Hawthorne Birthmark Summary

Authored by Nathaniel Hawthorne and published in 1843, The Birthmark is a decorated romantic short story that illuminates obsession with human imperfection. The short story revolves around two main characters, Aylmer and Georgiana, who are a couple. Aylmer, a distinguished scientist and philosopher, gives up his career in the quest to win the love of his life, Georgiana, a beautiful lady who would be termed as perfect were it not for a tiny red birthmark on one of her cheeks. Aylmer wishes that his love ought not to have the birthmark on her cheek and he becomes obsessed with the idea of eradicating the birthmark from Georgina’s cheek. Aylmer thought that the removal of the birthmark would turn her lover Georgiana into ‘perfect beauty’. The obsession is so serious that Aylmer has repeated dreams in which he crafts how to eliminate Georgiana’s birthmark. This behavior irritates Georgiana and she learns that it is her birthmark that gives her lover those nightmares and she opts to have it removed; at least, this would save her the long nights in which she has to listen to her husband’s ‘sleep-talking’.

The following day, the couple actualizes the plan of eradicating the birthmark. The procedure takes place in Aylmer’s laboratory. During the process, Georgiana shudders and this causes her to faint. Upon awakening from the shock, Aylmer pumpers his lover with magical decorations and it is during this process that Georgiana learns that her husband has been experimenting on her from the time they got married. Determined to get rid of her birthmark, Georgiana goes ahead and drinks the potion her husband had concocted despite Aylmer’s disapproval. Georgiana falls asleep suddenly and her birthmark starts to fade gradually and it disappears completely. Unfortunately, the operation turns tragic as Georgiana succumbs to the effects of the drink her husband had concocted.

Nathaniel Hawthorne attempts to illuminate psychological dynamics invoked in relationships. The literally work of Nathaniel Hawthorne has been adorned owing to the author’s use of symbolism. The birthmark on Georgiana’s cheek symbolizes different things: mortality and imperfection. Georgiana is both human and mortal. This lateral work highlights the author’s point of view that human imperfection is inseparable from our humanity. The birthmark is also used by the author to highlight the themes of his work. For instance, the theme of human obsession with perfection is successfully built in this lateral work through the use of a birthmark.