The Birthmark Questions and Answers
Why does Georgiana decide to let her husband remove the birthmark even though it may “cause cureless deformity; or it may be the stain goes as deep as life itself”?
Aylmer creates a plant that quickly grows, blooms into a flower, and then dies in the hands of Georgiana in "The Birthmark"; what does this plant and its demise symbolize?
What difference would it make if the mark on Georgiana's cheek were shaped like a fish, a heart, or an irregular oval?
In "The Birthmark," examine how Aylmer's laboratory and boudoir are described and discuss what they could signify in the story.
Other than being a vain jerk who wants a “perfect” wife, why is Aylmer trying to rid Georgiana of the birthmark in "The Birthmark"?
Hawthorne is not very sly about the meaning behind his tales. He requires you to think a little bit, but he often tells you right in his stories what certain symbols mean. Analyze the following excerpt of what the birthmark symbolizes: “It was the fatal flaw of humanity which Nature, in one shape or another, stamps ineffaceably on all her productions, either to imply that they are temporary and finite, or that their perfection must be wrought by toil and pain” (149). So what does this mean in simpler language?
In "The Birthmark," what difference would it make if the mark on Georgiana’s cheek were shaped like a fish, a heart, or an irregular oval? Why (and when) does the mark appear redder or more visible or faint? If the birthmark is explicitly a “symbol of imperfection” (paragraph 9), what kinds of imperfection does it represent?
Aylmer says to his wife, "Even Pygmalion when his sculptured women assumed life, felt not greater ecstasy than mine will be." How does this literary allusion to the myth of Pygmalion enhance the meaning of the birthmark? Is this allusion ironic given what happens to Aylmer's project to make his wife perfect?
In "The Birthmark," what does Georgiana's birthmark look like? What does it symbolize? How do different people perceive it differently? Why does he desire to remove it from Georgiana's face? How do you perceive it?
What are three examples of conflict in the short story "The Birthmark," by Nathaniel Hawthorne? Explain how your understanding of the story changes with each conflict.
Given that certain themes tend to recur in Hawthorne's fiction, among them the limits of self-reliance and the evils of manipulation, analyze how these themes are expressed in "The Birthmark."
Consider the story "The Birthmark" as an early version of our contemporary obsession with physical perfection.What significant similarities and differences can be found?
In "The Birth-Mark" by Nathaniel Hawthorne, what is Aminadab’s function and what does he represent? Why does he laugh twice at the end of the story?
Is "The Birthmark" allegorical or symbolic? I had learned that a story can be allegorical OR symbolic, not both. I know there is much symbolism in this story, but is it enough to be allegorical?
In Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "The Birthmark," what difference would it make if the mark on Georgiana's cheek were shaped differently?
Analyze how Nathaniel Hawthorne displays his negative attitude toward science in the story "The BirthMark."
What does the birthmark symbolize? How does it impact each of the characters? What point is Hawthorne trying to make?
In "The Birth-Mark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, what does the birthmark symbolize and why is Alymer trying to remove it?
If the birthmark in the story "The Birthmark" represents imperfection, what kinds of imperfection does it represent?
What theme(s) do you find in Hawthorne's "The Birthmark," and is there a symbol regarding Georgiana's birthmark that supports the theme(s)?
I am working with Hawthorne's "The Birthmark" and want to find other short stories or authors that also deal with Pygmalion type themes. ...the notion of perfecting another individual (perhaps via science/alchemy). Can you suggest specific authors or short stories that might deal with similar notions? Thanks
Through analysis of Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Birthmark", how is gender incorporated into Georgiana's identity by the author?
What elements of Romanticism and the gothic do you observe in Hawthorne's stories, such as "The Birthmark"?
Are there any parallels between “The Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne and how people in the twenty-first century conduct themselves regarding beauty and perfection?
How can this sentence from "The Birthmark" be interpreted? "Georgiana had no sonner touched the flower than the whole plant suffered a blight, its leaves turning coal-black as if by the agency of fire."
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