sometimes deemed an almost fearful distinctness. Its shape bore not a little similarity to the human hand, though of the smallest pygmy size.
Georgiana's lovers were wont to say that some fairy at her birth hour had laid her tiny hand upon the infant's cheek, and left this impress there in token of the magic endowments that were to give her such sway over all hearts.
Many a desperate swain would have risked life for the privilege of pressing his lips to the mysterious hand. It must not be concealed, however, that the impression wrought by this fairy sign manual varied exceedingly, according to the difference of temperament in the beholders.
Some fastidious personsbut they were exclusively of her own sexaffirmed that the bloody hand, as they chose to call it, quite destroyed the effect of Georgiana's beauty, and rendered her countenance even hideous. But it would be as reasonable to say that one of those small blue stains which sometimes occur in the purest statuary marble would convert the Eve of Powers to a monster.
Masculine observers, if the birthmark did not heighten their admiration, contented themselves with wishing it away, that the world might possess one living specimen of ideal loveliness without the semblance of a flaw. After his marriage,for he thought little or nothing of the matter before,Aylmer discovered that this was the case with himself.
Had she been less beautiful,if Envy's self could have found aught else to sneer at,he might have felt his affection heightened by the prettiness of this mimic hand, now vaguely portrayed, now lost, now stealing forth again and glimmering to and fro with every pulse of emotion that throbbed within her heart; but seeing her otherwise so perfect, he found this one defect grow more and more intolerable with every moment of their united lives.
It was the fatal flaw of humanity which Nature, in one shape or another, stamps ineffaceably on all her productions, either to imply that they are temporary and finite, or that their perfection must be wrought by toil and pain.
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, Aylmer's sombre imagination was not long in rendering the birthmark a frightful object, causing him more trouble and horror than ever Georgiana's beauty, whether of soul or sense, had given him delight.
At all the seasons which should have been their happiest, he invariably and without intending it, nay, in spite of a purpose to the contrary, reverted to this one disastrous topic.Twice-Told Tales (–) The Scarlet Letter (); The House of the Seven Gables ()Alma mater: Bowdoin College. The moral behind this story is that no human can live as a perfect being, since we are naturally imperfect.
In the article written by Lynn Shakinovsky, “The Return Of The Repressed,” she states that the birthmark is a metaphor for Georgiana’s identity, her sexuality, and her being.
In addition, Georgiana’s birthmark also demonstrates the power of nature because it captivates and intoxicates almost everyone who sees it. In the end, Aylmer’s attempt to control nature with science ends only in death and unhappiness.
"The Birthmark" is a short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne that was first published in Get a copy of "The Birthmark" at ph-vs.com Buy Now.
"The Birthmark" was written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It was adapted and produced by Dana Demange. Your storyteller was Barbara Klein. _____ Words in This Story. chemical - adj. of or relating to. The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne In Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "The Birthmark," there are many views on the need for science and its advances.
Hawthorne's protagonist, Aylmer, illustrates his own personal assessment of science.