Symbolic nature of the birthmark essays
The Symbolic Nature of the Birthmark
In the short story "The Birthmark," by Nathanial Hawthorne, the symbolism of the birthmark can be interpreted in many different ways. I chose to think of it in reference to our modern day.Even though it was written around 200 years ago, I feel it can be significant and applicable to our modern times. I feel it expresses the need for perfection that our modern society has pushed on us. This need for perfection can be so great that it can harm our bodies and our minds. In some severe cases, this need can claim people's lives, much like it claimed Georgiana's in the story.I feel that the birthmark in this story directly symbolizes the need to be perfect in society's eyes.
We can compare Georgiana's need to be perfect in her husband's eyes with the needs of people today. Many people have ideas of perfection implanted into their impressionable minds from magazines, television, and peers. Our society has painted a picture that all of our women must have large breasts and thin, curvy bodies. Our men must be large, modern-day examples of Zeus, and Adonis, complete with muscles and looks to match. As a society, we have been taught that we are less of a person if we are not comparable to these so-called requirements.
Aylmer to me is a living breathing illustration of our societal ideas. He is the television shows; he is the magazine covers, all contributing to the one idea of perfection. He embodies all of those ideas that you are nothing if you are not beautiful. The great love that he possessed for his wife was still superseded by his unhealthy obsession for perfection, which ultimately led to the demise of his lovely wife. I compare this to our current adored "Hollywood" entertainers. People involved in this subculture have the unbearable task of trying to keep themselves physically perfect. This task has proven to be so difficult th…