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Imperfections of the Mind - Book Report/Review Example

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Imperfections of the mind can lead people to foolish actions in life and within one's own mind imperfections can drive one mad. In American Literature, the best illustrations of how one's imperfections within the mind can drive one mad are Edgar Allen Poe's "Tell Tale Heart" and Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "The Birthmark"…
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Imperfections of the Mind
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Download file to see previous pages Poe, in his classical psychological thriller "The Tell-Tale Heart," makes the best use of his abilities for the macabre to depict the frightening portrayal of the workings of the criminal mind within the narrator and the readers are able to clearly understand the imperfections in the mind of the criminal protagonist. In Hawthorne's short story "The Birthmark," the main character Aylmer, who is in search for a perfect wife, illustrates how one's imperfections within the own mind can drive one mad and the author uses Georgiana's beauty mark to symbolize how nature's beauty in a woman can be flawed. Thus, the short stories, "Tell Tale Heart" as well as "The Birthmark", effectively illustrate that within one's own mind imperfections can drive one mad.
A psychoanalytic reading of Poe's "Tell Tale Heart" suggests that the most important factor contributing to the narrator's mad behavior in killing the old man is his imperfections within his mind. The character's brutal slaughter of the old man was due to that fact that the old man disturbs the narrator and the imperfections in the old man's eyes reminded him of the imperfections within himself. He said no other reason for the brutal murder but the disturbing eyes of the old man and the author makes use of symbolism to suggest the imperfections in the character. "The old man was dead. ...
ly, that no human eye -- not even his -- could have detected anything wrong." (Poe) Thus, the use of symbolism has helped the author in establishing that imperfections within one's own mind can drive one mad.
Similarly, in the short story "The Birthmark," Hawthorne makes use of symbolism to suggest that the imperfections within one's own mind can drive one mad and Aylmer behaves in a mad way because of his imperfections within his mind. He is in search for a perfect wife and Georgiana's beauty mark symbolized the nature's beauty in a woman, together with references to life, death, and disgust. The scientist Aylmer creates a scientific concoction to confiscate Georgiana's birthmark or the beauty mark in order to conceal the imperfections in human mind. "'Danger There is but one danger--that this horrible stigma shall be left upon my cheek!' cried Georgiana. 'Remove it, remove it, whatever be the cost, or we shall both go mad!' 'Heaven knows your words are too true,' said Aylmer, sadly. 'And now, dearest, return to your boudoir. In a little while all will be tested.'" (Hawthorne) Therefore, the author in the short story makes use of symbolism to suggest that imperfections within human mind lead to mad acts.
In a comparative analysis of the short stories, "Tell Tale Heart" and "The Birthmark", it becomes lucid that both the authors are effective in conveying the human imperfections within mind, through their characters. There is similarity in the treatment of the topic as both the short stories use symbolism as the major tool to suggest the imperfections within human mind leading to madness. In the short story by Poe, it is the disturbing eyes of the old man which suggest the imperfections within the narrator's mind, whereas Georgiana's beauty mark serves as a symbol ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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