By I found a reader could interpret Aylmerspride
By HawthorneHow does Hawthorne in the “Birthmark” use Irony, Ambiguity, Paradox,and Symbol? Ambiguity: Two different interpretations can be used to describeGeorgianas character. At first she seems to be a strong confident women whois very self assured. Only after the constant focus of her husbands attentionto her birthmark, does she begin to willow away. When Aylmer gives her theelixir to drink, Georgiana has submitted to doing whatever in necessary torelieve her husband from his misery caused by her birthmark. Irony: The removalof the birthmark was an event in irony. Aylmer and Georgiana did not know thatthe mark provided the life blood to his wife.
After the removal of thebirthmark, Aylmers wife was perfect for a short few moments, only to die.Paradox: A statement that seems contrary to common sense. Georgiana statesduring a discussion with her husband “let the attempt be made at whateverthe risk. Danger is nothing for me; for life, while this hateful mark makes methe object of your horror and disgust..
.” Common sense would allowGeorgiana to tell Aylmer that if he did not like the beauty mark, he shouldleave her for a women who would be perfect in her eyes. Instead, Georgiana isdemanding he do whatever necessary to remove the birthmark no matter what theconsequences. Symbol: The actual birthmark is one of the most prominent uses ofsymbol in his story. The birthmark has references to life, death, beauty anddisgust. In much of his fiction Hawthorne treats “Pride” as an”evil”.
Is an evil type of pride evident in the “Birthmark”?Following are two examples of where I found a reader could interpret Aylmerspride as evil. Aylmer states “Even Pygmalion, when his sculptured womanassumed life, felt not greater ecstasy than mine will be.” Aylmer isalready feeling the evil pride of his upcoming “sculpture”, regardlessof the consequences.
His confidence could be interpreted as a cocky pride. I amsure if the removal of the birthmark was successful, he would have opened acircus type show to display his great work. The other reference to Aylmersevil is Is the “Birthmark” morally ambiguous? “The momentarycircumstances was too strong for him; he failed to look beyond the shadowy scopeof time, and, living once for all in eternity, to find the perfect future in thepresent” This statement could be interpreted morally in many ways. The mostcommanding part of this sentence to me was “to find the perfect future inthe present.” This sentence alone has a powerful meaning. If only Aylmerhad followed his own thought, the story would have had an entirely differentending. Hawthorne writes “I have sometimes produced a singular and notunpleasing effect.
..by imagining a train of incidents in which the spirit andmechanism of the fairyland should be combined with the characters and manners offamiliar life.” What fantastic elements does Hawthorne use in the”Birthmark”? Hawthorne uses many magical words a few are listed withdefinitions below. Spectral – supernatural alchemists – wizard elixir – magicpotion There is many references to a “fairyland” in the reading,especially when referencing the elixir Aylmer was preparing for Georgiana. WhenGeorgiana noticed the liquid inside of the globe, she said ” It is sobeautiful to the eye that I could imagine it the elixir of life.” Thebeauty of the potions color was strong enough to attract attention andcuriosity.
Another reference to the fantasy world in the “Birthmark”was Aylmers statement to Georgiana when he caught her reading his large foliocontaining all of his potions. Aylmer said “It is dangerous to read in asorcerers books.English Essays