The Birthmark


4th Hr. English


December 13, 2004


Hawthorne’s clear-sighted rendering of what was due to both matter and spirit emerges in “The Birthmark,” at the end of which Melville wrote, “the moral here is wonderfully fine.” The moral of Nathaniel Hawthorn’s story “The Birthmark” is not to meddle with God and his creation, and that every person needs to realize everything as is for a reason. The story shows that we are born the way God wants us to be, and we actually ought to accept people as they are. It is almost as if Georgiana was in the hand of God with this birthmark, and as Aylmer tries to remove this physical human imperfection he removes God’s hand; spiritually from Georgiana thus, releasing her from God’s hand and killing her.


Very soon after their marriage Aylmer brings the birthmark to the attention of the two. “…Aylmer opened his eyes upon his wife\'s face and recognized the symbol of imperfection…” As Aylmer contemplates this birthmark he becomes infatuated with discuss of this physical imperfection of the human nature. There are many instances when Aylmer expresses his intense feeling that a woman as beautiful as Georgiana has such a grotesque physical imperfection. “"To tell you the truth it has been so often called a charm that I was simple enough to imagine it might be so." "Ah, upon another face perhaps it might," replied her husband; "but never on yours. 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”(192). This quote also explains how Aylmer believes that a woman so beautiful should not have any physical imperfections. This is just how his personality is, confusing, disturbing, and immoral.


I disagree with Melville’s moral of the story; I believe the real moral is that God Created everything for a reason and everything god does is done for a definite reason. We should strive to rid ourselves of every spiritual imperfection rather than all of our physical imperfections, which God has intended us not to meddle with. When we enter the realm of trying to play God and when we do muddle with what God has intended to happen, there will end up being dire consequences.