Oscar Wilde

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Can we say that both "The Nightingale and the Rose" and "The Birthmark" share the theme of love?  If yes, explain how the two different authors use different devices and techniques to explore the...

Can we say that both "The Nightingale and the Rose" and "The Birthmark" share the theme of love?  If yes, explain how the two different authors use different devices and techniques to explore the love.

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The Nightingale and the Rose” by Oscar Wilde is a story about a young man who has fallen madly in love with a girl. This is the first difference between these two stories: in Wilde’s story, the boy tries to win the girl’s affections, whereas in Hawthorne’s story, the two main characters, Aylmer and Georgina, are already a couple. Therefore, Wilde uses the theme of rejection to explore love and to ask what true love really is, whereas Hawthorne uses the theme of imperfection to explore love within an already existing relationship.

Throughout the story, Wilde questions if it really can be true love when one party makes the other party suffer. The young man wants nothing more than for this girl to dance with him, but for this to happen, he needs to find a red rose: “She said that she would dance with me if I brought her red roses.” He is in emotional agony—as the nightingale puts it, “what is joy to me, to him is pain.” Wilde answers the question at the end of the story: this kind of love is not true love at all. The girl is only interested in material things, and she rejects the young man for another man simply because the other man gave her presents that are more expensive: “some real jewels, and everybody knows that jewels cost far more than flowers.” This makes the student give up on love and instead seek solace in his studies, as he finds love “a silly thing.”

Hawthorne, on the other hand, uses the theme of love in order to explore whether true love can be tied to physical appearances. In “The Birth-Mark”, Aylmer wants to improve his wife’s appearance. He suggests his wife has her birthmark removed: “has it never occurred to you that the mark upon your cheek might be removed?” To Aylmer, the birthmark spoils...

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