The Birthmark Questions and Answers

The Birthmark

Aylmer, a scientist, longs to make his wife, Georgiana, absolutely perfect by removing what he sees as her one flaw: a very small red birthmark, in the shape of a tiny hand, on her cheek. He feels...

Latest answer posted January 20, 2018 7:19 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Birthmark

Georgiana lets Aylmer attempt to remove the birthmark, despite the terrible danger, because she loves her husband so much and he is so troubled by the mark. He tells her, dearest Georgiana, you...

Latest answer posted November 6, 2017 12:42 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

I think it’s interesting to discuss your question in light of two important aspects of romanticism: the Gothic and romantic feminism. Let's examine them one by one. The Gothic in literature and art...

Latest answer posted September 26, 2019 5:48 am UTC

3 educator answers

The Birthmark

In Hawthorne's short story, "The Birthmark," we are presented with the character of Georgiana, a beautiful woman married to a brilliant scientist. The only impediment, in Aylmer's mind (the...

Latest answer posted September 13, 2011 2:40 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

The birthmark represents human mortality and imperfection, qualities of anything that is created by Nature because anything that is created by Nature can only live for a relatively short while:...

Latest answer posted August 18, 2017 1:44 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Birthmark

When Aylmer's assistant Aminadab is introduced, Hawthorne describes him as symbolizing the purely physical aspect of life, whereas Aylmer stands for the spiritual: With his vast strength, his...

Latest answer posted April 4, 2020 12:10 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

Ever since he married Georgiana, Aylmer has been trying to persuade her to let him remove the unsightly birthmark on her face. Now, at long last, she’s relented to his insistent persuasion and has...

Latest answer posted July 15, 2020 12:57 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

I would say the initial conflict that shapes "The Birthmark" is person versus person: Aylmer's disapproval of his wife's birthmark, which surprises and upsets Georgiana. What's important here,...

Latest answer posted September 4, 2019 4:23 am UTC

3 educator answers

The Birthmark

Nathaniel Hawthorne uses many different figures of speech in his short story The Birthmark. In the first paragraph where Georgiana enters the boudoir, one can find an example of imagery, a...

Latest answer posted February 8, 2012 9:26 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

The narrator uses a metaphor to describe the intellectual, intangible reaches of Aylmer's studies in this laboratory. A metaphor is a comparison of two unalike things where one thing is said to be...

Latest answer posted October 31, 2018 1:45 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Birthmark

"The Birthmark" has a very sinister tone. From the beginning, Aylmer's obsession with the birthmark on his wife's face doesn't bode well for any of the characters. He prevents happiness and accord...

Latest answer posted January 7, 2020 8:28 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

Pygmalion, from Greek mythology, is a sculptor and woman-hater who basically sculpts his perfect woman and then falls in love with her. He is miserable and cries over her, and Aphrodite takes pity...

Latest answer posted February 25, 2016 1:01 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

It is significant that Georgiana's birthmark is in the shape of a hand. In the very first paragraph of the story, the narrator says, The higher intellect, the imagination, the spirit, and even the...

Latest answer posted January 30, 2018 3:16 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

Georgiana's birthmark is repeatedly linked to human nature and the fact that we are imperfect and inevitably destined for decay and death. The mark is repeatedly described as being "crimson" in...

Latest answer posted May 19, 2018 4:25 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

Aylmer's comment to Georgiana helps to illuminate the importance of the birthmark's shape. While speaking to her one day, he calls it "'the visible mark of earthly imperfection.'" Further, before...

Latest answer posted February 18, 2018 3:26 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Birthmark

Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Birthmark," first published in 1843, is perhaps Hawthorne's most well-known exploration of the tension between nature and science—the struggle for ascendancy of two...

Latest answer posted December 10, 2019 1:27 pm UTC

4 educator answers

The Birthmark

It is clear that Aylmer has invested a lot of time and energy into converting his laboratory into rooms where his beautiful wife will feel at home and comforted. It is obvious that the rather dingy...

Latest answer posted November 15, 2013 6:39 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

Because one of the principal themes of Hawthorne's "The Birthmark" is the conflict between nature and science, the shape of Georgiana's birthmark--a small, delicate hand--is crucial to Hawthorne's...

Latest answer posted July 9, 2012 12:05 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story “The Birthmark,” the small birthmark on the cheek of Georgiana, the wife of a scientist named Aylmer, eventually becomes the focus of Aylmer’s obsessive attention. In...

Latest answer posted October 14, 2011 6:08 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

Aylmer grows to detest Georgiana's birthmark, shaped like a tiny hand in the center of the left side her face, because he believes it mars her otherwise perfect beauty: No, dearest Georgiana, you...

Latest answer posted July 14, 2020 12:20 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

Although Aylmer, Georgiana's scientist husband, believes that Georgiana's birthmark--a tiny mark on her cheek in the shape of a hand--represents her "liability to sin, sorrow, decay, and death,"...

Latest answer posted July 9, 2012 12:43 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

A further example of irony comes in the fact that Aylmer's magic elixir does indeed remove his wife's birthmark as intended, but also ends up killing her. The whole point of this weird experiment...

Latest answer posted March 2, 2019 8:44 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Birthmark

In the short story "The Birthmark" by Nathaniel Hawthorne, a scientist named Aylmer meets and marries a lovely woman named Georgiana. Her beauty is unimpaired except for a red birthmark of a small...

Latest answer posted November 5, 2020 1:30 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

In Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1843 short story "The Birthmark," Aminadab is Aylmer's servant, who does Aylmer's bidding in the laboratory. He is described as having "great mechanical readiness" to...

Latest answer posted September 13, 2018 1:15 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

An allegory is a story type in which the characters represent archetypes and the story line itself can be interpreted as a representation of something else. So in this respect an allegory is one...

Latest answer posted April 27, 2009 1:36 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "The Birthmark" treats a number of themes that lead the reader to question concepts such as beauty, spirituality, and the connection between the physical and...

Latest answer posted November 3, 2013 1:16 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

Aylmer does love his wife, Georgiana, but not more than he loves his scientific studies and his own intellect. The narrator tells us that "He had devoted himself [...] too unreservedly to...

Latest answer posted February 10, 2020 11:49 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

Georgiana’s birthmark is explained as being in the center of her left cheek. The birthmark is crimson, which is a strong red color. What is especially notable is the fact that the birthmark is...

Latest answer posted October 16, 2020 4:49 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

Hawthorne’s story is a kind of fable, which means that it is short tale that is meant to impart a moral message. Fables in general share many of the formal qualities you mention. I can’t say which...

Latest answer posted June 14, 2016 1:05 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

Aylmer absolutely detests the little red birthmark shaped like a hand on his wife's left cheek. To him, it is a blemish on an otherwise perfect face. As a famed scientist, he has traveled all over...

Latest answer posted August 8, 2018 10:24 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

The major concepts or themes in "The Birthmark" which I would identify as typical of its period are 1) man's striving for the impossible and for perfection, 2) the use of science and technology to...

Latest answer posted December 23, 2018 10:20 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Birthmark

This quotation comes very soon after Georgiana is taken by her husband to his laboratory for him to use all of his scientific knowledge to remove the blemish that lies on her cheek and is...

Latest answer posted May 12, 2013 5:32 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

In both stories, "The Hand" and "The Birthmark," the hand becomes a symbol of imperfection--"an odious hand" as Georgiana refers to her birthmark. This representation of imperfection on those whose...

Latest answer posted April 11, 2014 11:29 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

In "The Birth-Mark," Aminadab is Aylmer's laboratory assistant. He is a begrimed, earthy fellow with shaggy hair who does Aylmer's bidding, beginning with burning a pastil to help revive Georgiana...

Latest answer posted May 19, 2018 5:42 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

Nathaniel Hawthorne's story "The Birthmark" uses allegory, a literary device where the characters represent specific elements of a story's social or political message. To figure out what each...

Latest answer posted January 30, 2018 5:02 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

In his lab, Aylmer tries to impress and amuse his wife by showing her a "perfect" flower that unfurls and blooms before her eyes. He tells her to pick it and smell its beautiful scent, also...

Latest answer posted April 4, 2020 12:24 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

Hawthorne's understanding of the Puritan psyche is accurately personified through the actions of his characters in "The Birthmark." Aylmer represents the Calvinistic standard of the times, which...

Latest answer posted December 4, 2015 4:24 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

In Hawthorne's short story "The Birthmark," the reader is presented with Georgiana, a woman with a birthmark on her cheek. Her husband becomes so obsessed with removing it, that he causes her...

Latest answer posted November 17, 2010 12:20 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

One book that may be helpful to you is The Pygmalion Effect: from Ovid to Hitchcock, by Victor Ieronim Stoichiță. This work has been very positively reviewed and apparently discusses uses of the...

Latest answer posted September 4, 2011 8:01 am UTC

6 educator answers

The Birthmark

The narrator of "The Birthmark" offers much information to help us understand Aylmer, a man who has a high opinion of himself as a scientist and an obsession with perfection. We learn first that...

Latest answer posted July 15, 2020 1:40 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

Aylmer is a brilliant scientist who falls in love with the beautiful Georgiana. However, the story shows that his love for her is equalled only by his love of science. He becomes obsessed with a...

Latest answer posted February 16, 2012 2:18 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

In the "The Birthmark," the scientist Aylmer has "faith in man's ultimate control over Nature." He relies on himself to be able to bend nature to his will through his scientific experiments. He...

Latest answer posted May 9, 2021 10:55 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

Aylmer, of Hawthorne's story, and Bailey, the main character's son in O'Connor's story, both refuse to adequately acknowledge the value and opinions of the women in their lives, and this results in...

Latest answer posted March 2, 2019 5:40 pm UTC

3 educator answers

The Birthmark

In "The Birthmark," the scientist, Aylmer, fixates on his wife's one imperfection--a hand-shaped birthmark that mars her otherwise beautiful face. When Georgiana, the wife, turns pale, the mark...

Latest answer posted April 17, 2017 11:45 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

Alymer, an adult, is almost cold and calculating when it comes to nature. He believes that nature is to be molded and changed that imperfections should be perfected. His failed experiments show...

Latest answer posted July 6, 2008 11:20 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Birthmark" is somewhat different from other texts of the period. Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote during the Romantic period. That said, "The Birthmark" falls into a subcategory...

Latest answer posted November 26, 2013 12:43 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

In order for you to answer this question, you must ask yourself: What do I believe is the theme of this story? What is my moral compass? What is the meaning of the birthmark? Here's why. In order...

Latest answer posted February 8, 2010 3:23 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

Though most people are probably quite unsympathetic to the character of Aylmer in “The Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, what he’s doing is in actual fact little different from what so many people...

Latest answer posted July 15, 2020 1:13 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

In Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "The Birthmark," Georgiana is a beautiful woman and the wife of the scientist Aylmer. Aylmer grows obsessed with the small, hand-shaped birth mark present on...

Latest answer posted May 31, 2019 5:41 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Birthmark

You could explore the theme of human imperfection or limits as it pertains to Alymer's alchemical over-reaching. Also, you might want to refer to Pygmalion myth and also Frankenstein as they...

Latest answer posted June 26, 2010 6:04 am UTC

1 educator answer

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