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Owning Perfection: The Struggle between Science and Nature in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark.”

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  1. Introduction
  2. The begining of the story
  3. Aylmer: The thesis of the story
  4. Hawthorne's description of the way Aylmer sees science
  5. Conclusion
  6. Works consulted

In many love poems written to praise the beauty or virtue of a woman, the woman or the woman's love is often seen as a material possession or a thing to be owned. In Nathaniel Hawthorne's ?The Birthmark,? the woman is seen as something to be improved upon and perfected. Love is not only something to be possessed; it is something to be invested in, like any other expensive material thing. Hawthorne's story is not only about love within a materially driven culture, it is about dominance and dependence. It is also about the struggle between nature and science, the obsessions produced by this struggle, and how the struggle resolves.

[...] The relationship between Aylmer and Georgiana is a kind of class struggle because he represents science and she represents nature, he is above her in rank, probably financially as well as socially, and she is utterly dependent on him for survival. As the story progresses, Georgiana proves to be a rather weak antithesis. She can't stand her husband's hatred of her birthmark, and she finally tells him to do whatever he can to remove it. She gives into his suggestion to have the mark removed, but she does this for his benefit. [...]


[...] Owning Perfection: The Struggle between Science and Nature in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Birthmark.? In many love poems written to praise the beauty or virtue of a woman, the woman or the woman's love is often seen as a material possession or a thing to be owned. In Nathaniel Hawthorne's Birthmark,? the woman is seen as something to be improved upon and perfected. Love is not only something to be possessed; it is something to be invested in, like any other expensive material thing. [...]

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