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Passage analysis - Essay Example

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Hawthorne uses lots of symbolism to deliver his message. In his story, the Birthmark, the author uses the birthmark as a symbolism for human imperfection. This is evident in many debates that exist…
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The Birthmark The story by Nathaniel Hawthorne is regarded as a book that is full of symbolism. Hawthorne useslots of symbolism to deliver his message. In his story, the Birthmark, the author uses the birthmark as a symbolism for human imperfection. This is evident in many debates that exist between the opponent and the proponent in the story, Georgina and Aylmer.
In page five, Georgina says “Perhaps its removal may cause cureless deformity; or it may be the stain that goes as deep as life itself” (Hawthorne 5). This phrase can be seen to carry the whole weight of the meaning of the story. She first contemplates that the birthmark may be dangerous to remove because trying to do so may lead to a cureless deformity. The birth mark here is used as a symbol of human imperfection, and this phrase may mean that humans are meant to be imperfect and therefore trying to remove the imperfection will only lead to more imperfection (cureless deformity).
It may be necessary to note that the story was written at a time when religion still played a major part of people. In the western world where the author lived, Christianity was the major religion. From a biblical point of view, imperfection was also regarded as a positive thing because it is the only thing that separates mortals from God. By accepting that humans are imperfect, they are then allowed to recognize that God is above them. However, refusing to admit their imperfection amounts to pride that is regarded as blasphemy (incurable deformity) and thus leads to a sin that is not forgivable (incurable deformity).
The second part of the phrase is also significant. In this part, she says, “or it may be the stain that goes as deep as life itself.” In other words, the only way human imperfection can be removed is by death. This has two significant meanings; first that for human beings, perfection can only be achieved through and during death. Again, this concept has its roots in most religions and especially Christianity which advocates for the idea that it is only when people have died and their spirits gone to heaven that they can hope to be perfect. Although this sentence can also be regarded as a sign of what would happen later when they tried to remove the birthmark, that is, the death of Georgina after going through the “plastic surgery”, it may also mean that she was saying that if they become arrogant enough to want to correct what nature (God) has set, they must be prepared to face death. The next part of the sentence refers to imperfection that is conjoined with life and that life itself is imperfect and it is this imperfection that makes it perfect.
According to the biblical belief, it is the imperfection of human beings that makes them perfect. This is because in this imperfection, they learn how to look upon God for perfection, God himself being perfect and the only source of perfection. Additionally, because they were created to worship God, it is only through their imperfection that they need to worship God who is perfect unlike them, that they are able to fully be what they were meant to be. In this regard, two things come up. First, that if humans were to achieve perfection, they would not please God and this being their main role in life, they would then be useless, thus rendering perfection itself to be imperfect. Secondly, any attempt to be perfect not only deflects humans from godliness but also leads to death. This is because the attempt to be perfect is seen to be competition with nature (God) and therefore not acceptable and punishable by death. As a result, this phrase points to the fact that although human are obsessed with trying to deal with their imperfection, it is the same imperfection that makes them perfect.
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Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Birth-Mark. Salem, MA.: Feed Books, 1843. Read More
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