What is the theme of "The Birthmark"? Alienation, initiation, problem of guilt or pride?

Expert Answers
devval23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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 explore a similar theme. A close reading will reveal the conflict between 'nature' and 'spiritual world'-a world travelled by many Romantic authors-British and American. Hope that helps!

she1818 | Student

A major theme is the presumption of the scientist that he can make human nature/ human form 'better.'  Why does Alymer think he can improve on nature? What makes him find his wife's birthmark ugly? YES-- this kind of attitude leads to alienation...and when she dies--it will also lead to guilt!  The pride that the intellectual or scientist takes in his (or her) work may lead to a downfall.

Read the study guide:
The Birthmark

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question